Arrested for Drug Possession?

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Possession of Scheduled Drugs is one of the most serious criminal charges you can face.  Whether it is a misdemeanor or felony charge, you can face serious jail or prison time, strict and lengthy probation, heavy fines, loss of employment, loss of benefits and loss of your right to own a firearm.  The list of potential consequences for possession of scheduled drugs goes on.

 

How Can a Maine Criminal Defense Lawyer Help?

 

McKenna Deschuytner PLLC has extensive experience defending serious drug charges in both state and federal court. Continue reading for more information on the charges, what constitutes a scheduled drug, and potential defenses.

 

Possession of Scheduled Drugs in Maine

Felony Possession of Scheduled Drugs

There are numerous ways the State can allege felony drug possession.  Here are some of the most common ways you may be charged at the felony level.

1.  A single prior drug conviction.

 

A schedule W drug and that drug contains any of the following and at the time of the offense the person had one or more convictions for violating section 1103, 1105-A, 1105-C, 1105-E, 1106 or section 1124 or for engaging in substantially similar conduct in another jurisdiction:

 

(1) Heroin (diacetylmorphine);

(2) Cocaine;

(3) Cocaine in the form of cocaine base;

(4) Oxycodone;

(5) Hydrocodone;

(6) Hydromorphone;

(7) Methamphetamine; or

(8) Fentanyl powder.

 

Violation of this paragraph is a Class C crime.

2.  Possession of a certain quantity of drugs.

Except as otherwise provided, a schedule W drug and the drug contains:

 

(1) Heroin (diacetylmorphine) and the amount possessed is more than 200 milligrams;

(2) Cocaine and the amount possessed is more than 2 grams;

(3) Cocaine in the form of cocaine base and the amount possessed is more than 2 grams;

(4) Oxycodone and the amount possessed is more than 200 milligrams;

(5) Hydrocodone and the amount possessed is more than 200 milligrams;

(6) Hydromorphone and the amount possessed is more than 200 milligrams;

(7) Methamphetamine and the amount possessed is more than 200 milligrams; or

(8) Fentanyl powder and the amount possessed is more than 200 milligrams.

Violation of this paragraph is a Class C crime.

 

3.  A single prior conviction combined with a certain quantity of drugs.

 

A schedule W drug and at the time of the offense the person had one or more convictions for violating this chapter or for engaging in substantially similar conduct to that of the Maine offenses under this chapter in another jurisdiction and the drug is:

(1) Cocaine and the quantity possessed is more than 14 grams;

(2) Cocaine in the form of cocaine base and the quantity possessed is more than 4 grams; or

(3) Methamphetamine and the quantity possessed is more than 14 grams.

 

Violation of this paragraph is a Class B crime.

Misdemeanor Possession of Scheduled Drugs

A person is guilty of unlawful possession of a scheduled drug if the person intentionally or knowingly possesses what that person knows or believes to be a scheduled drug, which is in fact a scheduled drug, and the drug is:

 

A schedule W drug, except as otherwise provided. Violation of this paragraph is a Class D crime

 

A schedule X drug. Violation of this paragraph is a Class D crime;

 

A schedule Y drug. Violation of this paragraph is a Class E crime

 

A schedule Z drug. Violation of this paragraph is a Class E crime unless the drug is marijuana, in which case a violation of this paragraph is:

(1) For possession of over 2 1/2 ounces to 8 ounces of marijuana, a Class E crime;

(2) For possession of over 8 ounces to 16 ounces of marijuana, a Class D crime;

(3) For possession of over one pound to 20 pounds of marijuana, a Class C crime; and

(4) For possession of over 20 pounds of marijuana, a Class B crime.

Defenses to Possession of Scheduled Drugs

There are numerous defenses to possession of scheduled drugs.  Here are just a handful and each depends on the particular facts and circumstances of your case:

 

You did not know that you possessed the drugs that you are charged with possessing.

This comes into play most commonly if you are in a vehicle or home that drugs are found in and you did not know they were in the vehicle or home.  Or perhaps you were given something that you did not know contained drugs.

