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Matthew Radefeld & Dan Juengel
Matthew A. Radefeld and Daniel A. Juengel

3 factors that can change drug charges into felony offenses

On Behalf of | Jul 3, 2022 | Drug Crimes |

Social attitudes about drug possession and non-violent criminal offenses have shifted drastically in recent decades, and the laws in many states have changed to reflect this evolution. However, while those in Missouri may share those more tolerant beliefs, they are still at risk for major consequences if they get caught in possession of drugs.

Missouri is actually one of the worst possible states when it comes to modern drug prohibition. Even minor mistakes can lead to felony charges that can irrevocably alter the rest of your life. Drug charges come with a lot of social stigma, as well as the potential risk of incarceration.

Although you may think of possession as a negligible offense, police officers and prosecutors in Missouri will likely have a different perspective on the situation. You may only learn after your arrest that with a few exceptions, most drug possession offenses in Missouri are felonies.

When is drug possession a misdemeanor?

Missouri treats almost all drug possession as a felony offense. The only scenario in which Missouri prosecutors will charge someone accused of drug possession with a misdemeanor is when someone only has marijuana.

The state has decriminalized the possession of less than 10 grams, which means people won’t face jail time for minor offenses. Possession of more than 35 grams, which is slightly under one-and-a-quarter ounces, will qualify as a misdemeanor, any amount higher than that will lead to a felony.

Any other prohibited drug will automatically trigger felony charges under state law. The possession of heroin, methamphetamine or cocaine would be a felony offense even if all you have is a tiny amount of drugs in your possession.

Controlled substance possession is also a felony

Some people think they can choose different substances to reduce their risk. Many people think of prescription medication as a less risky choice than prohibited drugs, but that is not necessarily true under Missouri law. The possession of a controlled substance, like narcotic pain relievers, without a prescription will also lead to felony charges.

Realizing that you can have a felony on your record for the rest of your life that might give you the motivation you need to fight back against pending Missouri drug charges.