St. Louis Area Drug Crimes Lawyer
Drug crimes are serious offenses in Missouri. A possible jail sentence and a criminal record may only be the beginning of your troubles. A drug crime conviction can have a negative impact on your employment, finances and personal life. Therefore, it is important to have an experienced attorney who will fight for you.
Chapter 195 of the Missouri Revised Statutes outlines the rules and regulations surrounding the use and misuse of controlled substances in the state of Missouri. This chapter is vast and frequently changing. In January 2017, the Missouri legislature has planned significant changes for many of the criminal offenses described in this chapter. What may have been legal a few years ago is now illegal (or soon will become illegal) and vice versa. Since ignorance of the law is NOT a legal defense in drug crimes, the importance of having a veteran criminal defense lawyer on your side is vital.
The 195 chapter (governing drug crimes) is also confusing and counterintuitive at times. For example, many people don’t know that carrying prescription pills outside of their marked prescription bottle is a crime (RsMo 195.110) and one that may cause someone without any criminal history to be arrested and even jailed. Another example, simple possession of a controlled substance (other than marijuana) may be charged up as a FELONY in the state of Missouri regardless of the amount of that substance. In other words, possession of 0.04 grams of heroin is nearly always treated as a Class D felony and a Class D felony could get someone up to 7 years in prison.
The most common drug-related crimes/laws in Missouri:
- 195.110: Possession of a Controlled Substance outside its proper container
- 195.202: Possession of Controlled Substance
- 195.204: Fraudulently attempting to obtain a Controlled Substance
- 195.211: Distribution, delivery, manufacture or production of a Controlled Substance
- 195.212: Unlawful distribution to a minor
- 195.214: Distribution of a Controlled Substance near schools
- 195.217: Distribution of a Controlled Substance near a park
- 195.218: Distribution of a Controlled Substance near public housing
- 195.222: Trafficking of Drugs-1st Degree
- 195.223: Trafficking of Drugs-2nd Degree
- 195.233: Unlawful use of drug paraphernalia
- 195.241: Possession of an imitation Controlled Substance
- 195.242: Delivery or manufacture of an imitation Controlled Substance
- 195.246: Possession of ephedrine
- 195.275: Prior and Persistent Drug Offender enhancement statute
Possession of a Controlled Substance
Possession of a controlled substance is one of the most common offenses charged by any local prosecuting attorney’s office. RSMo. S 195.022 makes it illegal to possess any controlled substance without a valid prescription. The basic rule follows; with the exception of less than 35 grams of marijuana (or a little over an ounce), in the state of Missouri: ANY possession of ANY controlled substance is considered a FELONY. In other words, most people know that you are subject to arrest and jail if you are found in possession of obvious contraband such as heroin, meth or cocaine. However, possessing 1 Xanax pill borrowed from your mother to help you sleep is considered a violation of the exact same statute.
To be convicted of a possession of a controlled substance charge under RSMo S 195.022, the prosecution must prove that:
- You unlawfully possessed a controlled substance;
- You knew of its presence;
- You knew of the substance’s nature or character as a controlled substance; and
- There was a useable amount of the controlled substance.
Jill Schaefer L.L.C. has 18 years’ experience defending people accused of drug crimes. We will protect your rights and make sure your voice is heard in the courtroom.
When substance abuse treatment is needed or court-ordered, our law firm will help you find the program that is right for you. We have a wealth of knowledge concerning all of the private and publicly-funded programs in our surrounding area. We are happy to send you an informational packet concerning your many treatment options upon request. Contact us today if you or a loved one has been charged with a drug crime. 314-862-7277 or 314-602-0826.