What Happens When You Get Arrested for Weed?

I’ll tell you. But first, a little back-story:

Awhile back, I was pulled over for minor traffic infraction and subsequently arrested for possessing a (fairly small) amount of marijuana, a grinder and a scale. I also had in my possession anti-psychotic pills, and a single .5 mg alprazolam. I was taken to jail and charged in one of the most strict, law-and-order counties, in a notoriously conservative state. Needless to say, this was a pretty open-and-shut case, and I didn’t stand much chance.

From my mistakes, you can learn much. Hopefully you’re reading this proactively, and you have not become victim to the system. Even if you’ve already been charged, you can still take away some highly useful information from my tale. It won’t work magic, and you will probably still do some unpleasant fine-paying and community service, but it may make your life a lot more bearable.

To read my advice only and skip the anecdotes (lazy asses),skip all but the italicized paragraphs.

To start with, read and memorize this entire post. It will prep you on the basics of preventing arrest in the first place, and offer some great tools to help you with police encounters. If you’ve already been arrested, it will do no good for your current situation, but you can find out where you went wrong. The part that eventually got me (and gets most people arrested for drugs) is traveling with weed.

I had smoked up at my friend/dealers house, and stashed my new stash in my pocket, planning on putting it in my trunk later. Well I got too far stoned that day, and promptly forgot all about that. Fast forward to a few minutes later, and I performed a u-turn into a left lane which ended and merged into the lane next to it. I had apparently forgotten to signal that merge, because shortly after I was seeing the red and blues behind me.

My initial encounter actually went quite well. I confidently defended my reasons for the illegal merge, including a truck which had (truthfully) distracted me by coming off the highway and immediately coming to a near stop whilst cutting across traffic. The officer ensured me that I’d only be issued a warning, and pulled me out of the car “to keep an eye on me.”

As he was walking away, I rested my hands in the pocket of my hoodie. The officer became nervous and walked back over to “make sure I didn’t have any bazookas or anything crazy like that” (his words). Eventually he arrived at the dirty pocket and discovered my little stash of goodies.

From this, all I can say is be conscious of your every move while talking to an officer. Police are acutely aware of body language, voice inflection, eye movement and hand movement, and are heavily trained to spot suspicious activity. And when you think about it from their perspective, it literally can save their life. I don’t believe the laws make any sense or that they should be enforced so heavily in such biased areas, but we simply have to deal with them. If you’re choosing to break them (as I do), you must take extreme measures to protect yourself, or start making a savings account for your inevitable court case.

Keep your hands out of your pockets, perhaps clasp them in front of you if necessary. DO NOT rest your thumbs or hands on your waist or belt, as an officer will notice this and become suspicious of what’s under there. ABSOLUTELY DO NOT put them inside your pockets or make any movement that could be interpreted as reaching into your pocket. This scares the hell out of the officer and he will want to frisk you.

An officer is legally allowed to search your person for weapons in every state I know of. This is the source of much confusion for many people, so I want you all to be aware of it. He can search your outer body, including your pockets, hat, waistline, socks and shoes. You cannot refuse a search of your person for their protection, for any reason. However, you absolutely can refuse a search of your vehicle, and even if you think you might not be able to, do it anyway.

For this reason, leave your bud in the car. If you’re walking or something, a locked backpack. No locked backpack? The shoes or socks (beneath ankle, out of view) are the best places. I’ve been frisked a number of times, and the first time I ever had my socks or shoes inspected was at the jail before booking. And that brings me to another point…

Don’t bring marijuana or paraphernalia into jail! If the cop missed something and you think you’re gonna be slick and get away with it, the jail guards will NOT be fooled. They check every pocket, nook, cranny, sock, shoe, anus, scrotum, etc. And if they find anything in there, congratulations you’ve just committed a felony.

While being questioned by the officer and driven to the jail, I was on my best behavior. I didn’t make small talk and try to be his friend, but I always called him sir and answered his questions respectfully. Before entering the booking process, I was interrogated by a narcotics officer. He wanted to know where the weed came from, and offered me tempting plea agreements. Being a noble stoner, I respectfully declined his offer.

While being interrogated, do not give the officers any incriminating information about yourself whatsoever. In fact, the only thing to come out of your mouth should be: “I’d like to have my lawyer present.” Your 5th amendment rights apply here, but you must verbally assert them. If you don’t, you may have a much harder time having the interrogation thrown out. Even if you don’t think you have a chance in court, you’ll want to keep every available option open, as they can be used as bargaining tools later.

