Little Rock Drug Crimes Attorney
Arkansas regulates the distribution or possession of controlled substances, and the sale or possession of controlled substances can result in criminal penalties depending on the amount and type of drugs involved. These include marijuana, cocaine, heroin, methamphetamines, ephedrine, as well as prescription medications. The amount of drugs in someone’s possession may affect whether the individual is charged with simple possession or drug trafficking. A conviction for drug trafficking carries more severe penalties than possession, and can have lifelong consequences. Let our Little Rock drug trafficking criminal lawyer at Morledge Law Firm handle it for you.
Under the Uniform Controlled Substances Act, drugs are divided up into six schedules, from Schedule I to Schedule VI. The specific drug categories have different penalties for possession. The schedules are arranged, based on their perceived danger to beneficial use ratio.
- Schedule I substances are considered the most dangerous, with a high potential for abuse, with no recognized medical use or the lack of accepted safety for used under medical supervision. This includes opiates, opium derivatives, hallucinogenic drugs, depressants and stimulants such as GHB, LSD, and heroin.
- Schedule II substances may have a currently accepted medical use, but are restricted because of their high potential for abuse. Schedule II substances include opium, cocaine, fentanyl, and methamphetamines.
- Schedule III substances have a currently accepted medical use, with less potential for abuse than Schedule I or II substances. These include ketamine, and anabolic steroids.
- Schedule IV substances have less potential for abuse than Schedule III substances, and includes Xanax and Ativan.
- Schedule V substances have a low potential for abuse, and includes products with ephedrine or pseudoephedrine, and some products with the ingredient codeine.
- Schedule VI generally includes marijuana (marihuana), and related cannabis products that contain THC. While marijuana has been legalized for recreational or medical use in many other states, it remains illegal in Arkansas.
You can find a list of the different scheduled drugs here.
Possession of a Controlled Substance
It is unlawful for a person to possess a controlled substance. Possession can be shown by actual possession, such as having drugs in your pocket, in your purse or in a backpack. It can also be shown through constructive possession, which generally means having control over the property even if it is not in actual possession. For example, a person could have constructive possession of something in your car even if you are standing outside.
Penalties for Drug Possession
The penalties for possession of a controlled substance will depend on the schedule of drug, the amount, and the defendant’s criminal history. Possession can be charged as a felony or a misdemeanor, with a Class A felony carrying between 6 and 30 years in jail, and a Class A misdemeanor penalized by up to a year in jail, with a fine of up to $2,500.
- Schedule I or II substance possession of less than 2 grams is a Class D felony. More than 2 grams but less than 10 grams is a Class C felony. From 10 grams to 200 grams is a Class B felony.
- Possession of schedule III substances is a Class A misdemeanor if it is less than 2 grams. However, possession of two to 28 grams is a Class D felony; 28 grams to 200 grams is a Class C felony; and more than 200 grams but less than 40 grams is a Class B felony.
- Less than 28 grams of a Schedule IV or V substance is a Class A misdemeanor. Possession of 28 grams to 200 grams is a Class D felony. From 200 grams to 400 grams is a Class C felony. Possession of 400 grams or more, but less than 800 grams is a Class B felony.
- Possession of less than 4 ounces of marijuana or Schedule VI substances is a Class A misdemeanor. From 4 ounces to less than 10 pounds is a Class D felony. 10 pounds to 25 pounds is a Class C felony. 25 pounds to 100 pounds is a Class B felony. Possession of 100 to 500 pounds is a Class A felony.
- Possession of an ounce to 4 ounces of marijuana with two prior drug convictions is a Class D felony.
There are additional penalties if a person is caught in possession of a controlled substance inside a criminal detention facility or juvenile detention penalty. In these cases, the crime will be bumped up to the next higher class of felony or misdemeanor.
Possession of Drug Paraphernalia
Even if no actual drugs are found, possession of marijuana paraphernalia, such as a pipe or bong, is punishable as a Class A misdemeanor. Possession of methamphetamine or cocaine paraphernalia, such as a pipe, is a Class D felony. Paraphernalia includes anything used to inject, inhale, ingest, or otherwise deliver the drug into the body.
Paraphernalia that can be used to manufacture or distribute controlled substances can carry higher penalties. Paraphernalia used to plant, cultivate, harvest, manufacture, process, test, repack, store, or conceal methamphetamines or cocaine is a Class B felony, and a Class D felony for any other controlled substance.
