Drug Possession Defense
One of the cornerstones of the U.S. criminal justice system is that every person who is accused of a crime should be considered innocent until proven guilty in a court of law. It often seems as though this tenet is overlooked and anyone even suspected of a crime is perceived negatively, regardless of the evidence. That’s especially true where accusations of illicit drugs are involved, which results in over 1.5 million arrests each year. In 2014 alone, 83 percent of drug law violation arrests were for possession of a controlled substance (as opposed to sale or manufacture). Marijuana accounted for 40 percent of possession arrests, followed by other dangerous non-narcotic drugs, heroin, cocaine, and derivatives, and synthetic drugs.
Being charged with a criminal offense can leave you feeling afraid and unsure of what to do, especially if you might also be battling substance abuse or addiction issues. The drug possession defense attorneys at McNeely Stephenson understand what you’re going through because we have helped other people who have been where you are now. Based in New Albany, Indiana, the criminal defense attorneys at McNeely Stephenson represent clients accused of drug possession violations in Kentuckiana; Floyd County, IN; and Clark County, IN. Whether you are only a suspect or you have been formally charged, consulting with an attorney can help protect your rights. Don’t risk your future and your freedom. Whatever the situation, talk to us and find out how we can help you. Call 812-725-8224 or fill out our online form.
It is not necessary that you have drugs in your pocket in order to be charged with possession. They simply have to be in your custody and under your control. Under Indiana law, the penalties for drug possession are based on two criteria: what the controlled substance was and how much of it there was. The Controlled Substances Act groups drugs together under schedules based on how addictive they are. Schedule I drugs are considered to be the most dangerous, have the highest risk of dependency, and have no legitimate medical use. From there, the classifications get less serious. The last category is Schedule V, which are those drugs that have a very low risk of dependency. While there have been repeated requests to remove cannabis from its current Schedule I placement, as of August 2016, the Drug Enforcement Administration has refused to downgrade the classification. Other Schedule I drugs include LSD and heroin, while cocaine and methamphetamines are labeled as Schedule II.
In general, being found in possession of less than five grams of a controlled substance makes the offense a Level 6 felony, which carries a potential sentence of between six months to 2 ½ years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000. The amount of time that can be imposed increases as the gram amount goes up as well as when certain enhancements are present such as if the possession took place within 1,000 feet of a school, park, recreation center, or playground. Marijuana is treated differently. A person who is apprehended with marijuana will likely face a Class B misdemeanor charge with potential penalties of up to 180 days in jail and a fine of up to $5,000. If the person has a prior conviction for a drug offense and is found with less than 30 grams of marijuana, it is a Class A misdemeanor, which carries a penalty of imprisonment for a term of up to one year and a maximum $5,000 fine. A prior drug conviction plus more than 30 grams elevates the offense to a Level 6.
However, the first time a person is charged with possession of marijuana, he or she may be eligible for a conditional discharge. Potential penalties include alternatives to jail time, such as community service, drug education class, or fines. Successful completion means that the offense will not appear on the defendant’s permanent record. This will avoid later issues with employers, landlords, financial institutions, and schools that perform a criminal record check as part of their application process.
No one wants to be labeled a drug offender, and although possession charges can seem minor at first, they can rapidly evolve into major legal problems with long-lasting consequences. If you or a loved one has been accused of a crime involving drugs, it is important to contact an experienced criminal defense attorney who can guide your case through the criminal process. The Indiana drug possession defense lawyers at McNeely Stephenson acknowledge that everyone makes mistakes, but don’t believe that those bad choices should necessarily define someone’s future. Our experienced New Albany marijuana possession attorneys have the skills and knowledge needed to ensure that clients get the effective representation they deserve.
It’s important to remember that an accusation is not the same as a conviction, and there are many ways our IN drug possession defense attorneys can help. We know how the Indiana criminal justice system operates and how to use the unique circumstances of each case to develop a thorough defense strategy that takes advantage of every opportunity for case dismissal, reduction of charges, reduction of sentences, and alternatives to imprisonment. If you have been accused of or arrested for drug possession in Indiana, let us plan the aggressive defense that you will need. To get more information and explore your options, contact McNeely Stephenson today by calling 812-725-8224 or by filling out our online form. The initial consultation is free, so you have nothing to lose. Whatever the specifics of your case, we are relentless in fighting for you.