What types of drug crimes can you be charged with?

Despite the fact that Missourians voted last November to legalize medical marijuana in our state, Missouri still has some of the toughest drug laws in the nation.

Keep in mind that Missouri breaks down controlled substances into the following five schedules:

  1. Schedule I – the most dangerous drugs based on higher abuse and addiction rates, plus no accepted medical use
  2. Schedule II – drugs that have accepted medical use but still pose a high risk of abuse and physical and/or psychological dependence
  3. Schedule III – drugs that have accepted medical use and a lower risk of dependence and abuse
  4. Schedule IV – drugs, particularly benzodiazepines, that have accepted medical use and an even lower risk of dependence and abuse
  5. Schedule V – drugs that have accepted medical use and the lowest risk of dependence and abuse

As FindLaw explains, knowing which drugs fall into which schedule is important because conviction penalties for drug possession or distribution increase substantially as the schedule number goes down.

Possession and cultivation penalties

Missouri still considers the possession and cultivation of nonmedical marijuana a crime. If you get convicted of possessing 10 or fewer grams of marijuana, this is a misdemeanor carrying a $500 fine, but no jail time. A second offense, however, will result in a $2,000 fine and a one-year jail sentence. Should you get convicted of possessing over 35 grams of marijuana, you face a $10,000 fine and seven years in prison.

For all other types of drugs, regardless of amount, a possession conviction will earn you a class C felony with a $10,000 fine and from 3-10 years in prison.

Distribution penalties

Should you get convicted of distributing five or fewer grams of marijuana, this represents a class C felony for which you could spend as many as seven years in prison. If you get convicted of distributing any other controlled substance, this represents a class B felony that earns you a prison sentence of up to 15 years. Should your conviction be for distributing drugs within 2,000 feet of a school, this is a class A felony punishable by up to life in prison.

This is general educational information and not intended to provide legal advice.