Missouri is known for having some of the toughest drug laws in the country. This is especially true of Missouri’s drug possession laws, which are stricter than those in many other states. No one should take drug possession charges lightly–even first-time offenders. Here’s an overview of the penalties that may be imposed on first-time offenders who are convicted of drug possession in Missouri:
Marijuana vs. Other Controlled Substances
The severity of the penalties that first-time offenders face will vary depending on the type of controlled substance in their possession. Most drug possession charges are classified as class D felonies. However, the laws regarding the possession of marijuana are different. Having less than 35 grams of marijuana or synthetic cannabinoids in your possession is a misdemeanor in Missouri. But, the possession of more than 35 grams of marijuana is a class D felony. This means all drug possession charges are class D felonies with the exception of possession of 35 grams or less of marijuana or synthetic cannabinoids.
Penalties For Drug Possession
First-time offenders will not face jail time for having 10 grams or less of marijuana in their possession, however they will face up to $500 in fines. Jail time is a possibility for first-time offenders who have between 10-35 grams of marijuana in their possession. First-time offenders in this situation can face up to one year behind bars in addition to $2,000 in fines.
The penalties are far more serious for first-time offenders charged with possession of more than 35 grams of marijuana or possession of any other controlled substance. These are class C felony crimes, so incarceration is a very real possibility. The maximum sentence for a class C felony is seven years in prison, but fortunately, first-time offenders typically do not receive the maximum sentence.
Treatment vs. Incarceration
Many first-time offenders are given the opportunity to complete a drug treatment program that allows them to avoid incarceration altogether. This program is only available to non-violent offenders who have been charged with a felony drug crime or have a drug problem which caused them to be charged with a non-violent felony crime. During the program, first-time offenders must submit to random drug testing, attend counseling, participate in vocational programs, and make all scheduled court appearances. Offenders who make it through the entire program without violating any of the rules will not spend time behind bars.
This is the preferred sentence for offenders since it does not involve prison time. However, there’s no guarantee that the court will allow you to enter this program if you are charged of drug possession.
If you have been charged with drug possession, seek legal representation from an experienced criminal defense attorney at once. The skilled attorneys at The Missouri DWI & Criminal Law Center at the Benjamin Law Firm, LLC are committed to helping the accused protect their rights and their freedom. Call our office at 816-322-8008, email us at email@example.com or fill out our confidential online form to schedule a free consultation today.