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West Chester PA Marijuana Law Update

Posted on May 11th, 2013
Impact of Marijuana Laws in West Chester & Chester County PA

Recently, the United States Supreme Court entered a ruling having potentially significant implications of individuals charged with marijuana and possibly suggesting that the supreme court may be de-emphasizing the seriousness of marijuana use if not actually decriminalizing it.   Need to learn more:  EMAIL or call an experienced Chester County Marijuana Possession Attorney at Ciccarelli Law Offices at (610) 692-8700 or (877) 529-2422 to discuss your rights and the implications of this Supreme Court decision on your future.

The Supreme Court’s ruling in April was that immigrants can not automatically be deported if they are convicted of relatively minor crimes involving marijuana.  The 7-2 decision involved a longtime resident of the United States from Jamaica who was deported from the US over a conviction for a small amount of marijuana.


Contact Ciccarelli Law Offices if you or a loved on is facing criminal charges, arrest or citations for possession of Marijuana or Pot in suburban Philadelphia including Chester County (West Chester PA), Delaware County, Lancaster County, Montgomery County.  Contact us by EMAIL or call an experienced Chester County Marijuana Possession Attorney at Ciccarelli Law Offices at (610) 692-8700 or (877) 529-2422.

With Justice Samuel Alito and Clarence Thomas dissenting, Justice Sonia Sotomayer stated that crime must be more serious such as a sale or delivery of marijuana or pot; or the possession of a large amount of marijuana to warrant an automatic deportation.  The decision with allow the defendant in the case to return to the United States and fight his deportation over the conviction of a small amount of marijuana.

The case stems from Moncrieffe’s 2008 arrest in Georgia. Police pulled him over and found 1.3 grams of marijuana in his car, the equivalent of two or three marijuana cigarettes, Sotomayor said. He faced the charge of possession of marijuana with an intent to distribute, which under Georgia law encompasses a range of conduct from social sharing to distribution of larger amounts.

Moncrieffe accepted a plea with no jail time in which the charge would be expunged if he complied with his probation. Two years later, immigration agents jailed him and began deportation proceedings, citing the marijuana arrest. For deportation purposes, it was as if Moncrieffe had been a major drug dealer.

In the government’s eyes, Moncrieffe’s crime was serious enough to count as an “aggravated felony” and that it fell into a category that made his deportation automatic and deprived even the attorney general of the ability to step in and cancel it.  But Sotomayor said that under immigration law, a conviction that “fails to establish that the offense involved either remuneration or more than a small amount of marijuana” is not an aggravated felony.

She also dismissed the concern raised by Alito in his dissent that, because about half the states have statutes similar to the one in Georgia, many people convicted of marijuana crimes will avoid deportation because the state laws are not specific enough.

“Escaping aggravated felony treatment does not mean escaping deportation,” she said. It just means that the deportation is not automatic, Sotomayor said.

Thomas wrote that the Georgia law defines the crime as a drug trafficking offense, which should have resolved the case in the government’s favor


The Marijuana Possession attorneys  of Ciccarelli Law Offices are staunch advocates for the preservation of constitutional rights before, during and after an arrest.  Our reputation for successful defense strategy and tactics coupled with one-one-one client interaction makes us the Pennsylvania defense attorneys of choice for individuals facing serious felony and misdemeanor criminal charges.

We represent clients charged with such Pennsylvania drug offenses as:

  • Marijuana Possession Charges
  • Small Amount of Marijuana or “pot”
  • Drug Paraphernalia including, pot pipes, baggies, needles, scales, etc.
  • Cultivating, Manufacturing, Growing  or Possession of Marijuana Plants
  • Juvenile Drug Crimes including possession or delivery in a school
  • School Zone Sentencing Enhancements

Ciccarelli Law offices defends individuals and their families facing serious drug related offenses including drug and narcotics crimes, possession and delivery or trafficking crimes in Pennsylvania.  Our Pennsylvania criminal lawyers have been handling drug cases for more than 30 years and look to help clients avoid having these charges lead to serious jail time and a permanent mark on their criminal record.

Based  in suburban Philadelphia at 304 North High Street, West Chester PA 19380, we make your choice all the clearer with locations throughout the metropolitan Philadelphia Pennsylvania, including Center City Philadelphia, West Chester PA, Malvern (serving Downingtown/Exton PA), Kennett Square PA, Lancaster PA, King of Prussia PA, Plymouth Meeting PA, Radnor and Springfield PA.  We serve Downingtown, Paoli, Media, Norristown, Harrisburg, Lancaster, Lebanon, Reading and Allentown.  For more information or to schedule an appointment with an experienced Pennsylvania Attorney at Ciccarelli Lawyers, by contacting us at (610) 692-8700 or toll free at (877) 529-2422.