Missouri Drug Laws
Missouri Drug Laws.
Kimberly J. Benjamin, Founder & Managing Attorney
Published: December 6. 2019.
Updated: December 6. 2019.
Drug Court Missouri
Many people who are convicted of drug crimes are suffering from serious substance abuse issues. Sending these offenders to prison or jail is not nearly as effective as treating the underlying substance abuse problem. Fortunately, certain non-violent drug offenders in Missouri are given the opportunity to avoid incarceration by participating in a specialized drug court program. Here’s how drug courts work:
Who is Admitted Into the Drug Court Program?
A defendant cannot enter the drug court program unless a prosecutor has referred him. The defendant will then enter a screening process to determine eligibility. This program is only available to adults with substance abuse problems that are facing non-violent felony charges.
What Should Defendants Expect During the Drug Court Program?
Defendants who are accepted must comply with a number of rules while in the drug court program. Throughout the program, participants must undergo substance abuse treatment and counseling. Participants are also expected to comply with random drug test requests and maintain employment or stay in school. In addition, they are required to make frequent court appearances to update the judge on their progress in the program.
Each defendant is closely supervised throughout the course of the program. This ensures that each defendant is getting the individualized help he needs to overcome his substance abuse issues and meet his personal goals.
How Long is the Program?
The drug court program consists of different phases. Defendants must complete all requirements in one phase prior to moving onto the next, so the exact length of time that it takes to make it through the program varies on a case-by-case basis. However, the law states that defendants must stay in the program for at least one year and complete it within two years.
What Happens After the Program is Completed?
If a defendant makes it through the drug court program, the criminal charges that were filed against him will be dismissed. This means the defendant will get to move forward in his life without a criminal conviction on his record. But, if the defendant fails to comply with the terms of the program, the judge can terminate his enrollment and impose other legal penalties.
Drug court has been extremely successful in reducing crime and helping offenders beat their addictions. In fact, it has been reported that drug courts are more effective in reducing crime than jail, prison, probation, and other sentencing options.
Missouri Drug Paraphernalia Laws
Mo. Rev. Stat. § 579.074 provides that individuals commit the offense of unlawful possession of drug paraphernalia when they knowingly use or intend to use drug paraphernalia for the purposes of creating or introducing a controlled substance or an imitation controlled substance into the body.
Possession of drug paraphernalia is a low-level drug charge that normally does not carry the possibility of jail time. The offense is a Class D misdemeanor under Missouri law, for which you can be required to pay a $500 fine. You also will have a drug-related criminal conviction on your record that will show up during criminal background checks.
However, unlawful possession of drug paraphernalia charge increases to a Class A misdemeanor for anyone who has had a previous conviction for any drug-related offense, either in Missouri or in another state. Furthermore, it is a Class E felony if the person uses or possesses with intent to use the paraphernalia to manufacture or otherwise prepare amphetamine, methamphetamine, or any of their analogs.
A Class A misdemeanor can result in a jail sentence of up to one year and a fine of up to $2,000. A conviction on a Class E felony, however, can result in a prison sentence of up to four years.
Furthermore, Mo. Rev. Stat. § 579.076 establishes the offense of unlawful manufacture of drug paraphernalia. This offense occurs when a person unlawfully manufactures drug paraphernalia with intent to deliver when he or she knows or reasonably should know that it will be used to create or introduce a controlled substance or an imitation controlled substance in someone’s body. This offense is also a Class A misdemeanor unless it is done for commercial purposes, in which case it is a Class E felony. All drug-related criminal offenses can result in serious consequences.
Class C Felony Missouri Possession Controlled Substance
Missouri is known for having some of the toughest drug laws in the country. This is especially true of Missouri’s drug possession laws, which are stricter than those in many other states. No one should take drug possession charges lightly-even first-time offenders. Here’s an overview of the penalties that may be imposed on first-time offenders who are convicted of drug possession in Missouri:
Marijuana vs. Other Controlled Substances
The severity of the penalties that first-time offenders face will vary depending on the type of controlled substance in their possession. Most drug possession charges are classified as a class D felony. However, the laws regarding the possession of marijuana are different. Having less than 35 grams of marijuana or synthetic cannabinoids in your possession is a misdemeanor in Missouri. But, the possession of more than 35 grams of marijuana is a class D felony. This means all drug possession charges are class D felonies with the exception of possession of 35 grams or less of marijuana or synthetic cannabinoids.
Penalties For Drug Possession
First-time offenders will not face jail time for having 10 grams or less of marijuana in their possession, however, they will face up to $500 in fines. Jail time is a possibility for first-time offenders who have between 10-35 grams of marijuana in their possession. First-time offenders in this situation can face up to one year behind bars in addition to $2,000 in fines.
The penalties are far more serious for first-time offenders charged with possession of more than 35 grams of marijuana or possession of any other controlled substance. These are class C felony crimes, so incarceration is a very real possibility. The maximum sentence for a class C felony is seven years in prison, but fortunately, first-time offenders typically do not receive the maximum sentence.
Treatment vs. Incarceration
Many first-time offenders are given the opportunity to complete a drug treatment program that allows them to avoid incarceration altogether. This program is only available to non-violent offenders who have been charged with a felony drug crime or have a drug problem which caused them to be charged with a non-violent felony crime. During the program, first-time offenders must submit to random drug testing, attend counseling, participate in vocational programs, and make all scheduled court appearances. Offenders who make it through the entire program without violating any of the rules will not spend time behind bars.
This is the preferred sentence for offenders since it does not involve prison time. However, there’s no guarantee that the court will allow you to enter this program if you are charged with drug possession.
If you have been charged with drug possession, seek legal representation from an experienced criminal defense attorney at once. The skilled attorneys at The Missouri DWI & Criminal Law Center are committed to helping the accused protect their rights and their freedom. Contact us to schedule a free consultation today.
If you have been drinking, use our "Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) Calculator"to estimate your Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) before you drive, but please keep in mind that the information it provides is just an estimate and may not be inaccurate.