When it comes to drug abuse and possession in Missouri, the court considers a number of things when determining an appropriate punishment. Although every case is unique, here are some basic factors that could play a role in sentencing.
The type of drug
In Missouri, drugs are grouped into different schedules, which is typically the set of compounds in that drug, their mechanism of action, and their effects on the body. Punishment gets more severe with the rise in the hierarchy in the schedule. For example, possession of Schedule I drugs, like heroin or LSD, can result in up to seven years in prison and a $20,000 fine. Being in possession of marijuana, on the other hand, is only a misdemeanor offense punishable by up to one year in jail and a $500 fine.
The amount of drug
Generally speaking, the larger the amount of drug you have in your possession, the greater the punishment will be. This is because the court presumes that you intend to sell or distribute the drugs if you have a large quantity on hand.
Your prior record
Previous drug charges will undoubtedly lead to harsher penalties in Missouri. The court will look at your criminal history and use it as a guide to determine an appropriate sentence. For example, if you have one prior conviction for possession of marijuana, you may only receive probation for a second offense. However, if you have two or more prior convictions, you may be sentenced to up to four years in prison.
Circumstances of the arrest
The court will also consider the circumstances under which you were arrested when deciding your sentence. For instance, if you were caught with drugs in a school zone or near a park, you may face enhanced penalties.
Missouri has strict laws against drugs, and possession charges can result in serious penalties. And as you can see, you can commit the same crime with another person, but they may get probation, while you can get a jail term plus fines depending on your unique circumstances.