Drug Possession

Des Moines Drug Possession Lawyer

Even though Iowa ranks 47th in the nation for overall illegal drug use, the official laws on the books for Iowa still consider the possession of a controlled substance a punishable crime.

Any person with the slightest number of illegal substances in their possession can be arrested and charged. Based on the amount and type of drug found, the potential penalties for this offense can range from misdemeanors to felonies.

Iowa ranks as one of the top 20 states with the harshest penalties for drug possession, based on jail time and fines collected for punishment.

Nicholas Lombardi Law Firm is known by both peers and clients for aggressive representation and defending your rights in court against illegal drug possession charges. We work hard on your behalf to build a solid defense strategy for drug charges related to possession, distribution, manufacturing, and more.

How Does Iowa Law Handle Drug Possession? 

Under Iowa law, possession of a controlled substance is a violation of Iowa Code Section 124.401(5). 

To be convicted of possession, the state must prove that the defendant: 

  1. had dominion or control of the substance; 
  2. had knowledge of its presence; and 
  3. knew that it was a controlled substance.

The state can prove possession by proving that you actually possessed it (such as having it on your person) or that you constructively possessed it (such as having it in your glove box). Possession can be sole or joint. 

For all controlled substances, with the exception of marijuana, a conviction for possession of a controlled substance first offense is a serious misdemeanor punishable by up to one year in the county jail and a fine between $430 (+$64.50 surcharge) and $2,560 (+$384 surcharge). A second offense is an aggravated misdemeanor and is punishable by up to two years imprisonment and a fine between $855 (+$128.25 surcharge) and $8,540 (+$1,281 surcharge). A third offense is a Class D Felony punishable by up to five years imprisonment and a fine between $1,025 (+$153.75 surcharge) and $10,245 (+$1,536.75 surcharge).

The legislature has carved out an exception for possession of marijuana. A conviction for possession of marijuana (first offense) is a hybrid serious misdemeanor punishable by up to six months in the county jail and/or a fine of up to $1,000 (+$150 surcharge). A second offense is a serious misdemeanor punishable by up to one year in the county jail and a fine between $430 (+$64.50 surcharge) and $2,560 (+$384 surcharge). A third offense is a is an aggravated misdemeanor and is punishable by up to two years imprisonment and a fine between $855 (+$128.25 surcharge) and $8,540 (+$1,281 surcharge).

Denying Allegations of Drug Possession

If you have been accused of drug possession, it may seem like you are backed into a corner and that you’re dealing with an open and shut case. Through a search, the police find the drug on a person’s body or in their car, and all the right elements may be met for a conviction. However, any time the police perform a search of a person’s body or their property, the search must align with that person’s constitutional rights.

You have rights that prevent the police from searching you without probable cause to believe that a crime has taken place. These rights extend to your property and home. This is the reason why the police cannot stop a person on the street purely on instinct and search their pockets.

When it comes to the issuance and execution of warrants, they should only be issued if there is probable cause that a crime was committed and that the evidence of that crime is likely to be found in the location of the warrant.

A Defense Attorney You Can Trust

When you are facing criminal charges in Iowa, you need a criminal attorney who is committed to providing you with the very best representation possible. Nicholas Lombardi Law Firm has the expertise necessary to ensure your rights are upheld and protected at each step of your case.

We know that this is one of the most difficult things you will face in your life and will treat you with all the dignity and respect you deserve while pursuing every possible angle for your defense.

We know that it is paramount for you to have an aggressive defense attorney at your side. Regardless of what charges you are facing, you still have rights that should be upheld and protected. We are fully committed to each of our clients.

When you retain Nicholas Lombardi Law Firm, you have the assurance that you have a criminal defense attorney who will:

  • Thoroughly and completely represent your rights, regardless of your alleged crime or background
  • Provide you with the individualized and personalized attention that you and your case merit
  • Aggressively represent and defend you, whether in or out of the courtroom
  • Continue to stay current on any developments in your case and communicate with you regarding the same

A conviction for a criminal charge can bring severe consequences and a lifelong stigma as a convicted criminal. Consequently, it is essential that you have the very best criminal defense. Even if you know you are innocent, think the prosecution’s case against you is weak, and suspect that much of the supposed evidence against you was gathered in violation of your rights, it behooves you to have an experienced and knowledgeable defense lawyer working diligently to prove all those things on your behalf.

The court system can be very difficult and overwhelming to navigate, but we have the necessary experience to walk you through each step of your case and to help you achieve the best possible outcome.


Call (515) 206-8366 or send us a message to discuss your case with our drug possession attorney in Des Moines.


  • “Have nothing but great things to say about him. Works hard and is very good at what he does. Would recommend him to anyone!” - Cody T.
  • “He answered the few texts I made when I had questions and he promptly responded every time no matter the time of day or what day.” - Bo T.
  • “He will go to the ends of the earth for you and I can attest even after your case is closed, he will not just leave.” - Devin G.

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