Possession of a Controlled Substance in Missouri: A Closer Look

Kimberly2 1 Author:

Kimberly J. Benjamin, Founder & Managing Attorney

Missouri has relatively strict laws regarding the possession of controlled substances. You could face a misdemeanor or felony charge for drug possession, although recent reforms have decriminalized small amounts of marijuana and granted people access to medical marijuana. 

Beyond that, you should strongly consider getting legal advice if you have been accused of possessing marijuana above 35 grams, cocaine, heroin, methamphetamine, LSD, PCP, or prescription pills, like narcotic painkillers or stimulants.

 

Possession Misdemeanors

Authorities will charge you with a Class A misdemeanor if police report that you had between 10 and 35 grams of marijuana in your possession. Sentencing guidelines authorize up to 1 year in jail and a fine of up to $2,000 for a Class A misdemeanor.

You may have heard that the state decriminalized marijuana possession for amounts under 10 grams. This is true, but it only means that jail time is off the table. A conviction will still place a Class D misdemeanor on your record, and you must pay a fine of up to $500. However, watch out if you have a criminal record. A prior drug-related conviction will elevate your possession charge of under 10 grams to a Class A misdemeanor.

 

Possession Felonies

Aside from some marijuana exceptions, Missouri labels possession of any amount of a controlled substance as a Class D felony. A conviction for a Class D felony could result in up to 7 years in prison. However, the prison sentence could be much shorter or replaced by alternatives like a drug treatment program and probation.

Criminal defense attorneys strive to obtain lenient sentences for people in this position. Many issues could influence a judge’s opinion about how harsh a sentence should be, such as your age and lack of a prior criminal history.

 

Meth Precursors Are Controlled Substances Too

The term controlled substances make you think of common street drugs, like cocaine, methamphetamine, or heroin. The ingredients used to manufacture methamphetamine or crystal meth, are controlled substances too. These are known as meth precursors, and Missouri law specifically calls their possession a Class E felony.

To be convicted for possessing meth precursors, the prosecution must show that you intended to make methamphetamine and did not have the chemicals as part of a legitimate business. If the police report shows that you had over 24 grams of ephedrine or pseudoephedrine, then the law considers it a clear sign of illegal activity.

 

Good Samaritan Laws

The state recognizes that people who possess controlled substances might be in a position to call for help when somebody overdoses. In the interest of saving lives, Missouri’s Good Samaritan law grants some immunity from possession charges if you must summon medical help for an overdose victim or yourself. If an overdose emergency puts you in contact with law enforcement who then charged you with possession, you should ask a lawyer if your drug charge is allowed.

 

Find Out Your Criminal Defense Options

You might feel like you have to plead guilty to a drug possession charge. However, entering a guilty plea without the benefit of legal advice could deprive you of the opportunity to defend yourself. Faulty drug field testing devices, unlawful searches, or overzealous prosecution are all subject to legal challenges.

Reach out to the Missouri DWI & Criminal Law Center today if you or a loved one is facing a drug possession charge. Our experienced and reliable legal team is dedicated to protecting your rights. We will assess your case and create a legal defense strategy just for you. Call now. (816) 322-8008

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