St. Louis Drug Crimes Lawyer

Criminal offenses involving drugs are among the most commonly seen in Missouri courts while drug charges are also among the most harshly penalized criminal offenses in the state. Missouri treats drug crimes seriously, and penalties can include lengthy prison sentences and costly fines, which is why a drug crime lawyer can help. A drug crime conviction can result in many negative consequences, including, but not limited to:

  • A jail or prison sentence
  • Probation
  • Substantial Fines
  • Ineligibility for federal student loans
  • Job loss or trouble finding work
  • Ineligibility to work in professions which require a state license
  • Loss of, or restrictions on, child custody
  • Loss of an immigration visa or green card and risk of deportation

Missouri drug laws provide alternatives to the serious consequences that accompany a drug conviction. In many cases, there are opportunities to avoid a conviction by completing probation, drug courts (treatment courts), or other treatment programs.

If you are facing a drug possession charge in Missouri, legal advice from an experienced drug crimes attorney can mean the difference between a prison term or probation and treatment for a simple possession charge. An experienced criminal defense attorney can make all the difference.

Our firm handles a wide range of Drug cases, including:

Unlawful Possession of Drug paraphernalia:
A person commits the offense of unlawful possession of drug paraphernalia if he or she knowingly uses, or possesses with intent to use, drug paraphernalia to plant, propagate, cultivate, grow, harvest, manufacture, compound, convert, produce, process, prepare, test, analyze, pack, repack, store, contain, conceal, inject, ingest, inhale, or otherwise introduce into the human body, a controlled substance or an imitation controlled substance.

Possession of paraphernalia is normally a class D misdemeanor, with a fine not to exceed 500 dollars. However, possession of paraphernalia is a class E felony, with up to four years in prison, if the paraphernalia is used to manufacture methamphetamine.

Possession of a controlled substance:
A person commits the offense of possession of a controlled substance if he or she knowingly possesses a controlled substance.

Possession of a controlled substance is a Class D Felony, which caries a range of punishment of up to seven years in prison.

Delivery of a controlled substance:
A person commits the offense of delivery of a controlled substance if, he or she: (1) Knowingly distributes or delivers a controlled substance;(2) Attempts to distribute or deliver a controlled substance; (3) Knowingly possesses a controlled substance with the intent to distribute or deliver any amount of a controlled substance; or (4) Knowingly permits a minor to purchase or transport illegally obtained controlled substances.

Delivery of a controlled substance is generally a class C felony with a range of punishment of 3 to ten years in prison. Delivery of a controlled substance is a class B felony, with a range of punishment of 5-15 years, when 1) the controlled substance was delivered to a to a person less than seventeen years of age who is at least two years younger than the defendant or 2) The person knowingly permits a minor to purchase or transport illegally obtained controlled substances.

Trafficking Drugs Second Degree
A person commits the offense of trafficking drugs in the second degree if, such person knowingly possesses or has under his or her control, purchases or attempts to purchase, or brings into this state:

Trafficking Drugs Second Degree is a class C felony, with a range of Punishment of three to then years in prison when the controlled substance possessed is:

  • More than 30 grams of heroin
  • More than 8 grams of cocaine base
  • More than 500 milligrams of LSD
  • More than 30 grams of PCP
  • More than 30 grams of methamphetamine
  • More than 10 milligrams of fentanyl
  • More than 30 grams of MDMA

Trafficking Drugs Second Degree is a Class B felony, with a range of punishment of five to fifteen years in prison when the controlled substance possessed is:

  • 90 grams or more of heroin
  • 24 grams of more of cocaine base
  • One gram or more of LSD
  • 90 grams or more of PCP
  • 90 grams or more of methamphetamine
  • 20 milligrams or more of fentanyl
  • 90 grams of MDMA

Trafficking Drugs Second Degree is a class A felony, with a range of Punishment of 10 years to 30 years or life in prison when the controlled substance possessed is:

  • 450 grams or more of amphetamine
  • 450 grams or more of MDMA
Trafficking Drugs in the first degree
A person commits the offense of trafficking drugs in the first degree if, such person knowingly distributes, delivers, manufactures, produces or attempts to distribute, deliver, manufacture or produce

Trafficking drugs in the first degree is a class B felony with a range of punishment of five to fifteen years when the controlled substance is:

  • More than 30 grams of heroin
  • More than 8 grams of cocaine base
  • More than five hundred milligrams of LSD
  • More than 30 grams of PCP
  • More than 30 grams of amphetamine
  • More than 30 grams of MDMA
  • More than 10 milligrams of fentanyl
  • Any amount of GHB

Trafficking drugs in the first degree is a class A felony, carrying a range of punishment of 10 to thirty years or life in prison when the controlled substance is:

  • More than 90 grams of heroin
  • 24 grams or more of cocaine base
  • 1 gram or more of LSD
  • 90 grams or more of PCP
  • More than 30 grams of methamphetamine
  • 90 grams or more of methamphetamine
  • 20 milligrams or more of fentanyl