After what proved to be a fruitless interrogation for the “narc,” as he referred to himself, I was sent through to begin my booking process. Booking entails all the classic “jail scene” stereotypes, including getting your mugshot and fingerprints taken. They took a handful of pictures, including documenting any tattoos I might have. Then they took individual fingerprints for every finger, as well as my entire hand and side of my hand. It’s a tedious process, but honestly one of the more enjoyable parts of the entire experience. Mostly because I was doing something.

Before all that, however, was the process of dehumanization. Namely, the strip search and issuance of prison garb. I had never known exactly what a strip search entailed before this, so it was a learning experience. To spell it out, here is the process:

I am told to remove my clothes, as well as to turn every article inside-out, to ensure nothing was hidden in there. Once nude, I was instructed to rustle my hair with my fingers. You may be familiar with the “spread your cheeks and lift your sack” Dave Chappelle stand up bit. Well, that’s pretty much spot on. I was made to lift my sack to reveal any obscured contents, then spread my cheeks and cough. Once they were satisfied with their little peep show, I was given inmate pants and shirt, and led out of the shower room. I never received socks or underwear throughout my stay.

Boredom like nothing I have ever experienced in my life then ensued. If you want to recreate the holding cell experience, all you’ll need is an empty cement room. There is nothing in this room except for a roll of toilet paper which will serve the lucky owner as a pillow. At night you’re issued a single blanket. There’s no pillow, there are no beds, you simply sit in the cell. Time did not pass in this room, it stagnated eternally.

There is a single phone in the holding cell, and the “one phone call” rule is a myth. You only get a single free phone call if you’re issued a PR (personal recognizance) bond. Otherwise, you are able to call anyone you want at the exorbitant collect call fees. The phone will also serve as a clock; you simply dial a number and a robot informs you of the time. This can either be comforting or maddening, depending on the circumstance. Usually a combination of both.

If you have someone on the outside working for your release, they will be a great boon to your ability to leave in a timely fashion. Otherwise, there is likely a list of bondsmen taped to the window, and you’ll need to set up something with them. Bonds work like this:

Your bail is set by a magistrate judge, who decides (based upon the severity of your crimes and your criminal history) how much it’s going to cost to get you out. You can pay your bail by yourself, and you will be refunded the fee after your court case and retribution are fully paid off. Many times the bail is set much too high to afford such an option, so you’ll need to work with a bondsman.

A bondsman will pay for your bail, if you pay him 10% of your bail + a processing fee. Meaning, if you had a $10,000 bail, you’ll need to pay a bondsman approximately $1,500 or thereabout. Using a bondsman, you will not get ANY of your money back. They are fronting their own money for it, so they will. They also really want to get their money back, so they’ll have you check in with them every week or so.

Now, I wouldn’t say court was terrible, but it was extremely tedious. Everything about a court experience is incredibly tedious, from the moment it starts. When I’d walked into the courtroom I noticed that employees were very methodical. In fact, I’d go so far as to say they’re just slow. Your time is of no import to them, and it is quite obvious that you are simply interrupting more important business.

When you meet with your attorney – and you will be hiring an attorney, goddamn it – you’ll contemplate the all-important question of, “what choice do I make?” Your lawyer can guide you through this to varying degrees, but eventually you’ll have to decide between a few options. The most common two are: ‘try for a lenient probation’ or ‘fight the charge.’

If you’re deciding to fight the charge, that’s great! But make sure you know what the hell you’re doing before you jump into something like that. If you’re unable to win your case you very-well may create a larger problem than otherwise. Listen to the lawyer, you’re paying them good money for the advice.

If you opt for deferred adjudication, pre-trial intervention, or a similar program then you’ll want to be a model citizen for a little while. That means no getting into trouble, and no drugs that will show up on a drug test (check out this link for info on drug tests and drugs that won’t trip a drug test). It’s also a good time to practice your lying, as you’ll be doing a lot of it when they ask you about your drug history.

Eventually I ended up with a type of deferred adjudication, or pre-trial intervention. There would be no conviction and no other punishment, but the catch is I had to complete a program to do so. This included a bit of community service, monthly drug tests, and an education program that lasted a few months. It was not hard, but most of it was in another county and it was a mild pain in the ass to wake up early and get to the program. I took lots of tramadol (doesn’t show up on tests) during this time period.

