Do you need help with drug charges?

Drugs related charges and prosecution of those charges is a really interesting process here in Missouri. For whatever reason, length of time is a huge issue.

When someone is stopped in a car and drugs are seized, the officer then sends them to Missouri State Highway Patrol’s crime lab for testing. After testing the results are sent to the prosecutor’s office for review.

The process of getting to the prosecutor’s desk and eventually to court is a long one. It can take six, 12 or even 18 months before a person with a drug charge is prosecuted. And the legal process can also take six to 18 months.

So you’re potentially looking at three years from the time a person is stopped till the time the case is finished. In those three years things can go really well or they can go really poorly. In an ideal world from an attorney’s point of view, the day after the person is stopped they’re in the office making a plan with their lawyer.

Because if the client can follow that plan, by the time that 18 months to three year time frame is done, that is a different person. And that judge is not judging the person on the way they were when the original stop happened, they’re judging based upon who that person is today.

But too often people get an attorney involved halfway through the process, or even near the end, and that makes it hard for a lawyer to really help. Putting off getting legal representation is the worst thing you can do. Not because that lawyer is going to court, but because if we can change where the client’s life is going, we can get a better outcome on the case.

Most possession charges are considered Class C felonies, which carry a maximum penalty of seven years in prison and up to $5,000 in fines. Marijuana possession of less than 35 grams is considered a Class A misdemeanor, carrying punishments of up to a year in jail and fines of $1,000.

The punishments for manufacture or distribution of drugs are even greater, as are those for people who have a previous record.

While most people are familiar with the specifics of a drug possession charge, a paraphernalia charge can be a bit less clear. What constitutes paraphernalia? If you or someone you know has been charged with possession of drug paraphernalia, it is crucial to reach out to a criminal attorney familiar with Missouri drug laws. Paraphernalia charges can easily be upgraded to felony charges without the right representation.

Missouri Drug Laws

MISDEMEANOR PARAPHERNALIA STATUTE

579.074.  Unlawful possession of drug paraphernalia — penalty. —

1.  A person commits the offense of unlawful possession of drug paraphernalia if he or she knowingly uses, or possesses with intent to use, drug paraphernalia to plant, propagate, cultivate, grow, harvest, manufacture, compound, convert, produce, process, prepare, test, analyze, pack, repack, store, contain, conceal, inject, ingest, inhale, or otherwise introduce into the human body, a controlled substance or an imitation controlled substance in violation of this chapter or chapter 195.

  2.  The offense of unlawful possession of drug paraphernalia is a class D misdemeanor, unless the person has previously been found guilty of any offense of the laws of this state related to controlled substances or of the laws of another jurisdiction related to controlled substances, in which case the violation of this section is a class A misdemeanor.  Prior findings of guilt shall be pleaded and proven in the same manner as required by section 558.021.

  3.  The offense of unlawful possession of drug paraphernalia is a class E felony if the person uses, or possesses with intent to use, the paraphernalia in combination with each other to manufacture, compound, produce, prepare, test, or analyze amphetamine or methamphetamine or any of their analogues.

POSSESSION OF A CONTROLLED SUBSTANCE STATUTE

579.015.  Possession or control of a controlled substance — penalty. —

1.  A person commits the offense of possession of a controlled substance if he or she knowingly possesses a controlled substance, except as authorized by this chapter or chapter 195.

  2.  The offense of possession of any controlled substance except thirty-five grams or less of marijuana or any synthetic cannabinoid is a class D felony.

  3.  The offense of possession of more than ten grams but thirty-five grams or less of marijuana or any synthetic cannabinoid is a class A misdemeanor.

  4.  The offense of possession of not more than ten grams of marijuana or any synthetic cannabinoid is a class D misdemeanor.  If the defendant has previously been found guilty of any offense of the laws related to controlled substances of this state, or of the United States, or any state, territory, or district, the offense is a class A misdemeanor.  Prior findings of guilt shall be pleaded and proven in the same manner as required by section 558.021.

  5.  In any complaint, information, or indictment, and in any action or proceeding brought for the enforcement of any provision of this chapter or chapter 195, it shall not be necessary to include any exception, excuse, proviso, or exemption contained in this chapter or chapter 195, and the burden of proof of any such exception, excuse, proviso or exemption shall be upon the defendant.

TRAFFICKING IN THE FIRST DEGREE

 579.065.  Trafficking drugs, first degree — penalty. —

1.  A person commits the offense of trafficking drugs in the first degree if, except as authorized by this chapter or chapter 195, such person knowingly distributes, delivers, manufactures, produces or attempts to distribute, deliver, manufacture or produce:

  (1)  More than thirty grams of a mixture or substance containing a detectable amount of heroin;

  (2)  More than one hundred fifty grams of a mixture or substance containing a detectable amount of coca leaves, except coca leaves and extracts of coca leaves from which cocaine, ecgonine, and derivatives of ecgonine or their salts have been removed; cocaine salts and their optical and geometric isomers, and salts of isomers; ecgonine, its derivatives, their salts, isomers, and salts of isomers; or any compound, mixture, or preparation which contains any quantity of any of the foregoing substances;

