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What Happens with a First Time Drug Offense in Missouri?

A drug offense in Missouri is serious as laws are particularly strict. Penalties can involve heavy fines and incarceration. In most cases, first-time offenders are treated more leniently than repeat drug offenders but penalties will depend on many factors.

How Missouri Defines Drug Possession

Missouri law says that you are in “possession” anytime you knowingly control and handle a drug. Even if you are pulled over, and the police find drugs in your car that your friend put there, you are still considered “in possession.” 

How Penalties are Determined for First Time Drug Offenders

The penalties for possession for a first-time drug offense are determined based upon the type of drug in your possession.

DEA drug schedules are a critical component of any drug possession charge. Every drug is placed into one of the Schedules, and the lower the drug schedule, the higher the penalty. They include:

  1. Schedule I– Drugs that have no medical utility and are considered to have a very high risk of abuse. Examples are Heroin, cocaine, methamphetamine or crank, crack, and ecstasy
  2. Schedule II–Drugs that have a high rate of abuse and dependence but have a medical purpose and can be prescribed by a Doctor. Examples are Fentanyl and other opiates, Adderall, and Methadone
  3. Schedule III– Drugs that pose a lower risk of abuse and misuse, but have a specific medical use and can be prescribed by a Doctor. An example is a codeine with Tylenol
  4. Schedule IV– Drugs that are considered low-risk for abuse and dependence, but can still cause considerable issues for someone if they become addicted. Examples include Xanax, Tramadol, Valium, and Darvon
  5. Schedule V–Drugs that have minimal quantities of narcotics in their chemical makeup. Examples are drugs like Robitussin AC and Lyrica

Marijuana Possession is Treated Differently

Marijuana possession is treated differently than other types of drugs. Missouri was the 19th state to decriminalize marijuana possession. The law took effect in January 2017. Under the new law: 

  • If you are caught with up to ten grams of marijuana in your possession, it is considered a Class D misdemeanor. You can be fined up to $500.00 for first-time possession, but you would not face jail time.
  • Between ten and thirty-five grams of marijuana in your possession constitutes a class A misdemeanor. You can receive a sentence of up to one year in jail and be fined $2,000.
  • In excess of 35 grams of marijuana in your possession in Missouri is considered a Class C felony. You could spend a maximum of up to seven years in prison and be fined up to $10,000.00.

Alternatives to Incarceration

Some first-time offenders can complete a drug treatment program or a probationary period in place of incarceration as long as they have not been charged with a violent felony drug crime. The individual will be required to submit to random drug tests, attend counseling, attend a vocational program and appear at all scheduled court appearances.

Should you be charged with drug possession, seek the advice of an experienced criminal defense attorney in Missouri to achieve the best outcome.

For more information or to schedule a consultation with us, call (417) 865-2181. Our office is located in Springfield. Call Dean Price Law today.

NOTE: This is for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice.