Drug Possession Attorney in West Hartford, CT
The possession of controlled substances within the United States is illegal, although each state is responsible for determining the penalties for drug possession, as well as which drugs are illegal to possess (for example, some states have ruled it legal to possess marijuana).
While drug possession laws have become more lenient in recent years, the possession of a controlled substance is still a crime, and a person convicted of drug possession may face a large fine, time spent incarcerated, and of course, a permanent mark on their criminal record.
At the Upton Law Firm, LLC, our experienced drug possession attorneys can help you minimize your penalty, and help you to understand your rights and options if you are facing drug possession charges in Connecticut. For your initial consultation with our criminal defense legal team, please call us today.
Defining Drug Possession in Connecticut
Under the law, possession means to “have as belonging to,” or have under one’s control. As such, it is against the law for a person to have on their person, in their home or vehicle, or in another object or property owned by the defendant any controlled substance.
Drug possession is not the same as drug manufacturing, distributing, or trafficking. These are separate crimes, and it is possible for a defendant to face multiple criminal charges involving the same (or multiple) drugs.
Penalties for Drug Possession
The way that a drug possession crime is penalized in the state of Connecticut is dependent upon factors including:
- The type/schedule of the drug involved; and
- The amount of the drug involved.
For example, Connecticut has decriminalized the use of small amounts of marijuana. As such, a person who is found to be in possession of less than ½ ounce for both a first and subsequent offense will face a civil–not criminal–penalty, penalized by a fine of $150 for the first offense, and $500 for a subsequent offense. If the amount in possession is more than ½ ounce, the offense is considered a misdemeanor crime. The crime carries a penalty of an incarceration period of up to one year, and a fine of up to $2,000.
The state has maintained a tough position when it comes to the possession of other, harder drugs. Indeed, the possession of narcotics in the state, even a first offense, can be penalized by a prison sentence of up to seven years, and a fine of up to $50,000. A second offense narcotics possession conviction carries up to 15 years in jail, and a fine of up to $100,000. Narcotics include cocaine, crack cocaine, and heroin.
The possession of hallucinogens also carries dire consequences for those who are convicted of said crime. While less harshly penalized than the possession of narcotics, a first offense hallucinogen possession offense may land a person in jail for up to five years.
The possession of any other illegal drug is penalized by up to one year in jail and a fine of up to $1,000 for a first offense. If the arrest occurs within 1,500 feet of a school zone, there is a mandatory two-year jail sentence attached to the conviction.
A Drug Possession Charge Could Change Your Life
It is important to understand the severity of a conviction – even for a small amount of an illegal substance. It could land you in jail for an extended period, a fate that no one wants. In addition to the large fine and prison term, you may also be ordered to participate in community service, attend a drug education course, and more. A drug charge on your criminal record may also prevent you from gaining employment or housing in the future, and have other unforeseen consequences for your life.
Defending Yourself Against Drug Possession Charges
To convict you of a this charge, the prosecution must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you are guilty of the crime in question. This means having evidence against you that was collected legally; if evidence against you was illegally obtained, for example, via illegal search and seizure, it may be possible to have evidence withheld from court.
However, even if an illegal search or arrest was not part of your charge, it is still possible to beat the charges you are facing and secure a verdict of innocent. In some cases negotiating a plea bargain with the prosecution, where you plead guilty to charges in exchange for reduced charges, may be an option.
Some other potential defenses include:
- Lack of knowledge – the drugs were in your house, but you were unaware of this;
- Lack of possession – the drugs are not yours;
- Lack of drugs – there are cases where a person is arrested based on the existence of a substance that appears to be cocaine, but is a separate, legal substance; and
In all cases, working with an experienced criminal defense attorney is a must. An attorney will review your options and the details of your case, and develop a strategy on your behalf that is designed to protect you from the most severe of outcomes.
Contact Our Experienced Drug Possession Attorneys in Connecticut Today
Being charged with the possession of illegal drugs is a very serious offense in Connecticut, and could have a long-term effect on your life. But a charge is not a conviction, and if you are facing criminal charges for drug possession, you have an opportunity to defend yourself against those charges.
At the offices of The Upton Law Firm, LLC, we know what you’re up against, and how much is on the line. Our experienced Connecticut criminal defense attorneys have successfully handled clients’ drug possession cases in the past, and know how to investigate your case and build a solid strategy for protecting you. For your initial consultation, call our Hartford County attorneys at 860-893-0558, or send us a confidential message using the intake form on our website.