A first encounter with the criminal justice system on a drug possession charge can be a truly frightening and humbling experience. One of the questions my firm and I often get asked is whether or not an individual will face jail time for a first-time drug possession charge. In the state of Indiana, drug crimes are heavily punished. The laws are extremely strict, and any individual arrested and charged with a drug crime can expect very little leniency in court.
The penalties for drug possession charges will vary depending on the type and quantity of the controlled substance in the case. The possession of 30 grams of marijuana or less is a misdemeanor offense and carries a penalty of up to 1 year in jail and fines up to $5,000. This is the penalty, even in a first-time offense or for those with prior convictions. If you are in possession of more than 30 grams of marijuana, it is a felony offense and you could face imprisonment for between 6 months and 3 years. You will also be required to pay a maximum fine of $10,000. The penalties associated with the possession of certain narcotics are significantly more severe. A mere 3 grams of certain drugs will be filed as a felony and carries the same penalties as a felony marijuana possession charge. If you have more than 3 grams in your possession, you are facing between 2 – 8 years in prison and fines up to $10,000.
There are instances when a court or judge may agree to a conditional discharge for first-time offenders. This means you will not be subjected to the penalties associated with your crime, providing you meet the conditions. The best chance you have to avoid jail time after being arrested on a first-time drug possession charge, is to get defense counsel immediately. When you contact a Fort Wayne criminal defense lawyer at my firm, you are getting more than 14 years experience practicing criminal law. I, Attorney Gregory A. Miller, am dedicated to protecting the rights of those accused of drug crimes and many other criminal charges.
I have served as defense counsel for many clients in charges of drug possession, and I know how terrifying it is to be placed under arrest, and the concerns you have about your future freedom. If you have been arrested for a first-time drug possession, you owe it to yourself to find out if the charges could be dismissed, alternative sentencing arranged, or if the case could be effectively defended at trial. I will fight for a conditional discharge if this is the right action for your specific case. Do not put your freedom or future at risk, contact me today.