Defenses to Possession Charges
Many people think that if they are charged with drug possession, they don’t have a chance to win their case because it can be the word of the police officer against them. However, there are defenses available when charged with drug possession. The police have to follow the rules, and submit to search and seizure laws. If the police acted outside constitutional requirements, then the evidence searched or seized may not be admissible in court. Other defenses include disputing that the controlled substance was not in the defendant’s possession. In some cases, a valid medical prescription can be a defense to possession charges.
If you or a loved one is charged with drug possession, possession of a controlled substance, or possession of drug paraphernalia, you may not know where to turn. Birc Morledge of Morledge Law Firm in Little Rock is a qualified Arkansas criminal lawyer who can help you navigate the road ahead. He’s a highly experienced drug trafficking criminal lawyer in Arkansas who has successfully defended clients accused of drug crimes will be able to clarify the issues at hand, identify the elements required to prosecute, and defend their client in court, to get drug charges reduced or dismissed.
Trafficking and Possession With the Intent to Distribute
Whether or not the person caught in possession of drugs intended to sell them or not, they may be charged with possession with the intent to distribute. The difference between possession and possession with the intent to distribute is generally based on the amount of the controlled substance. Small amounts are usually charged as possession, while large amounts will be treated as drug trafficking.
Amounts that trigger a rebuttable presumption of the intent to deliver will depend on the type of drugs involved. In some cases, possession of only a small amount of the controlled substances may be charged as possession with the intent to distribute.
- Cocaine – one gram;
- Codeine – three hundred milligrams;
- Hashish – six grams;
- Heroin – one hundred milligrams;
- LSD – one hundred micrograms;
- Marijuana – one ounce;
- Methamphetamine – two hundred milligrams;
- Morphine – three hundred milligrams;
- Opium – three grams;
- Other depressant drugs – 20 dosages;
- Other hallucinogenic drugs – 10 dosages; and
- Other stimulant drugs – 200 milligrams.
Penalties for Possession With Intent
The penalties for possession of a controlled substance with intent to manufacture, distribute or deliver will carry higher penalties than possession for personal use. Conviction for manufacturing or delivering drugs can be treated the same as simple possession if the amount is over a certain minimum amount.
Possession with intent to deliver less than 28 grams of Schedule I or II drugs that are narcotics or methamphetamines is a felony that carries 10 to 40 years in jail, with a possible fine of up to $25,000. More than 400 grams carries the penalty of 40 years to life, and a fine of up to $250,000.
Possession with the intent to deliver other Schedule I, II or III substances can result in 5 to 40 years in jail, depending on the amount, with fines of up to $100,000. Possession with intent to distribute schedule IV, V, and VI substances, including marijuana, is also a felony, and can result in imprisonment from 4 years to 40 years, depending on the drug and the amount.
In some cases, the above penalties can be increased. This includes selling or possessing with the intent to deliver near a state park, school, bus stop, day care center, church, and even the YMCA or Boys and Girls Club. This can add 10 years of additional imprisonment. Delivering drugs to a school student, or anyone under 18, can also add 10 years to prison sentence. A subsequent conviction can double the prison sentence. Simultaneous possession of drugs and a firearm is a Class Y felony, and can mean 10 to 40 years in prison.
Drug Trafficking Defenses
Police and sheriff deputies are required to act within the constitutional requirements when it comes to search and seizure. If the police violate your constitutional rights, then the evidence searched or seized may not be admissible in court. George “Birc” Morledge, IV of Morledge Law Firm in Little Rock is your experienced Arkansas criminal lawyer who can aggressively argue that the amount of controlled substance alleged to constitute trafficking is wrong because of the way the prosecution measured the weight.
If you are charged with drug trafficking, or possession of a controlled substance with the intent to deliver, you may be facing the possibility of spending up to 40 years in prison. Just because you were arrested does not mean you have to plead guilty, no matter what the police and prosecutors say. Our criminal lawyer of Morledge Law Firm in Little Rock is a highly-skilled criminal defense attorney who can help to guide you through the difficult process ahead. He is Little Rock’s experienced defense attorney who is focused on defending people charged with drug offenses and will help to clarify the issues you are facing, identify the elements required to prosecute, and present the best defense in court.