Possessing, selling, or manufacturing illicit drugs is clearly illegal, but did you know that it is also illegal to purchase certain combinations of legal chemicals? The laws relating to drug crimes are complex, ranging from obvious crimes, related to the possession of marijuana; LSD; MDMA (ecstasy); heroin; crack; cocaine; and methamphetamine, to less obvious crimes, such as intent to manufacture, which is the charge that can be applied to individuals who have purchased the wrong combination of chemicals. Things are further compounded by the interplay of local, state, and federal laws.
The charge of possession of a controlled substance indicates that the accused intentionally possessed a controlled substance without a valid prescription. The controlled substance must be in a sufficient quantity for sale or personal usage. The accused does not have to physically possess the controlled substance, they just need to knowingly have access to the drugs; this is known as constructive possession of a controlled substance.
Trafficking drugs covers the sale, transport, manufacture, and distribution of controlled substances. Drug sale and transport are straight forward charges; however, drug manufacturing and distribution can be more complex. An individual can be charged with intent to manufacture controlled substances when they purchase specific items, drug precursors, in a sufficient quantity to manufacture a controlled substance. The charge of possession with intent to distribute indicates that an individual possessed a large quantity of a controlled substance or possessed both drugs and paraphernalia associated with the distribution of controlled substances.
Possession of Drug Paraphernalia
Missouri does not specify specific objects, such as pipes and bongs, as drug paraphernalia. Instead, anything that is used to process, manufacture, distribute, or consume drugs can be considered paraphernalia in the state of Missouri. In many cases, objects must be found with drugs or drug residue to be counted as paraphernalia.
Controlled Substance Schedules
Controlled substances, both illicit drugs and many medications, are categorized according to five schedules. Classification is based on three factors: The substance’s medicinal value, how addictive the substance is, and how much physical or psychological harm the substance can cause. The less medicinal value and the more potential for abuse or harm, the more stringent the schedule. Controlled substances in schedule I have no redeeming medical value and have a high potential for abuse, while controlled substances in schedule V have a limited potential for abuse.
- Schedule I Controlled Substances
- The most serious, controlled level. Substances on this level aren’t considered to have any medical uses at all. Examples of Schedule I drugs include: Heroin, lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD), marijuana (cannabis), methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA, ecstasy), benzylpiperazine (BZP), psilocybin, and mescaline (peyote).
- Schedule II Controlled Substances
- Schedule II drugs have medical uses, but also a big potential for abuse, so they’re highly controlled. Cocaine, methamphetamine (crystal meth), methadone, cocaine, hydrocodone, opium tincture (Laudanum), Phencyclidine (PCP), and oxycodone (OxyContin) are all considered schedule II substances.
- Schedule III Controlled Substances
- The third tier have a smaller tendency of addiction, but they’re still regulated. Schedule III includes Ketamine, anabolic steroids, and testosterone.
- Schedule IV Controlled Substances
- Fourth level substances aren’t considered to be high risk for abuse or addiction, but they’re somewhat controlled. Alprazolam (Xanax), clonazepam (Klonopin), diazepam (Valium), Tramadol (Ultram), and Lorazepam (Ativan) fall under schedule IV.
- Schedule V Controlled Substances
- Schedule five is the lowest level of controlled substances. They have the lowest risk of addiction and abuse while still being regulated.
Charges can be escalated when the circumstances of a crime are especially egregious. Examples of circumstances that can increase the severity of a charge include: committing a drug crime on school grounds, committing a drug crime in a park, committing a drug crime in public housing, supplying a minor with drugs, and repeatedly committing drug crimes. Aggravating circumstances can result in harsher sentencing, an increase to the degree of a charge, or even felony charges when the crime would normally be charged as a misdemeanor.
Some individuals who have been charged with or convicted of drug crimes may qualify for a drug diversion program. Generally, there are two types of program: pretrial diversion, which the accused enters before trial, and deferred adjudication, which the accused enters after their trial. Successfully completing these programs can result in reduced charges, early termination of probation, alternatives to incarceration, or even a full dismissal of charges. Diversion programs frequently consist of vocational training, drug testing, individual counseling, group counseling, community service, and participation in a 12-step program, however the specifics vary between counties.
Call Day or Night for a Missouri Drug Crimes Attorney
The interplay between federal, state, and municipal drug laws is complex; a lawyer may be required to fully understand the intricacies. To this end, KC Road Lawyers offers free consultations to individuals accused of drug crimes. Call 816-425-2420 or navigate to our contact page to find out how KC Road Lawyers can help you with your Missouri drug crime.