Are You Facing A Criminal Drug Charge?

A drug crime conviction in Missouri may be penalized with a jail or prison term and a costly fine. A drug conviction creates a criminal record that can follow you for years. If you’re charged with a drug crime in this state, contact a Jefferson County drug crimes attorney immediately.

Illegal drug charges have serious implications. Even a misdemeanor conviction creates a criminal record that will follow you for years and make it difficult for you to find employment, locate housing, attend particular colleges, or obtain a loan or public assistance.

How is illegal drug possession penalized in Missouri? What constitutes intent to distribute illegal drugs, and how will a Jefferson County drug crimes lawyer defend you if you are charged with a drug crime?

How Are Illegal Drug Possession Cases Handled?

If you’re convicted of illegal drug possession in Missouri, the penalties you receive for that conviction will depend on the answers to these questions:

  1.  Did you intend to sell the drugs, or were the drugs for your personal use?
  2.  What quantity of the drug was involved?
  3.  How dangerous is the specific drug you were convicted of possessing?
  4.  Are you a habitual drug user or a “persistent” offender?
  5.  When you were arrested, were you on probation or parole?

How is Illegal Drug Possession Penalized?

Generally speaking, the possession of any amount of any controlled substance other than marijuana is prosecuted by the State of Missouri as a Class D felony punishable upon conviction with a lengthy prison sentence, even for a first offense.

A second or subsequent possession charge may be prosecuted as a Class C felony punishable on conviction with an even lengthier prison term. Exact penalties for drug convictions also depend on whether the crime involved any aggravating or mitigating circumstances.

What is Intent to Distribute?

In Missouri, possessing illegal drugs that you intend “to distribute or deliver” is prosecuted as a Class C felony. What indicates that someone has the intent to distribute an illegal drug? Usually, the police and prosecutors identify an intention to distribute by using circumstantial evidence.

If the amount of the drug is enough for a reasonable person to believe that it was too much for one person’s personal use, the charge will be intent to distribute. Circumstantial evidence such as plastic bags, twist-ties, or scales may be used to support an intent to distribute charge.

How is Intent to Distribute Penalized?

Drug trafficking penalties in this state depend on the drug, the quantity involved, whether the crime involved aggravating or mitigating circumstances, and whether the defendant has prior convictions.

Selling illegal drugs or possessing those drugs with an intent to distribute is typically charged as a Class B felony that may be penalized upon conviction with a five-to-fifteen-year prison sentence.

However, trafficking even a single gram of LSD, or trafficking thirty grams or more of heroin, cocaine, or methamphetamine is a Class A felony that, in some cases, could send a convicted offender to prison for life.

How Are Subsequent Drug Convictions Penalized?

When a defendant who is charged with a drug crime has a previous felony conviction in Missouri, that defendant is classified as a “prior” offender. A defendant who has two or more previous felony convictions is classified as a “persistent” offender.

A persistent offender’s sentence for a drug crime conviction may be increased to the sentence for the next highest felony level. For instance, a persistent offender who has been convicted of a Class B felony may be sentenced as if he or she had been convicted of a Class A felony.

Are There Additional Consequences for a Drug Crime Conviction?

Along with a costly fine and a prison or jail sentence, a drug crime conviction may also entail “extra-legal” consequences. A conviction for a drug crime may disqualify someone from particular jobs, college scholarships, public benefits, or firearms ownership.

If you are not a United States citizen, a drug crime conviction could trigger a removal hearing. If you have a professional license, a conviction for a drug crime could prompt the revocation or suspension of that license.

Can Drug Crime Convictions Be Expunged?

Any criminal conviction in Missouri can make it difficult for a convicted offender to find employment and housing. However, after enough time, and if you meet the requirements, a drug crime conviction can be expunged from your record.

A Jefferson County drug crimes attorney can guide you through the expungement process.

If you meet the requirements, a misdemeanor conviction may be expunged from your record three years after your sentence has been completed, and a felony drug crime conviction may be expunged from your record seven years after your sentence has been completed.

What About Marijuana in Missouri?

For adults who are 21 and older, the possession of marijuana became legal in Missouri in December 2022. It remains illegal to sell, cultivate, or distribute marijuana without the proper permits and licenses. Distributing or selling marijuana to minors also remains against the law.

Adults who are 21 years old or older may possess up to three ounces of marijuana, and adults may grow up to six mature marijuana plants if they apply for and are approved for a noncommercial cultivation registration permit.

Marijuana consumption in any public location remains illegal. Consumption is allowed only in private residences, and renters may consume marijuana in a residence only with the consent of the property owner.

How Will an Attorney Defend You Against A Drug Charge?

If you are charged with a drug crime in Missouri, your defense attorney will seek answers to these questions:

  1.  Have you been accused of possessing another person’s illegal drugs?
  2.  Were you properly charged or overcharged for the offense?
  3.  Were your constitutional rights violated by law enforcement officers?

Your Jefferson County drug crimes lawyer will file a motion to have any evidence tossed out of court if that evidence was obtained by violating your rights. If key evidence against you is suppressed, the charge against you could be reduced or the case could be dismissed by the court.

Grafe & Batchelor Will Fight for the Justice You Need

If you are charged with a drug crime in Missouri – sale, possession, trafficking, cultivation, or a combination of charges – contact a Missouri criminal defense attorney at Grafe & Batchelor as quickly as possible.

With more than thirty years of combined criminal defense experience, the attorneys at Grafe & Batchelor effectively defend clients who have been charged with drug crimes in Jefferson County, St. Francois County, Washington County, and throughout the State of Missouri.

If you are charged with intent to distribute or with possession, call Grafe & Batchelor promptly at 636-220-5934. Grafe & Batchelor’s legal team will provide a no-obligation, no-cost evaluation of your case, and if you become our client, we will fight aggressively for the justice you need.