My experience was pretty enlightening as to how our judicial system works, at the lower levels. If you’re reading this you are already 500% better off than the next guy, because it means you’re doing your research. Most of your peers have no idea what our laws are or how to protect yourself before and after being arrested. So feel good for that. And if you’re willing to read this, it probably means you’re willing to jump through a few hoops to move beyond the bullshit.

If I were to write a guide to passing probation it would be this:

  • It is designed for you to fail, make sure you do not.
  • Show up early, do not miss anything under any circumstances.
  • Update your PO on anything at all that interferes with your requirements.
  • Don’t be the brown-noser, but don’t be the slacker. Basically, do your shit and don’t show off. 
  • Don’t fail the goddamn drug test!

This probation bullshit is just that – bullshit. It is made to be a pain in the ass, to see just how much you really care about “society.” It will make you hate “society.” But it’s ok, because when you pass and cheat the system is when you win. 

Don’t give into temptation and smoke weed or do drugs that will show up on a test. Psychedelics (LSD, mushrooms, ketamine, 2c-*, DO*, *-NBOMe, etc.) should pass any but the most advanced test. Tramadol and kratom are the only ways I know to get your opiate fix. Sometimes you can cheat the opiate test with opioids, but I wouldn’t really trust it. Most synthetic cannabinoids will beat the test, though I can’t really recommend those because they can be unsafe or unknown.


Thanks for reading, if you have any questions or comments please leave them below! Or email lotus@stonerculture.com

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10 Responses to “What Happens When You Get Arrested for Weed?”

  1. Aaron Says:

    I read your entire story and thank you for sharing your insight/experiences. Just wondering how much did you have on you and what state. Sorry if I missed this info somewhere. And did you have any other criminal behavior or past drug warnings?

  2. Lotus Says:

    Thank you for reading! I had a quarter on me, and this was in the great state of Texas. I had no encounters with the law besides some traffic tickets before that point, and none since.

  3. Aaron Says:

    Yeah I should of reread paragraph 1, you gave some good context clues haha. That’s crazy… A strip search, interrogation, booking\mugshot, jail cell, lawyers, bondsman, probation or fight. In any sane state or country this sounds like you attempted a burglery or murder. Also I didn’t catch that you had antipsychotic, alprazolam pills, whatever those are, more serious than weed or no? Nonetheless probably made you look more edgy and criminal like. BTW I’m not a lazy ass 😉
    Now here’s my story or rather question. I live in Florida, bradenton to be exact and I know this state is somewhat strict, at least appears that way based on the laws. But if you have no criminal record, no past warnings, and get caught with like an 1\8, like in your car, or even on foot but your not impaired. What’s the worst that could happen. Cause our law says 1 year in jail, $1,000 for weed under 20 g, basically even a single blunt. Now I know this is the extreme end and never happens unless under completely different circumstances and past behavior, if ever, but based on this how hard could I get based on my clean past? I’m not going to do it if its all that bullshit is involved, not to mention getting your lincense suspensed for 1 or 2 years, or even a month, if a car is involved. But it sounds like it could happen even if no car is present.
    Also how am I the first to comment?

  4. Lotus Says:

    Also I didn’t catch that you had antipsychotic, alprazolam pills, whatever those are, more serious than weed or no?

    The prosecutor actually threw out the pills, apparently weed is more dangerous than Xanax in that county. Plus the pills were under the passenger seat and discolored/degraded, so it was pretty obvious they were lost there and not for personal use.

    based on this how hard could I get based on my clean past?

    Most likely someone in your situation would have the same outcome that I did. Typically you would get arrested and spend a night (or two) in jail, then once bail was set your parents, friend, boss, or whomever could post your bond and get you out. Then you’d probably end up doing deferred adjudication, pre-trial intervention/diversion, or something similar to avoid getting convicted. This would entail about 6 months (a year at most) of glorified probation, and after you successfully finished you’d avoid having a conviction and would only have an arrest record. Then you could get the arrest removed after a few years, meaning nobody (employers most importantly) would ever be able to tell you were arrested.

    Also how am I the first to comment?

    Good question! Feel free to ask anything else you want to know.

