Oklahoma has some of the toughest drug laws in the nation, and even the possession of drugs for personal use is penalized harshly. In attempting to take a hard line against illegal drug use, legislators have enacted laws that bring lengthy prison terms to minor offenders, resulting in prison overcrowding and some of the highest incarceration rates in the country.
Possession of a controlled dangerous substance (CDS) and marijuana possession put thousands of Oklahomans behind bars every year. According to The Sentencing Project, an organization that works for sentencing reform and equity, Oklahoma has the third highest incarceration rate in the nation, incarcerating 661 of every 100,000 residents. Additionally, Oklahoma's rate of incarcerating drug offenders is significantly higher than the national average. In Oklahoma, 27 percent of the prison population has a drug offense as the primary offense, compared with the national average of 20 percent.
If you are arrested for drug possession, you should act quickly to find a defense lawyer to represent you in criminal proceedings. Do not make the mistake of thinking prosecutors will take your case lightly, having bigger fish to fry. In Oklahoma, even minor drug crimes are prosecuted aggressively, and heavy sentences are doled out upon conviction.
To some, it seems that drug possession is a victimless crime. They feel that a person in possession of marijuana has made the decision to use that drug recreationally, and as long as they are not jeopardizing the health and safety of anyone else, they should be able to do so.
The state of Oklahoma disagrees.
Possession of a Controlled Dangerous Substance (CDS) may be prosecuted as either a misdemeanor or a felony, with the determination of the charge based upon the type of drug allegedly possessed by the defendant.
Possession of a Schedule I or Schedule II drug is a felony, with the exception of marijuana possession. Although marijuana is a Schedule I drug, its possession is prosecuted as a misdemeanor, along with Schedule III, IV, and V drugs.
Schedule I drugs, whose possession is a felony on the first offense, include heroine, LSD, GHB, MDMA (ecstasy), and psychedelic drugs. Schedule II drugs include amphetamines, cocaine, hydrocodone, oxycodone, and PCP.
Drug possession for personal use may be charged as either a felony or a misdemeanor, depending on the substance involved. In most cases, possession of a Schedule I or Schedule II is a felony on the first offense, carrying a potential sentence of up to ten years in prison. Schedule I drugs include MDMA (ecstasy), LSD, GHB, heroine, and psychedelic drugs such as mescaline, peyote, and psilocybin (mushrooms). Schedule II drugs include cocaine, oxycodone, hydrocodone, PCP, and amphetamines.
In 63 O.S. 2-402, The Uniform Controlled Dangerous Substances Act defines the criminal penalties associated with possession of a Schedule I or Schedule II drug. Possession of a Schedule I or II substance, excepting marijuana, is a felony punishable by a minimum of 2 years in prison, a maximum sentence of 10 years. On the first offense, it carries a maximum fine of $5,000. Those penalties are levied on the first offense; penalties are doubled on the second or subsequent offense, with a prison sentence ranging from 4 to 20 years and a fine of up to $10,000.
Marijuana possession or possession of a Schedule III, IV, or V drug is a misdemeanor on the first offense. As a misdemeanor, conviction carries the potential for a year in jail and a maximum fine of $1,000. On a second or subsequent offense, however, possession of marijuana or a lesser schedule drug is a felony.
If the second or subsequent conviction occurs 10 years or more after the prior conviction, the crime is a felony punishable by 1 to 5 years in prison and a fine of up to $5,000.
If the second or subsequent offense occurs within 10 years of the first, however, penalties include a prison sentence of 2 to 10 years and fine of up to $5,000.
In general, many people consider marijuana possession or possession of lesser drugs such as anti-anxiety drugs or anabolic steroids to be a minor drug offense. In some states, that may be true, but in Oklahoma possession of even a small amount of a controlled substance can bring serious criminal penalties.
Regardless of whether you have been charged with a misdemeanor or felony, you need an attorney who appreciates the seriousness of the consequences you face. Whether you are looking at a year in jail or decades in prison, a drug crime defense lawyer with the Law Firm of Oklahoma will handle your case with the diligence and care you deserve from your legal representative.
In some cases, a plea agreement is the best possible scenario, but at the Law Firm of Oklahoma, we are willing and able to find the solution that is best for you. In many instances, we are able to get the case dismissed, sparing you a trial or conviction. In others, we vigorously defend against criminal charges at trial, often securing an acquittal, sending our satisfied clients home after hearing the jury read a verdict of not guilty.
To speak with an attorney about your drug possession case, call (405) 608-4990. We will listen to your concerns and give you an honest evaluation of your case as we begin to explore the optimal strategies for your defense. Call today to find out how we can help.