Drug Charges

Areas of Practice

If you are found in possession of marijuana, prescription narcotics without a prescription, or other illegal narcotics, you can be arrested and convicted. Most felony drug arrests can result in an arrest with no bond until set by a judge. Possession with intent or large quantities can result in convictions with mandatory jail sentence requirements, and possession of any drug other than marijuana is a felony. If narcotics are found in a vehicle you are occupying, in a residence you are residing or visiting, or on your person, you can be arrested and potentially convicted.

If you are arrested for possession of various quantities, higher mandatory sentences can be imposed depending on the quantity of narcotics found. Also, if a hand gun or other weapon is found in close proximity to the narcotics, additional felony charges can be imposed. If children are present at the time of the arrest, additional felony charges can be imposed and the children handed over to Child Protection Services. If you are arrested for distribution of narcotics to an undercover officer or a person confidentially working with the police, an additional mandatory jail sentence can be imposed. Also, if you are in a vehicle at the time of the arrest or in the possession of currency, all may be seized and forfeited if you are ultimately convicted of charges.


Marijuana and Synthetic Marijuana

Possession:
  • First Offense Possession of any amount of marijuana is punishable by up to six months in jail and a fine of up to $500 for a first offense.
  • A Second Offense will be punished by a maximum of 5 years in prison and a fine of up to $2,000.
  • A Third or Subsequent Offense increases the penalty to up to 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $5,000.
Cultivation, Distribution or Possession with Intent to Distribute Marijuana:
  • Less than 60 pounds of marijuana is punishable by 5-30 years in prison and a fine of up to $50,000.
  • More than 60 pounds of marijuana is punishable by 5-30 years in prison and a fine of up to $50,000-$100,000.
  • More than 2,000 pounds is punishable by 10-40 years in prison and a fine of $100,000-$400,000.
  • More than 10,000 pounds the penalty increases 25-40 years in prison and a fine of $400,000-$1,000,000.
  • Any sale to a minor at least three years younger than the seller doubles the possible penalties.
  • For the felony possession or sale within 1,000 feet of a school, religious building or public housing the penalty includes a mandatory minimum sentence of at least one half of the maximum penalty for the offense.
Possession or Sale of Paraphernalia
  • First Offense is punished by up to six months in jail and a fine of up to $500.
  • Second Offense is punishable by one year in prison and a fine of up to $1,000.
  • Third Offense increases the penalty up to five years in prison and a fine of up to $5,000, and is a felony.

Mandatory Minimum Sentence

When someone is convicted of an offense punishable by a mandatory minimum sentence, the judge must sentence the defendant to the mandatory minimum sentence or to a higher sentence. The judge has no power to sentence the defendant to less time than the mandatory minimum.


Habitual Offenders

Under the Habitual Offender law, individuals who have been convicted of multiple felonies can have their sentences elevated to life imprisonment without the possibility of parole, probation, or the suspension of the sentence.


Drug Schedules

In 1970, The Comprehensive Drug Abuse Prevention and Control Act was made into law. The Controlled Substances Act, which exists within Title II of the 1970 law, is the method of legally establishing illegal narcotics along with their designated punishments. This Title regulates how scheduled drugs are distributed, manufactured, and used in the United States. There are five schedules used to classify drugs, which is regulated by the Department of Justice and the Department of Health and Human Services, which includes the Federal Drug Administration.


Schedule I Controlled Substances (Felony)
  • High tendency for abuse
  • No accepted medical use
  • Overall lack of safety in usage under medical supervision
  • Includes:
    • Heroin
    • LSD
    • Marijuana
    • MDMA (Ecstasy)
    • Psilocybin/Psilocin

Schedule II Controlled Substances (Felony)
  • High tendency for abuse
  • Some currently accepted medical use
  • Severe psychological or physical dependency may occur if abused
  • Requires prescription by a licensed practitioner
  • No prescription refills by Federal law
  • Includes:
    • Cocaine
    • Methylphenidate (Ritalin/Concerta)
    • Opium
    • Methadone
    • Oxycodone
    • Morphine
    • Adderall
    • Vyvanse
    • Codeine
    • Hydrocodone
    • Phencyclidine (PCP)
    • Amphetamines

Schedule III Controlled Substances (Felony)
  • Less potential for abuse than Schedule I and II substances
  • Currently accepted medical use
  • Moderate to low physical dependency may occur with high psychological dependency
  • Restricted prescription refill limited by a practitioner
  • Includes:
    • Anabolic Steroids
    • Ketamine
    • Benzphetamine (Didrex)

Schedule IV Controlled Substances (Felony)
  • Low potential for abuse in relation to Schedule III Substances
  • Currently accepted medical use
  • Limited physical or psychological dependence in relation to Schedule III Substances
  • Restricted prescription refill limit by a practitioner
  • Includes:
    • Benzodiazepines (Xanax/Librium)
    • Barbiturates (Phenobarbital)
    • Carisoprodol (Soma)
    • Clonazepam (Klonopin)

Schedule V Controlled Substances (Felony)
  • Low potential for abuse relative to Schedule IV Substances
  • Currently accepted medical use
  • Limited psychological or physical dependency in relation to Schedule IV
  • Only distributed for medical purposes
  • Includes:
    • Robitussin AC
    • Phenergan with Codeine
    • Substances containing small amounts of opium or diphenoxylate
    • Anticonvulsants such as Pregabalin (Lyrica), Lacosamide (Vimpat) and Retigabine (Potiga/Trobalt)

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