  (3)  More than eight grams of a mixture or substance described in subdivision (2) of this subsection which contains cocaine base;

  (4)  More than five hundred milligrams of a mixture or substance containing a detectable amount of lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD);

  (5)  More than thirty grams of a mixture or substance containing a detectable amount of phencyclidine (PCP);

  (6)  More than four grams of phencyclidine;

  (7)  More than thirty kilograms of a mixture or substance containing marijuana;

  (8)  More than thirty grams of any material, compound, mixture, or preparation containing any quantity of the following substances having a stimulant effect on the central nervous system:  amphetamine, its salts, optical isomers and salts of its optical isomers; methamphetamine, its salts, optical isomers and salts of its optical isomers; phenmetrazine and its salts; or methylphenidate;

  (9)  More than thirty grams of any material, compound, mixture, or preparation which contains any quantity of 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine;

  (10)  One gram or more of flunitrazepam for the first offense;

  (11)  Any amount of gamma-hydroxybutyric acid for the first offense; or

  (12)  More than ten milligrams of fentanyl or carfentanil, or any derivative thereof, or any combination thereof, or any compound, mixture, or substance containing a detectable amount of fentanyl or carfentanil, or their optical isomers or analogues.

  2.  The offense of trafficking drugs in the first degree is a class B felony.

  3.  The offense of trafficking drugs in the first degree is a class A felony if the quantity involved is:

  (1)  Ninety grams or more of a mixture or substance containing a detectable amount of heroin; or

  (2)  Four hundred fifty grams or more of a mixture or substance containing a detectable amount of coca leaves, except coca leaves and extracts of coca leaves from which cocaine, ecgonine, and derivatives of ecgonine or their salts have been removed; cocaine salts and their optical and geometric isomers, and salts of isomers; ecgonine, its derivatives, their salts, isomers, and salts of isomers; or any compound, mixture, or preparation which contains any quantity of any of the foregoing substances; or

  (3)  Twenty-four grams or more of a mixture or substance described in subdivision (2) of this subsection which contains cocaine base; or

  (4)  One gram or more of a mixture or substance containing a detectable amount of lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD); or

  (5)  Ninety grams or more of a mixture or substance containing a detectable amount of phencyclidine (PCP); or

  (6)  Twelve grams or more of phencyclidine; or

  (7)  One hundred kilograms or more of a mixture or substance containing marijuana; or

  (8)  Ninety grams or more of any material, compound, mixture, or preparation containing any quantity of the following substances having a stimulant effect on the central nervous system:  amphetamine, its salts, optical isomers and salts of its optical isomers; methamphetamine, its salts, optical isomers and salts of its optical isomers; phenmetrazine and its salts; or methylphenidate; or

  (9)  More than thirty grams of any material, compound, mixture, or preparation containing any quantity of the following substances having a stimulant effect on the central nervous system:  amphetamine, its salts, optical isomers, and salts of its optical isomers; methamphetamine, its salts, optical isomers, and salts of its optical isomers; phenmetrazine and its salts; or methylphenidate, and the location of the offense was within two thousand feet of real property comprising a public or private elementary, vocational, or secondary school, college, community college, university, or any school bus, in or on the real property comprising public housing or any other governmental assisted housing, or within a motor vehicle, or in any structure or building which contains rooms furnished for the accommodation or lodging of guests, and kept, used, maintained, advertised, or held out to the public as a place where sleeping accommodations are sought for pay or compensation to transient guests or permanent guests; or

  (10)  Ninety grams or more of any material, compound, mixture or preparation which contains any quantity of 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine; or

  (11)  More than thirty grams of any material, compound, mixture, or preparation which contains any quantity of 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine and the location of the offense was within two thousand feet of real property comprising a public or private elementary, vocational, or secondary school, college, community college, university, or any school bus, in or on the real property comprising public housing or any other governmental assisted housing, within a motor vehicle, or in any structure or building which contains rooms furnished for the accommodation or lodging of guests, and kept, used, maintained, advertised, or held out to the public as a place where sleeping accommodations are sought for pay or compensation to transient guests or permanent guests; or

  (12)  One gram or more of flunitrazepam for a second or subsequent offense; or

  (13)  Any amount of gamma-hydroxybutyric acid for a second or subsequent offense; or

  (14)  Twenty milligrams or more of fentanyl or carfentanil, or any derivative thereof, or any combination thereof, or any compound, mixture, or substance containing a detectable amount of fentanyl or carfentanil, or their optical isomers or analogues.

DISTRIBUTION OF A CONTROLLED SUBSTANCE

579.015.  Possession or control of a controlled substance — penalty. —

1.  A person commits the offense of possession of a controlled substance if he or she knowingly possesses a controlled substance, except as authorized by this chapter or chapter 195.

  2.  The offense of possession of any controlled substance except thirty-five grams or less of marijuana or any synthetic cannabinoid is a class D felony.

  3.  The offense of possession of more than ten grams but thirty-five grams or less of marijuana or any synthetic cannabinoid is a class A misdemeanor.

