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Reedsville Woman Charged with Marijuana Possession After Being Stopped for Speeding

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The Pennsylvania State Police recently filed Centre County Possession of a Small Amount of Marijuana and Possession of Drug Paraphernalia charges after marijuana and pipes were found in a car that had been stopped for speeding. I wonder how the police found the drugs and related paraphernalia. If the items were in the center console or on the passenger seat, then the evidence would have been readily observed by the officer, and such items that are observed in plain view in a car generally can be seized by the police without being required to obtain a warrant. If the items were not in plain view, I suspect that the police probably smelled marijuana in the car and thereby requested consent to search the vehicle. Generally, the police must obtain a warrant in order to search and seize evidence, and a warrant is obtained by providing a judge with probable cause. Plain view and consent are exceptions to the warrant requirement and allow the police to search and take custody of items without first obtaining a warrant.

Centre County ARD Program

If the woman has no prior criminal record or a minimal criminal history, she may be eligible to participate in the Centre County ARD program. ARD stands for Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition. Many people charged in State College with relatively minor offenses, such as Possession of a Small Amount of Marijuana, DUI, Fake ID, Furnishing Alcohol to Minors, and Possession of Drug Paraphernalia, are approved to participate in the Centre County ARD program. Upon completion of the program, the criminal defense lawyer can file paperwork with the Bellefonte court to have the charges dismissed and expunged. Many college students, like those at Lock Haven and Penn State Altoona, are charged with such offenses and are eligible to participate in ARD or other probation without verdict programs to avoid a conviction and instead obtain a dismissal and expungement of charges.

Penalties for a Conviction of Marijuana Possession

If the woman were convicted of Possession of a Small Amount of Marijuana and Possession of Drug Paraphernalia, she would likely face a sentence that included probation, payment of fines and costs, and completion of community service. Pennsylvania suspends driving privileges for a conviction of marijuana possession. In Pennsylvania, any person convicted of a drug possession related offense is subject to a Pennsylvania license suspension. A person facing a drug-related suspension is also prohibited from obtaining a "bread and butter" or Occupational Limited License (OLL). The only way to avoid the license suspension is to avoid the conviction of the drug offense.

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