 

A person is not guilty of unlawful possession of a scheduled drug if the conduct that constitutes the possession is expressly:

 

  1. Authorized by Title 22 (Lawfully prescribed drugs, possession incident to your employment, marijuana possession, imitation or fake drugs, etc.);

  2. Title 28-B (Adult Use Marijuana Statute, under a certain amount and type);

  3. Title 32 (Possession by professionals such as doctors, nurses, dentists, etc.); or

  4. Made a civil violation by Title 22 or Title 28-B.

It is an affirmative defense to prosecution that:

  1. The substance possessed is industrial hemp;

  2. The substance possessed is a methamphetamine precursor drug and was possessed by the defendant for a legitimate medical purpose;

  3. The substance is a residual amount of any scheduled drug that is contained in one or more hypodermic apparatuses if the person is enrolled in a hypodermic apparatus exchange program that is certified by the Department of Health and Human Services, Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention and is transporting the hypodermic apparatuses to the program;

  4. The person possessed a valid prescription for the scheduled drug or controlled substance that is the basis for the charge and that, at all times, the person intended the drug to be used only for legitimate medical use in conformity with the instructions provided by the prescriber and dispenser.

Unlawful Trafficking in Scheduled Drugs

Except as otherwise provided, a person is guilty of unlawful trafficking in a scheduled drug if the person intentionally or knowingly trafficks in what the person knows or believes to be a scheduled drug, which is in fact a scheduled drug, and the drug is:

A schedule W drug. Violation of this paragraph is a Class B crime;

 

A schedule X drug. Violation of this paragraph is a Class C crime;

 

Marijuana in a quantity of 20 pounds or more. Violation of this paragraph is a Class B crime;

 

Marijuana and the person grows or cultivates 500 or more plants. Violation of this paragraph is a Class B crime;

 

Marijuana in a quantity of more than one pound. Violation of this paragraph is a Class C crime;

 

Marijuana and the person grows or cultivates 100 or more plants. Violation of this paragraph is a Class C crime;

 

A schedule Y drug. Violation of this paragraph is a Class D crime; or

 

A schedule Z drug. Violation of this paragraph is a Class D crime

 

Special Tool that the Prosecutor Can Use

 

Proof that the person intentionally or knowingly possesses any scheduled drug that is in fact of a quantity, state or concentration as provided in this subsection, gives rise to a permissible inference under the Maine Rules of Evidence, Rule 303 that the person is unlawfully trafficking in scheduled drugs:

 

[Simplified list of the more common situations]

 

More than one pound of marijuana;

 

Fourteen grams or more of cocaine or 4 grams or more of cocaine in the form of cocaine base;

 

Fourteen grams or more of methamphetamine;

 

Ninety or more pills, capsules, tablets, vials, ampules, syringes or units containing any narcotic drug other than heroin;

 

Any quantity of pills, capsules, tablets, units, compounds, mixtures or substances that, in the aggregate, contains 800 milligrams or more of oxycodone or 100 milligrams or more of hydromorphone; or

 

Fourteen grams or more of or 30 or more pills, capsules, tablets or units containing 3, 4 - methylenedioxymethamphetamine, MDMA, or any other drug listed in section 1102, subsection 1, paragraph O or P.

Schedules of Illegal Drugs

Schedules of illegal drugs are complicated and change from time to time.  Many specific chemicals or compounds are illegal and are too numerous to list here.  It is important to note that the quantity of drugs alleged to be possessed can elevate the crime from a misdemeanor to a felony.  Moreover, your criminal history, specifically prior drug offenses can elevate the crime from a misdemeanor to a felony.  The same goes for the manner or location of the alleged possession, such as packaging indicative of sale or location near a school can enhance both the severity of the charge and the potential punishment.   The particular facts and circumstances of your case will determine this. 

 

The following is a basic list of the more common drugs found you are likely to be charged with in each schedule:

 

Schedule W drugs:

 

Cocaine;

Amphetamines (unless listed in another schedule, which they are);

Methylphenidate (Ritalin);

Heroin (unless listed in another schedule, which it is);

Methadone;

Opium;

Morphine;

Oxycodone (Percocet);

Hydrocodone (Vicodin);

Buprenorphine (Subutex);

Fentanyl;

Phencyclidine (PCP, Angel dust);

Lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD);

Flunitrazepam (Rohypnol);

Methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA, Molly, Ecstasy);

Cathinone (Khat).

 

Schedule X drugs:

 

Mescaline (Peyote);

Psilocybin, Psilocin (Mushrooms);

Hashish;

Methaqualone (Quaaludes, Wolf of Wall Street);

Ketamine;

Numerous psychedelics.

 

Schedule Y drugs:

 

Barbiturates;

Codeine;

Flurazepam;

Chlordiazepoxide (Librium);

Diazepam (Valium).

 

Schedule Z drugs:

 

All prescription drugs other than those included in schedules W, X or Y;

 

All nonprescription drugs other than those included in schedules W, X or Y as the Maine Board of Pharmacy shall duly designate;

 

Methamphetamine precursor drugs;

 

Synthetic cannabinoids;

 

Certain quantities of Marijuana.

 
 
 

©2019 by McKenna Deschuytner, PLLC. 

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