In Oklahoma, possession of a controlled dangerous substance is defined as the knowing or intentional possession of a controlled dangerous substance unless that substance was obtained directly or by a valid prescription from a practitioner acting in accordance with his or her professional practice. Possession of methamphetamine, possession of heroin, or possession of a benzodiazepine or marijuana without a prescription are all considered possession of CDS in Oklahoma.
New Laws Make Possession a Less Serious Crime
Oklahoma has recently passed new drug possession laws that are less harsh than ever before. In order to understand how these laws work, you need to understand how Oklahoma classifies drugs (controlled dangerous substances or CDS).
Oklahoma classifies its controlled substances by “Schedules” based upon the level of addictive risk balanced against medical need and other factors. These schedules include both illegal drugs and drugs that must be prescribed by a doctor. Okla. Stat. tit. 63 §§ 2-204 et seq.
Possession of a controlled dangerous substance without a valid prescription if one is required to obtain the drug is against the law. That means that holding onto the pain medication that you got from a friend for your back is against the law if you do not have a valid prescription for those particular pills.
Under the new law, possession of some CDS classifications is treated as a misdemeanor. The law is a radical shift for Oklahoma, changing Oklahoma from a state with harsh penalties for possession to a state where mere possession for personal use is treated somewhat leniently by comparison.
However, that does not mean Oklahoma has legalized marijuana. Possession of marijuana or any drug classified as a controlled dangerous substance can result in jail time.
A conviction is a misdemeanor punishable by up to a year in jail and a fine of up to $1,000. In addition, if convicted, an offender must pay a special assessment trauma care fee of $100 to the Trauma Assistance Revolving Fund.
Under this new law, the penalty is the same each time you are arrested for possession. There are no escalating penalties with subsequent convictions.
However, police and prosecutors might try to charge possession with intent to distribute based simply on the amount of drugs found during a search or arrest. Therefore, it is important that you seek the counsel of a knowledgeable Claremore drug crimes attorney before you agree to any offers or provide any information to law enforcement during an arrest or investigation for possession of marijuana or possession of any CDS.
If you were arrested before July 1, 2017, the old penalties apply.
Under the old law, the penalty for possession of a Schedule I or II substance (other than marijuana) on a first offense is one to five years in prison. A fine of up to $5,000 may be assessed in addition to or in lieu of incarceration.
A second conviction is punishable by up to 10 years in prison, a fine of up to $10,000, or both.
A third conviction is punishable by 4 to 15 years in prison, a fine of up to $10,000, or both.
While laws for possession have been relaxed, you could still spend up to a year in jail even for the simplest offense. It is important that you contact an Rogers County criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. Only a local attorney will know what arguments your judge may find persuasive.
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