Drug Charges, Sale & Possession
Southaven, MS Drug Crime Defense Attorney
Drug possession charges in the state of Mississippi can be extremely serious, having a major impact on your life—even long after your sentence has been served. Depending on your specific circumstances, you could face thousands of dollars in fines, serious jail or prison time, forfeiture of personal property, and loss of your driving privileges. When you are unable to drive, many other things in your life can become a serious hassle. You may not be able to get to work or school without transportation and may be unable even to run necessary errands—to buy groceries, to pay bills, even to visit close family members. As you might imagine, a conviction for a drug-related offense can potentially haunt you for the remainder of your life.
Most of us have heard the old adage that “a man who represents himself has a fool for a client.” This statement is never as true as for a person attempting to represent himself or herself on a Mississippi drug charge. If you believe you can rely on the police and the prosecutor to “work with you” or help you in any way, then that belief is foolish. Mississippi law enforcement and prosecutors have one agenda—to see that you are successfully prosecuted. If you find yourself facing drug charges in the state of Mississippi, or in the Memphis area, calling The Stroud Law Firm may be the single most important step you can take for your future.
What Comes Next After You Are Charged with a Mississippi Drug Offense?
Although the state of Mississippi has made a few “baby steps” in easing drug penalties in the state (the state stopped automatic driver’s license suspension for simple drug possession last summer), all in all, the state is pretty tough on drug crimes. In most ways, the state treats drug abusers in the same manner as drug traffickers or drug manufacturers, resulting in non-violent addicts, ending up behind bars for a very long time. While the laws regarding simple possession could potentially get less severe in the future, for now, the laws remain strict, and because the laws are so strict, it is definitely necessary for a person charged with a Mississippi drug crime to speak to an experienced drug defense attorney from The Stroud Law Firm.
What Constitutes “Possession” in the State of Mississippi?
Those charged with possession of a drug in the state of Mississippi are facing extremely severe consequences. You could be charged with possession, or with the manufacture, distribution, or sales of a controlled substance. Possession means you had no intention of selling the drug to another person, you did not manufacture the drug, and you did not distribute the drug to others. Possession of a controlled substance in the state of Mississippi could potentially be charged as a felony or as a misdemeanor, depending entirely on the type of drug as well as the amount of the drug in your possession. In the state of Mississippi, all elements which establish possession must be clearly shown. These elements include:
- Whether you had actual knowledge of the presence of the drug;
- Whether the drug seized is actually considered a controlled substance under Mississippi law, and
- Whether you had actual control of the drug in question.
If you are being charged with possession with intent to sell, not only must the above elements be established, it must also be clearly shown that you intended to sell the drug to others.
Mississippi Drug “Schedules”
The state of Mississippi divides drugs into five schedules, which are dependent on the likelihood of abuse. Possession of less than 30 grams of marijuana has been downgraded to a misdemeanor offense in the state of Mississippi with penalties of a $250 fine for the first offense, a $250 fine and not less than 5 days and not more than 60 days in jail for a second offense, with the same penalties for a third offense as for a second.
- Schedule I drugs are drugs believed to have significant potential for abuse. These drugs include heroin, marijuana, LSD, and Ecstasy. Not only do the drugs in this category have a high potential for abuse, they currently have no medically accepted use. These drugs have no currently accepted use in the medical field. Any drug-related crime associated with a Schedule I drug, including possession, distribution, sale, and manufacture is a felony, with the following penalties upon conviction:
- A maximum of 30 years in prison and/or
- Fines of at least $5,000, but not more than $1,000,000
- Schedule II drugs are also drugs that are believed to have significant potential for abuse and addiction. While they do have the potential for abuse, there are certain medically accepted uses for Schedule II drugs. Drugs such as Vicodin, methamphetamine, fentanyl, hydromorphone, morphine, cocaine, and opium fall under this category of drugs. The penalties for this felony—whether a conviction for possession, distribution, sale, or manufacture—are the same as for a Schedule I drug.
- Schedule III drugs are also believed to have the potential for abuse and addiction, however, there are medically accepted uses for these drugs. Possession, manufacture, sales, or distribution of a Schedule III or Schedule IV drug in Mississippi is a felony. Anabolic steroids, ketamine, and Tylenol with codeine fall into this category. The penalties for a conviction of a Schedule III drug offense include:
- A maximum of 20 years in prison and/or
- Fines not less than $1,000, but no more than $250,000
- Schedule IV drugs are believed to have a relatively low risk of abuse and addiction and have many medically accepted uses. Drugs such as diazepam, Xanax, Valium, Ambien, and Tramadol fall under Schedule IV drugs. The penalties for an offense involving a Schedule IV drug are the same as for a Schedule III drug. While it is not illegal to have these drugs with a valid prescription from your doctor, it is illegal to misuse the drugs or to sell or buy them from others with a valid prescription.
- Finally, Schedule V drugs are drugs that are believed to have the lowest risk of abuse and addiction and have medically accepted uses. A Schedule V Drug could include cough medicine with codeine, Lyrica, and Lomotil. Penalties for a conviction of possession, sale, manufacture, or distribution of a Schedule V drug include:
- A maximum of ten years in prison, and/or
- Fines of no less than $1,000, but no more than $50,000
Getting Help for Your Mississippi Drug Charges from The Stroud Law Firm
If you have been charged with a drug offense in the state of Mississippi, then you can see from the information above that you could potentially face extremely severe penalties, even spending decades in prison. In short, your life could be totally derailed as a result of a drug offense conviction, therefore, you need highly experienced, highly knowledgeable legal assistance. The experienced criminal defense attorneys at The Stroud Law Firm have assisted clients in Southaven, Olive Branch, Horn Lake, Hernando, Tunica, DeSoto County, and throughout the North Mississippi area in fighting drug charges such as possession of marijuana or possession of drug paraphernalia.
We know that keeping your record clean and keeping you out of jail and in the workforce is important. If convicted of a drug charge, not only will you likely serve time in jail, but some employers will fire an employee that has been charged and/or convicted of a drug crime. If you are a student, it is important to consider that some financial assistance normally available to you will not available with a drug-related conviction on your record.
There are options available. Contact the experienced criminal defense attorneys at The Stroud Law Firm today to discuss your case.