Although restriction on the use of marijuana is easing in states throughout the U.S., possession can still land you in hot water, despite West Virginia’s adoption of medical-use marijuana last year. Unless you have a prescription, pot is still a controlled substance, and those found with it face the same legal problems as anyone caught with other illegal drugs. If you are a first-time offender, you may qualify for a conditional discharge of the offense, as long as the charge is for personal use and not for sale or distribution.

According to the state Legislature, you must not have any prior guilty pleas or convictions in West Virginia or anywhere else in the U.S. to qualify for this program. That includes any charges relating to pot, stimulants, depressants, hallucinogenic or narcotic drugs and marijuana, as well as drug paraphernalia, from bongs and roach clips to the very paper used to wrap or market drugs.

Essentially, the conditional discharge means that the court delays regular proceedings, placing you on probation despite having no plea from you or conviction of the charges against you. While you are on probation, typically for at least six months, you must meet the terms and conditions set by the court. These terms may include a drug education class, community service and more.

If you violate any of the terms or conditions, you may be found guilty of the original charges. However, if you meet all the terms, the charges will be dismissed without a finding of guilt or conviction. After another six months of keeping your record clean, you can seek an expungement, or erasure, of this item from your record.

This article contains important information about West Virginia’s conditional discharge program that is general in nature. It is not meant as legal advice.