Enhancement for a Prior Drug Charge
If you have been arrested or cited for possession of drug paraphernalia, and you have a prior drug offense; then you will be facing an enhanced charge. This enhancement for priors applies whether it the prior was the same charge or another violation of the Missouri Controlled Substances Act.
For purposes of enhancement a prior drug offense involves a finding of guilt of any controlled substance law. The Court will enter a finding of guilt against you if you either enter a plea of guilty or you are convicted after a trial. This includes some plea deals.
First time offenders will often represent themselves on their first possession charge thinking it is not a big deal. After spending an hour or two in court they are offered and accept probation as a way to keep a conviction off of their record and the court grants a Suspended Imposition of Sentence. Now they have a prior finding of guilt to drug charge on their record.
If you are facing an unlawful possession of drug paraphernalia charge in Missouri and you have a prior drug offense, then you could face the following penalties:
- A class A misdemeanor criminal record.
- A jail sentence of up to 1 year.
- A fine of up to $2,000.
- A combination of both a jail sentence and a fine.
- Probation for not less than 6 months and up to 2 years, either Supervised or Unsupervised.
- Costs for probation.
- Court Costs.
- Random Drug Testing and the Costs.
- Community Service
Some municipalities in St. Louis County will not offer you way to avoid a conviction short of winning at trial. This is why is it important to treat any possession charge, whether it is your first or seventh, as a serious matter. A trained criminal defense attorney will help explain what options you have and what the repercussions of each option might be.
Before you find yourself deeper in the hole, contact our firm and speak with a trained and experienced criminal defense attorney. Anthony Bretz has in depth understanding of Missouri Drug Law penalties.