  4.  The offense of possession of not more than ten grams of marijuana or any synthetic cannabinoid is a class D misdemeanor.  If the defendant has previously been found guilty of any offense of the laws related to controlled substances of this state, or of the United States, or any state, territory, or district, the offense is a class A misdemeanor.  Prior findings of guilt shall be pleaded and proven in the same manner as required by section 558.021.

  5.  In any complaint, information, or indictment, and in any action or proceeding brought for the enforcement of any provision of this chapter or chapter 195, it shall not be necessary to include any exception, excuse, proviso, or exemption contained in this chapter or chapter 195, and the burden of proof of any such exception, excuse, proviso or exemption shall be upon the defendant.

DELIVERY OF A CONTROLLED SUBSTANCE

579.020.  Delivery of a controlled substance — penalties. —

1.  A person commits the offense of delivery of a controlled substance if, except as authorized in this chapter or chapter 195, he or she:

  (1)  Knowingly distributes or delivers a controlled substance;

  (2)  Attempts to distribute or deliver a controlled substance;

  (3)  Knowingly possesses a controlled substance with the intent to distribute or deliver any amount of a controlled substance; or

  (4)  Knowingly permits a minor to purchase or transport illegally obtained controlled substances.

  2.  Except when the controlled substance is thirty-five grams or less of marijuana or synthetic cannabinoid or as otherwise provided under subsection 5 of this section, the offense of delivery of a controlled substance is a class C felony.

  3.  Except as otherwise provided under subsection 4 of this section, the offense of delivery of thirty-five grams or less of marijuana or synthetic cannabinoid is a class E felony.

  4.  The offense of delivery of thirty-five grams or less of marijuana or synthetic cannabinoid to a person less than seventeen years of age who is at least two years younger than the defendant is a class C felony.

  5.  The offense of delivery of a controlled substance is a class B felony if:

  (1)  The delivery or distribution is any amount of a controlled substance except thirty-five grams or less of marijuana or synthetic cannabinoid, to a person less than seventeen years of age who is at least two years younger than the defendant; or

  (2)  The person knowingly permits a minor to purchase or transport illegally obtained controlled substances.

DRUG POSSESSION WITH INTENT

 579.099.  Inducing, or possession with intent to induce, symptoms by use of certain solvents and other substances, prohibited.

1.  As used in this section, “alcohol beverage vaporizer” means any device which, by means of heat, a vibrating element, or any other method, is capable of producing a breathable mixture containing one or more alcoholic beverages to be dispensed for inhalation into the lungs via the nose or mouth or both.

  2.  No person shall intentionally or willfully induce the symptoms of intoxication, elation, euphoria, dizziness, excitement, irrational behavior, exhilaration, paralysis, stupefaction, or dulling of the senses or nervous system, distortion of audio, visual or mental processes by the use or abuse of any of the following substances:

  (1)  Solvents, particularly toluol;

  (2)  Ethyl alcohol;

  (3)  Amyl nitrite and its iso-analogues;

  (4)  Butyl nitrite and its iso-analogues;

  (5)  Cyclohexyl nitrite and its iso-analogues;

  (6)  Ethyl nitrite and its iso-analogues;

  (7)  Pentyl nitrite and its iso-analogues; and

  (8)  Propyl nitrite and its iso-analogues.

  3.  This section shall not apply to substances that have been approved by the United States Food and Drug Administration as therapeutic drug products or are contained in approved over-the-counter drug products or administered lawfully pursuant to the order of an authorized medical practitioner.

  4.  No person shall intentionally possess any solvent, particularly toluol, amyl nitrite, butyl nitrite, cyclohexyl nitrite, ethyl nitrite, pentyl nitrite, and propyl nitrite and their iso-analogues for the purpose of using it in the manner prohibited by section 579.097 and this section.

  5.  No person shall possess or use an alcoholic beverage vaporizer.

  6.  Nothing in this section shall be construed to prohibit the legal consumption of intoxicating liquor, as defined by section 311.020, or nonintoxicating beer.

DRUG POSSESSION

579.015.  Possession or control of a controlled substance — penalty. —

1.  A person commits the offense of possession of a controlled substance if he or she knowingly possesses a controlled substance, except as authorized by this chapter or chapter 195.

  2.  The offense of possession of any controlled substance except thirty-five grams or less of marijuana or any synthetic cannabinoid is a class D felony.

  3.  The offense of possession of more than ten grams but thirty-five grams or less of marijuana or any synthetic cannabinoid is a class A misdemeanor.

  4.  The offense of possession of not more than ten grams of marijuana or any synthetic cannabinoid is a class D misdemeanor.  If the defendant has previously been found guilty of any offense of the laws related to controlled substances of this state, or of the United States, or any state, territory, or district, the offense is a class A misdemeanor.  Prior findings of guilt shall be pleaded and proven in the same manner as required by section 558.021.

  5.  In any complaint, information, or indictment, and in any action or proceeding brought for the enforcement of any provision of this chapter or chapter 195, it shall not be necessary to include any exception, excuse, proviso, or exemption contained in this chapter or chapter 195, and the burden of proof of any such exception, excuse, proviso or exemption shall be upon the defendant.

PENALTY OF CONVICTION

Penalties on drug related charges can vary greatly.

Contact us today for a consultation.



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