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I have been told that I have court in July for a personal use of cannabis case. I got caught with cannabis last May, a month after I turned 18 years old, with 28 grams of cannabis. It was only for personal use, not for supply, and I thought it was over with last year. However, I have got a letter through the post saying I have court now.

I have been told by people I know that I may get a fine or community service hours as it was only personal use, but I have booked and paid for a holiday in Disneyland, Florida, USA in August.

Assuming I'm convicted in July, can anyone tell me if I will be able to enter the USA if I declare my conviction?

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You are most likely not going to get to the border, let alone being allowed to enter.

Before travelling to the USA you will need to apply for and be approved for either an ESTA or a US Visa.

During the application process for an ESTA, you will need to answer the following questions :

Have you ever violated any law related to possessing, using, or distributing illegal drugs?

Obviously you will need to answer "yes" to that answer. Once you do, it is most likely that your ESTA application will be rejected. Once this occurs you can instead attempt to apply for a US visa, however this process as a similar question, and will likely lead to (at best) a long and drawn-out process before a visa is issued, if one is issued at all.

You may be tempted to answer "no" to this question, but keep in mind that the US and the UK do share criminal information, so in this case your ESTA application will still most likely be rejected, in which case you will be in an even worse situation due to having lied on the application.

Your only real option at this stage is to apply for an ESTA, answer truthfully, and hope that it is approved. If it is, you're good to travel to the US and will most likely be allowed enter. If it's rejected, you likely don't have sufficient time to consider any other options.

Note that although cannabis is legal in some US states, under federal law it is still illegal through the entire country.

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    Did OP violate a law until he was convicted though? – JonathanReez Jun 19 '18 at 18:27
  • You violate a law even if you never even get suspected. It may be that you can get the ESTA before you are convicted. – gnasher729 Jun 19 '18 at 21:13
  • @JonathanReez, the ESTA app asks if the applicant has ever violated the law, not whether he's been convicted. Of course, without knowing what the US knows about pending UK criminal matters, we're all just whistling past the graveyard. – David Jun 20 '18 at 2:45
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    @Doc it all depends on what the US means by that question. It's possible that you did kill someone but you are 100% confident it wasn't your fault (e.g. someone jumped in front of your car on purpose). In this case did you actually violate any laws unless proven guilty? – JonathanReez Jun 20 '18 at 5:03
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    @JonathanReez or maybe you killed someone, were never charged, but you have a somewhat strong suspicion that you could probably raise a Self-Defense defense and get acquitted if you were ever charged. Alternatively, maybe you're one of those Sovereign Citizen types who believes that no matter what you do, you can't possibly be guilty of a crime because criminal law doesn't apply to you because you never consented to the jurisdiction of Special Statutory Admiralty Courts, accepted for value (no levy due). – Robert Columbia Jun 23 '18 at 2:06

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