How to Beat a Drug Charge: Defenses to Drug Charges in Missouri

You did not knowingly possess the controlled substance:
In every drug case in Missouri, the State must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you knowingly possessed the controlled substance. For instance, if you were driving a friends car and police discovered drugs in the trunk, you would only be guilty of possessing the drugs if the prosecutor can prove beyond a reasonable doubt you knew drugs were in the trunk.
The drugs were discovered in violation of the Fourth Amendment:
If the police illegally stop, seize, or search you or your property, a St. Louis criminal defense lawyer can file a motion to suppress evidence challenging the basis for the search or seizure that led to the discovery of the drugs. If the motion is granted, all evidence discovered as a result of the unlawful search or seizure must be suppressed from evidence at trial. In drug case, this usually means the case will be dismissed.
You are immune from prosecution under Missouri’s Good Samaritan Law:
If you seek medical assistance due to a drug overdose or other medical emergency and drugs are discovered as a result, you cannot be prosecuted for Possession of a Controlled Substance, Possession of Paraphernalia, and probation and parole violations.
Drug Treatment and Drug Court:
Often times, people who are charged with drug related offenses in Missouri, suffer from addiction. We have experience placing people in drug treatment programs in Missouri, which we can use to obtain a better disposition in your drug case. Almost all Missouri Courts also offer some sort of Drug Court Program. In some cases, successful completion of drug court can result in your case being dismissed.

A strong defense for your drug case.

 

Drug cases may seem pretty cut and dry: If the police found drugs or drug paraphernalia on you or in your house or vehicle, you must be guilty. In reality, drug cases can be some of the most complex cases that we handle. In every drug crime case, there is either a “search” and/or a “seizure”, which implicates the Fourth Amendment of the United States Constitution. If the search or seizure is unlawful, then the evidence is not admissible at trial–which usually means the drug crime charge must be dismissed.

It is best to hire a drug crimes attorney who is knowledgeable about search and seizure issues. The Law Offices of Brian J. Cooke has handled hundreds of drug cases with experience challenging unlawful searches and seizures in court. If you or a loved one is facing a drug charge, please do not hesitate to contact us today.

FAQ

What if the drugs belonged to someone else?
In Missouri, the state does not have to prove ownership; Rather the state only has to prove that you knowingly possessed the drugs. So if your friend leaves drugs in your house, and you were aware that the drugs were there, you can still be found guilty—even though the drugs did not belong to you.
What is the difference between actual, joint, and constructive possession?
Actual possession means you have the substance on your person or within easy reach or control. A person who, although not in actual possession, has the power and the intention at a given time to exercise dominion or control over the substance either directly or through another person or persons is in constructive possession of it. Possession may also be sole or joint, meaning two people can possess the same drugs at the same time.
What is the worst case scenario for a first time possession charge in Missouri?
Generally, the worst case scenario for a first time possession charge in Missouri is a suspended imposition of sentence (SIS) with probation. Probation will normally consist of meeting with a probation officer, taking the REACT drug and alcohol course, and submitted to drug tests. With an SIS probation, you will not receive a felony conviction on your record. Second or subsequent offenses can have more severe consequences.
Can Missouri Drug Charges be enhanced with prior drug convictions?
Yes. A prior drug offender is one who is one prior felony drug conviction. The Court shall sentence a prior drug offender to a class of felony one class higher. A Persistent drug offender is a person who has two prior felony drug convictions. A persistent drug offender shall be sentenced to a felony that is two classes higher.
What if I had a prescription for the Drug?
If you had a valid prescription for the drug at the time you were arrested and the drugs were lawfully obtained pursuant to that prescription you cannot be found guilty of possession of a controlled substance.
How long will it take to be charged with a drug case in Missouri after I am arrested?
The State has up to three years to charge you with a drug offense from the date of the arrest. If you are arrested for a drug charge in Missouri the police will usually book and release you within 24 hours. Most prosecutors in Missouri will not charge you with possession of a controlled substance unless the drugs have been tested by a lab. It normally takes the Missouri State Highway patrol crime lab 6 months or more to test seized drugs.
Will I lose Federal or State benefits if I am convicted of a drug charge in Missouri?
Under Missouri State law, you may lose your ability to obtain food stamps of you are convicted of a felony drug charge. Under federal law, you can also lose benefits such as student loan/grant eligibility and welfare benefits if you are convicted of a felony drug offense.
Can convictions for Missouri Drug Charges be expunged from my records?
In many cases, yes. The court will consider a variety of factors including prior convictions, conduct since the conviction, the amount of time since the conviction, and the need for the expungement based on employment.
Can I be charged with a Federal Offense for a Missouri drug case?
In many cases, yes. There is concurrent state and federal jurisdiction over Missouri drug charges. Generally, the federal government does not charge people unless the amount drugs possessed is significant or you are the target of a federal investigation.

Practice Areas

Assault Charges

Drug Charges

Fraud Charges

Weapons Offenses

Sex Offenses

Murder Charges

Juvenile Offenses

Stealing Charges

Probation Violations

Traffic Tickets

Domestic Violence

DWI Charges