Even simple drug possession can mean harsh penalties and a lasting drug conviction on your record. This can result in trouble finishing school, finding work, or spending time behind bars.
Fortunately, when you trust your defense with an experienced Indianapolis drug possession lawyer at Hessler Law, PC, you can breathe easier knowing you have an aggressive legal defender advocating for your liberties.
Drug Possession in Indianapolis
There are various illicit drugs and drug-related crimes in Indiana. These illegal drugs are divided into five different schedules of controlled substances. Schedule I drugs are the most dangerous. They have a high risk of abuse and no accepted medical use. Some examples of Schedule I drugs could include:
Schedule V drugs are the least dangerous of the controlled substances. They have a low risk of abuse and accepted medical use. Some examples of Schedule V drugs could include
- Robitussin AC
Drug possession charges are complex in Indiana, no matter what type of drug is involved. This is because Indiana’s drug possession laws are not always clear.
The law does not explicitly address what it means to be “in possession of” a particular drug. Does it have to be on you physically? In your best friend’s glove box? In the trunk of your car? What if it’s in your house? Or you have roommates, and it was found in the living room? These are just a few of the questions that could make it more difficult for the state to prosecute you.
Possession of Drug Paraphernalia
You may also face drug possession charges for drug equipment. Some common types of drug paraphernalia are:
- Pill bottles
- Plastic baggies
- Roach clips
- Miniature spoons
- Rolling papers
- Small mirrors
- Short plastic straws
- Razor blades
- Rolled up paper tubes
- Pacifiers and lollipops
Drug possession and paraphernalia charges may be far more severe than you previously thought. If you are found guilty, you could face harsh penalties. A drug possession attorney in Indiana could help you dodge a conviction and get back to your life.
Indianapolis Drug Possession Penalties
Many factors are considered when the judge determines your sentence if you’re convicted of drug possession. Some of these could include:
- Your prior criminal record
- The type of drug involved
- The amount of the drug involved
- Whether anyone was harmed
- Whether you are a part of a larger criminal enterprise
- Other enhancing circumstances
Drug possession can be a misdemeanor or a felony charge. The amount and type of the drug involved will typically determine which charges you will face.
- One year in jail
- Fines of up to $5,000
- Completion of a drug treatment program
- License suspension
- Community service
Is this your second offense? Or are you a habitual offender? If so, it is more likely that you will face felony drug possession charges.
Here, you could face:
- Up to 16 years in prison
- Fines of up to $10,000
- Suspension of gun rights
- Immigration or citizenship issues
- Suspension of professional licenses
In Indiana, you can be charged with possession of marijuana for knowingly or intentionally possessing the drug itself, growing or cultivating marijuana plants, or knowing that someone is growing marijuana on your premises and failing to destroy the plants. Charges also apply if you are involved in shipping marijuana in the mail. Possession of fewer than 30 grams of marijuana is a misdemeanor offense in Indiana.
A first offense for possession of 30 grams or more may be a misdemeanor if committed after July 1, 2014. A second or subsequent offense involving 30 grams or more can be charged as a felony. For offenses committed before July 1, 2014, possession of fewer than 30 grams is a misdemeanor, and 30 grams or more is a felony.
Possession of Controlled Substance
Possession of a Schedule I, II, III, or IV controlled substance generally is a misdemeanor if committed after July 1, 2014, but if committed before that date, it may be charged as a felony. The penalties vary depending on the amount of the controlled substance involved or whether you committed the offense on a school bus or near a school, park, youth center, or family housing development. Obtaining a Schedule V controlled substance under certain circumstances can be a felony in Indiana.
Possession of Meth
When you possess methamphetamine, you can be charged with a felony in Indiana. The class of felony and possible penalties varies depending on the amount of meth involved and whether you committed the offense on a school bus or near a school, park, youth center, or family housing complex.
Cocaine & Heroin Possession
When you possess cocaine or other Schedule I or II narcotic drugs, including heroin, you may be charged with a felony in Indiana. The class of felony and possible penalties varies depending on the amount of the drug involved and whether you committed the offense on a school bus or near a school, park, youth center, or family housing complex.
Whether you face misdemeanor or felony drug possession charges, you have the right to a legal defense. It’s best to get help from a drug possession lawyer in Indianapolis.
Defending Against Drug Possession Charges
The burden of proof is on the state’s prosecutor. Their goal is to successfully obtain a conviction. But they will need to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you had a controlled substance to do so. Indiana’s drug possession laws are so murky. And several potential defenses could aid in your acquittal.
First, we can challenge the fact that you were “in possession of” a particular drug. There are two main types of possession: actual and constructive.
Actual possession means that you had illegal drugs or drug tools physically on you. Having a bag of cocaine in your pocket, for example, is actual possession.
Constructive possession is different. The drugs may not have been on you physically. But you may have had the ability to take possession of them at any time.
Other Drug Defenses
Other potential strategies that could help you avoid a conviction include:
- Mistake of fact – If your charges are a result of a mistake of fact, your attorney could argue that you never intended to commit the crime.
- Lack of probable cause – An officer needs probable cause to make an arrest or else your arrest could have been unlawful.
- Illegal search – The fourth amendment prohibits law enforcement from unlawful searches of your property.
- Police misconduct – Police may have obtained evidence unlawfully. In that case, you could have that evidence dismissed.
- Lab mistakes – Lab techs might misidentify a substance and a false positive result may show that it’s a drug when it really isn’t.
- Unaware of possession – If a friend slipped the drug into your bag without your knowledge, you also may have a chance at fighting your charges.
Your drug possession lawyer will carefully analyze the details of your case. This will determine which defense strategy is most likely to produce the most favorable outcome for you.
Indiana Drug Possession FAQ
Whether this is your first arrest or you faced drug charges before, you are likely feeling overwhelmed. You may have many unanswered questions surrounding your arrest as well.
What Amount Is Considered Drug Trafficking in Indiana?
You could face federal drug trafficking charges in addition to drug possession charges. It will depend on how much of the drug in question you are accused of having in your possession.
For example, you could face federal drug trafficking charges if you have five or more grams of crack cocaine in your possession.
Can I Be Arrested for Cannabis Possession in Indiana?
Yes. Cannabis is not legal for medicinal or recreational use as of 2021. Being in possession of cannabis or marijuana paraphernalia could result in charges.
Can a Drug Possession Conviction Be Expunged in Indiana?
Many drug possession convictions are eligible for expunction. The following crimes do not qualify:
Most other types of convictions are eligible for expungement. Your criminal defense lawyer can look at your record to determine your eligibility. Then, we can assist you throughout the expungement process if you do qualify.
Contact an Indianapolis Drug Possession Lawyer
A drug possession charge doesn’t have to ruin your life. Get help from a dedicated Indianapolis drug possession lawyer. You can present a compelling defense and potentially clear your name.
Get help from Hessler Law, PC. With a history of successful Indianapolis drug possession cases and considerable experience helping others in similar situations, schedule your free consultation with attorney Sean Hessler.