Eastern Iowa Criminal Defense Attorneys
Back to Top
Eastern Iowa Trial Attorneys

Backed by extensive experience & expertise in handling cases just like yours. Speak with our legal team now.

Iowa Considers Lowering Penalties For First-Time Pot Possession

Iowa state lawmakers are considering a bill that would reduce penalties for possession of marijuana.

Even as many states have taken steps to decriminalize and even legalize recreational marijuana use, Iowa's marijuana laws remain among the toughest in the nation. However, as The Gazette reports, a bill currently being debated by state lawmakers could see Iowa reduce penalties for first-time possession of marijuana. Another bill would introduce important reforms to the state's medical marijuana laws. While neither bill would see Iowa actually legalize marijuana, they would be important steps towards keeping more people accused of marijuana offenses out of jail.

Lower possession penalties

The first marijuana-related bill is Senate File 2180, which would make first-time possession of five grams or less of marijuana a misdemeanor offense subject to up to 30 days in jail and a fine of $65 to $625. Currently, first-time possession of up to five grams of marijuana is considered a serious misdemeanor subject to a six-month jail sentence and a fine of up to $1,000. Furthermore, a serious misdemeanor on one's record can result in offenders being denied scholarships and college admission.

The bill cleared the Senate Judiciary Committee in February, although it will still need to pass the House before being sent to the governor's desk for a final signature. Supporters of the bill say that it would lead to 2,000 fewer marijuana convictions in the first year of its implementation and would lead to $150,000 in savings for the state and even more for local governments.

Medical marijuana changes and public support

A second bill, Senate File 2313, also recently cleared the Senate Judiciary Committee and addresses problems with Iowa's current medical marijuana system. While the state legalized the production and distribution of medical marijuana last year, it placed severe restrictions on which treatments and patients were eligible. Senate File 2313 would allow for more ailments and treatments using medical marijuana.

Support for these changes is growing in Iowa. As the Des Moines Register reports, a recent poll found that 78 percent of Iowans support medical marijuana. While a majority of Iowans remain opposed to legalizing recreational use of marijuana, that opposition has softened from 69 percent against legalization in 2014 to 58 percent in 2018. Currently, eight states have legalized recreational marijuana, while 22 have decriminalized possession of small amounts of marijuana, including Iowa's neighbors Minnesota, Illinois, Nebraska, and Missouri.

Criminal defense help

As Iowa's drug laws change, it is important for those who have been accused of a drug crime to remain aware that they still face potentially severe consequences if convicted. While it is easy to believe that with so many other states decriminalizing or legalizing marijuana use that police and prosecutors in Iowa will treat offenders lightly, the truth is that Iowa still has some of the harshest marijuana laws in the country. That's why anybody accused of a drug offense needs to talk to a criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. An experienced attorney can advocate for the accused's rights and help him or her maintain their rights and freedoms.

  • The Iowa State Bar Association
  • DUI Defense Law
  • NACDL
  • AAJ
  • Iowa Association of Justice

Keegan, Tindal, & Mason 

Put Over 50 Years of Combined Trial Experience On Your Side 
  • J. Dean Keegan
  • Eric D. Tindal
  • Andrea D. Mason
  • J. Dean Keegan J. Dean Keegan

    Owner

    Decades of Award-Winning Legal Service J. Dean Keegan was born and raised in Waterloo, Iowa. After high school, Dean served ...
    J. Dean  Keegan Photo
  • Eric D. Tindal Eric D. Tindal

    Attorney

    Highly Rated Criminal Defense in Iowa City Eric D. Tindal, attorney at Keegan, Tindal & Mason, graduated from the University ...
    Eric D. Tindal Photo
  • Andrea D. Mason Andrea D. Mason

    Attorney

    Experienced Criminal Defense in the Iowa and Illinois Quad Cities Andrea D. Mason practices in the areas of white collar ...
    Andrea D. Mason Photo

See What Our Clients Have to say

  • He was professional, knowledgeable and prompt. He was very effective in his communication.

    “He showed genuine concern with my matters. He described a plan of action. His information and demeanor were very reassuring. After the Hire: He was professional, knowledgeable and prompt. He was very ...”

    - David
  • I am glad he was there to get my head out of the guillotine when I needed him and keep my record clean.

    “I was stopped for an OWI. Dean took things as far as he could with the appeals process, finding every way possible to keep me driving in the meantime (which I needed to do for my job). Dean argued the ...”

