Missouri Criminal Drug Charges
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Drug charges affect all members of society. No matter how wealthy a person may be or how respected they may be in their profession, people still struggle with drug and alcohol problems. The criminal court will get involved if a person is found in possession of a controlled substance and they will be charged with a serious crime regardless of their station in life. Drug charges can impact anyone, and a St. Louis drug charges attorney can help fight these serious charges.
Possession of a Controlled Substance
Controlled substances are tightly regulated in Missouri and simple possession can lead to serious penalties. Possession of a Controlled Substance, R.S.Mo. 195.020, makes any possession of a controlled substance (except for under 35 grams of marijuana or synthetic cannabinoid) a Class C felony. This means that if you are caught with a drug, be it an illicit drug or a prescription drug that you do not have a prescription for, you will face a felony charge. This can include:
Drug cases, although felonies, are frequently treated as less serious than other crimes depending on the particular facts of the case and any prior convictions. As a result, there are often other options than a conviction or jail.
Possession of a controlled substance charges are the most common form of drug charges and include possession of an illegal drug or a prescription drug without a prescription. Depending on the substance and the amount found, a person may face a felony charge just for simple possession. There is a range of possible outcomes in drug cases including probation and drug court. Jail is not a certainty.
Drug trafficking charges are more serious and require an experienced criminal defense lawyer. These charges involve distribution of a controlled substance and the penalties for it are some of the most serious a suspect can face. Depending on the amount of illegal drugs found and the type of drugs, a person can potentially face a Class A felony which can result in life in prison. This significant threat to your liberty necessitates an attorney familiar with these crimes and who knows how to aggressively fight them.
- Trafficking First Degree
- Trafficking Second Degree
Police can sometimes cut corners or bend the law when searching for drugs. If you were illegally searched and the police found a controlled substance on you, it may be possible to get that evidence suppressed. By holding police to the highest standard possible and making sure they completely follow the law, you can be sure your rights are upheld and that the police are held accountable. This can be the difference between charges being dropped versus spending years behind bars. An experienced St. Louis criminal defense attorney will know exactly what to look for when investigating police conduct.
Trafficking in the First Degree
Trafficking in the First Degree, R.S.Mo. 195.222, is the most serious drug charge a person can face. This is a Class A felony, meaning that it could potentially lead to life in prison. If you have been charged with first degree drug trafficking, it is imperative that you contact a St. Louis criminal defense lawyer immediately.
Trafficking can occur if a person “distributes, delivers, manufactures, produces or attempts to distribute, deliver, manufacture or produce” any of the following:
- Controlled substance
- Chemicals needed to manufacture a controlled substance
The penalty a person faces will depend on the amount of the illicit substance they had and what type of substance it was. For a controlled substance (such as cocaine or PCP), generally a person will face this charge if they have 30 grams or more. If they have between 30-90 grams, it will be a Class A felony. More than 90 grams will result in a Class A felony without the possibility of parole.
For chemicals needed to make drugs, generally it is 150 grams or more to be charged with a Class A felony. If it is between 150 grams and 450 grams it will have the possibility of parole, whereas more than 450 grams will not. Because the law is very specific about amounts of drugs or substance and the penalties faced, a St. Louis criminal defense attorney will have to look at your specific charges before advising you on potential penalties.
Drug Trafficking in the Second Degree
Trafficking the Second Degree, R.S.Mo.195.223, charges people who attempt to buy or sell large amounts of drugs, or who have large amounts of drugs in their possession. While this person may not be manufacturing the drugs, they are buying or selling (or have in their possession) large quantities of drugs or chemicals needed to manufacture drugs. This is Class B felony in most cases, but can be upgraded to a Class A felony depending on the amount. If you have been charged with this crime, contact a St. Louis criminal defense attorney right away.
Second degree trafficking is a Class B felony if a person has in their possession or attempts to buy or sell more than 30 grams of a given drug. If it is between 30 and 90 grams, the person will face a Class B felony. If it is more than 90 grams, it will be a Class A felony. If a person has chemicals needed for drug manufacturing and has an amount between 150-450 grams, it will be a Class B felony. For more than 450 grams, it is a Class A felony.
This means, for instance, that a person with 200 grams of heroin would be charged with a Class A felony, regardless of whether they were attempting to buy or sell the drug. Simply having that amount in their possession would expose them to potential life imprisonment. Being charged with trafficking in the second degree in Missouri is extremely serious and a defendant needs the help of a St. Louis criminal defense attorney.
St. Louis criminal defense attorney Richard R. Lozano has been handling drug crimes since 1994. He puts this experience to work for you, aggressively fighting any and all criminal charges you may face. He has helped clients in St. Louis City, St. Louis County, Jefferson County, St. Charles County, and Franklin County facing serious felony charges and has worked to get them the best possible outcomes for their respective cases.