An encounter with the police in Missouri can result in you being arrested and facing a drug possession charge. When this happens, you’ll likely have questions and be unsure of what to do. The main rule of thumb is to avoid saying or doing anything before you speak to an attorney.
Then, as soon as possible, retain the services of a skilled criminal defense lawyer. During your consultation, you can learn about:
- The exact nature of your drug possession charges
- Potential defense strategies that may work for you
- The potential benefits of a plea deal
Contact Missouri DWI & Criminal Law Center at the Benjamin Law Firm, LLC to learn your options.
Know Missouri Drug Possession Laws
Prosecution for felony charges depends on the actual drug that was allegedly in your possession. In recent years, Missouri voters approved medical marijuana for people with certain health conditions. Recreational marijuana, however, remains against the law.
Small quantities of marijuana weighing 10 grams or less expose you to a criminal misdemeanor and a fine. Even so, since it would leave you with a criminal record, you should explore the possibilities of fighting a misdemeanor conviction with an attorney.
Larger quantities of marijuana, over 35 grams, receive a felony charge. The penalties could include up to 7 years in prison along with a $10,000 fine.
The quantity of other controlled substances in your possession will not influence your charges. Possession of any amounts of methamphetamine, fentanyl, heroin, or other non-marijuana controlled substances qualifies as a class C felony. If convicted, you could go to prison for seven years and be fined up to $10,000.
Learn Defense Strategies
A criminal defense lawyer can review the evidence cited against you and explain your options. Ideally, your lawyer will find problems with the case that can be used to convince a prosecutor to drop your charges.
Your lawyer may bring attention to an unlawful search and seizure. If the police violated your rights, this tactic might benefit your case. If the drugs were not actually on your person, then your lawyer might question the conclusion that you even possessed the drugs.
Your lawyer may also demand confirmation that the substance in your possession was what police allege. Some controlled substances require laboratory analysis to prove what they are. In this situation, your lawyer could challenge a field test or lab report and shield you from prosecution.
Consider a Plea Deal
A Kansas City drug lawyer could improve your position when negotiating a plea deal. Instead of merely accepting a plea offer from a prosecutor, you can get an informed opinion from your lawyer to determine whether it’s a good deal.
A counteroffer by your lawyer could help you avoid prison time. For example, Missouri Drug Court is a prison alternative that connects people with substance abuse counseling. A lawyer could help you request access to this program when you cannot disprove drug possession.
Can a drug possession charge be expunged from your record in Missouri?
In Missouri, the possibility of expunging a drug possession charge from your record largely depends on the specifics of the case and how it was resolved within the criminal justice system. Under Missouri law, certain drug crimes, including possession of a controlled substance, may be eligible for expungement. However, the criteria for expungement can be stringent.
For instance, if you were charged with a Class D misdemeanor for marijuana possession, you might be eligible for expungement after a certain period, often up to seven years, has passed without any additional drug charges. On the other hand, more serious charges like a Class B felony or Class D felony for possession of a controlled substance in Missouri may be more challenging to expunge.
Drug court and drug treatment programs can sometimes offer a pathway to expungement. Completing these programs successfully could make you eligible to have the charge removed from your record. It’s crucial to consult an experienced criminal defense attorney to navigate the complexities of drug convictions, from actual or constructive possession to prescription drugs.
In summary, while expunging a drug crime from your record in Missouri is challenging, it’s not impossible. The type of drug, the classification of the crime, and your subsequent behavior all play a role in determining eligibility for expungement.
Don’t Assume the Worst
The distress of being accused of drug possession might make you feel like everything is out of your hands. Remember your rights. When you seek legal representation, your rights become central to your case rather than merely the allegations against you. Contact a Kansas City attorney today for expert advice and advocacy.