    - Ryan
/

SUCCESSFUL results for our clients

Protecting Your Freedom & Rights
  • Operating While Intoxicated Record Expunged

    Johnson OWCR106890. Attorney Dean Keegan's client received an Operating While Intoxicated, a serious misdemeanor. After reviewing the videos, Mr. Keegan filed a Motion to Suppress arguing the officer denied his client's right to make a phone call. The State declined to present testimony at the hearing and the Motion to Suppress was granted, making the client eligible for a deferred judgment. Mr. Keegan's client will have her record expunged and be able to obtain a license after 90 days instead of 180.

  • Drug Charge Charge Dismissed

    Johnson County No. OWCR039210, Iowa City, Iowa. Attorney J. Dean Keegan conducted a three-day long suppression hearing which presented the first challenge to the "Drug Recognition Protocols" used in Iowa.

  • Embezzlement No Criminal Charges Filed

    Cedar Rapids, Linn County, Iowa. An employee of a Cedar Rapids business accused of embezzling six million dollars was not charged criminally after the County Attorney agreed to abide by an agreement negotiated by Attorneys J. Dean Keegan and Jerald Kinnamon in which the accused would pay two million dollars to the company.

  • Vehicular Homicide Charge Dismissed

    Johnson County No. FECR058630- Iowa City, Iowa. Attorneys J. Dean Keegan and Jerald W. Kinnamon successfully challenged the withdrawal of blood from a Defendant without his permission after a rollover accident in which a passenger in the vehicle was killed.

  • Vehicular Homicide Charge Dismissed

    Muscatine County No. FECR03718 - Muscatine, Iowa. If convicted of the vehicular homicide while intoxicated, as alleged in this case, the Defendant would have faced the possibility of a 25-year prison sentence, 17 years of which would have to be served before he would be eligible for parole. Following the depositions of the investigating officer and consultation with an accident reconstruction expert, Attorneys J. Dean Keegan and Jerry Kinnamon negotiated the dismissal of Vehicular Homicide as part of a plea

  • OWI Charge Dismissed

    Johnson County No. OWCR083001 - Iowa City, Iowa. Attorney J. Dean Keegan alleged that the Defendant's rights to contact a lawyer or family member may have been violated after his arrest. He requested video of the breath test from the arresting officer to support his allegation. When the officer failed to produce the video evidence in response written requests, a subpoena, and a Motion to Compel, the State conceded the issue and dismissed the offense.

  • OWI Acquittal at Jury Trial

    Johnson County No. OWCR077717- Iowa City, Iowa. Acquittal at jury trial of a defendant accused of Operating While Intoxicated who refused a breath alcohol test. Tried by Attorney J, Dean Keegan.

  • OWI Case Overturned

    State v. Hornik, Segura, et. al.Iowa City, Johnson County, Iowa. When the state of Iowa established that the Datamaster breath testing machine could be used to test subjects being investigated for OWI, it failed to establish a protocol for its proper use. Attorney J. Dean Keegan, in conjunction with the Johnson County Public Defender's Office, mounted a challenge to the use of the machine based on the lack of uniform instructions for its operation.

  • Zero Tolerance Driver's License Revocation Zero Tolerance Driver's License Revocation Overt

    Iowa Dept. of Inspection and Appeals Docket No. 08DOTOW3937. Attorney J. Dean Keegan successfully challenged a "Zero Tolerance" license revocation on the basis that the officer had failed to allow the driver to contact a family member or attorney for legal advice before submitting to the test.

  • OWI 2nd Offense Charge Dismissed

    Muscatine County No. OWCR040280 - Muscatine, Iowa. After Attorney Dean Keegan scheduled the deposition of the State's expert witness in this case, he learned that the breath test was inappropriately administered by the arresting officer. The State dismissed the offense outright and agreed that the breath test result should be inadmissible so the Defendant would not face the proposed one-year administrative revocation of her driver's license.

/

Keegan, Tindal, & Mason

Our Commitment to You
  • Our Attorneys Are well Respected Throughout Eastern Iowa

  • We Offer Free Consultations No Matter How Severe The Charge

  • Trial Attorneys With Successful Track Records In The Courtroom

  • Over 50 Years of Combined Experience In Criminal Defense with an Emphasis on OWI's

Keegan, tindal, & Mason 

Start Your Free Consultation Now
 
  • Please enter your first name.
  • Please enter your last name.
  • Please enter your phone number.
    This isn't a valid phone number.
  • Please enter your email address.
    This isn't a valid email address.
  • Please make a selection.
  • Please enter a message.