Drug Crime Attorney in Des Moines
Handling Controlled Substance Charges in Central Iowa
Nicholas Lombardi is a licensed criminal attorney in the State of Iowa and federal court. If you have been arrested for a drug crime, reach out now to discuss your case.
Possession of a Controlled Substance
The mere possession of one of the several substances banned by federal and Iowa law could land a person in jail. If you’ve been arrested and charged with possession, you may think there’s little hope. But even if the police say they found drugs on your person, you can fight the charges.
Punishment for Narcotics Possession
A conviction for any possession charge can lead to jail time. A first offense is a misdemeanor but can result in a jail sentence of up to one year and a fine up to $2,560 (+$384 surcharge). The second offense is also a misdemeanor, with penalties of up to a two-year sentence and fines up to $8,540 (+$1,281 surcharge).
The third offense, and any offense after, is a felony, with a possible sentence of up to five years in prison and a fine up to $10,245 (+$1,536.75 surcharge).
Jail time and fines are not the only possible consequences of a drug conviction. You will also have a criminal record for the rest of your life that may prevent you from getting certain jobs or pursuing educational opportunities.
Actual Possession vs. Constructive Possession
The Iowa Controlled Substances Act and the federal Controlled Substances Act make it illegal to possess any of the narcotics that the respective legislative bodies have chosen to ban, including heroin, cocaine, crack, meth, and LSD (acid), unless the person has a legally valid prescription or other legal justification.
However, possession is not limited to having the drug in your pocket or purse. Having the drug on your person is called “actual possession.” Prosecutors, however, can also seek charges for what is called “constructive possession.”
Constructive possession means that the drugs were found in a place where the suspect had exclusive control. For instance, narcotics in the trunk of a car may not be within reaching distance of the driver, but prosecutors will argue that the driver was the only person who could have put them there and the only person with control over them. The same argument may apply for drugs found in your glove compartment, luggage, or dresser drawer.
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