  5. Aaron Says:

    That’s some bullshit. I don’t think it would come to all that, not even an arrest or 1 or 2 days in jail,especially if you weren’t impaired driving. Keep in mind I’m spotless. I mean what’s this one time warning I hear about, or at worst paying a $500 fine or something similar. I know a close friend who was high, almost hit a cop car at a intersection and got nothing but their stuff taken and that was 2 months after where they got caught for under age drinking with some weed. I guess neither times they put it in the system, idk. Must be complete cop discretion. Some states and counties are different I guess. Sounds like you had the worst county in the whole united states and I’m really sorry you had to deal with all that, this country is fucked. I’m only 20 and hope to see this unreasonable madness end in my lifetime.

  6. Lotus Says:

    Laws will of course vary widely from county to county and enforcement from officer to officer. For example in two neighboring counties here weed is a ticket in one and an arrest in the other.

    It is very possible that you’ll get let off with a warning the first time, and people in very anti-drug states get let off by nice cops sometimes. But according to the letter of the law you can be arrested which means I personally would not want to wager on a cop’s mood or my luck that day (cause I have shitty luck).

    I will say that in Texas (where I was arrested) the actual penalties on the books are lighter than Florida. So it’s gonna be very much up to the cop whether or not to let you go, ticket you, or arrest you.

    I appreciate your sentiments by the way. It has been a few years since I was arrested, but it was one of the worst times of my life to date. You are probably not exaggerating much when you say it was probably the worst county in the whole US. I think it will eventually end, but it will be a long uphill battle with all sorts of unforeseen roadblocks (like people upset about driving high and so forth).

  7. Zach Says:

    I recently was arrested for possession. Pretty sketchy. I had basically the same jail scenario. Some odd reason I was the only one out three friends that went to jail, they both got picked up and taken home. I wasn’t even driving, nor did I own the car. I am not fully innocent though. I was pretty high, and my friends dad (who owned the car) license was suspended so they pulled us over and had to make sure my friend was driving with a valid license, and once he got to the window he instantly smelled the weed. So first my friend stepped out of the car, then my other friend, then me. Me and my friend/dealer sat in the back of the same squad car, and waited to see what was going on. Both of my friends waited and got picked up within an hour. I was not so smart, (in my high state) and told an officer a false name because I didn’t know what was happening. That obviously is a big no-no. So I went through the whole jail process, this was around 2:30- 3:00 am so I had to go in a holding cell to sleep. They gave me a rubber mattress and rubber pillow with all the other good stuff. I ended up getting bailed by my mom, but my aunt picked me up. (I’m only 17) Needless to say it was the last thing I expected to happen that night, I expected to smoke a couple blunts and pass out at my friends house. If I had any advice to fellow stoners, don’t smoke and drive. Or don’t drive high. It may seem easy now, but you might get unlucky one night and it could cost you up to more then $1000 in fines. I had a clean record beforehand and bail was set at $300.

  8. Hunter Says:

    So i just got busted for weed in my car because my license plate light was out. Im a minor (yeah leave the “you shouldnt be doing this blah blah blah” at home bc i had a bery rough past compared to most and it got me away from my troubles for a bit) and i wondered if you would have any clue as of what id get charged with since im a minor? And also will those things for sure not come up in my probation tests because i have done LSD and shrooms recently

  9. Lotus Says:

    Trust me nobody here would ever tell you “you shouldn’t be doing” anything haha. Anyway for LSD and shrooms, it definitely won’t show up. In fact it’s very rare for them to even test for them at all since they’re out of your system in less than a day. Just make sure you don’t do any weed or benzos (like Xanax or K-pins) since they stay in your system for a long ass time.

    As for what you’d be charged with, it could be a number of things but the most common is an MiP which is of course Minor in Possession of Controlled Substance. Usually that will involve a probation of 6 months or a year depending on various factors.

    Let me know if you have any questions.

  10. Carla Says:

    Hey as weird as it sounds it actually nice to know I’m not the only one. I was arrested a couple of days ago for weed possession of less than 2 oz. it was my first time being arrested and it was not pleasant at all. So quick question do you recommend to get my own lawyer or get the lawyer that is appointed to me ? Also I’m 20 yr old so I know that will stay in my record do you know if I will be able to take it off ? And if so how long ? I don’t really have trouble with the law only when I was 16 I got a ticket for theft

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