Are you facing criminal charges for a drug-related crime in Mississippi? Most drug crimes in the state are classified as felonies and carry incredibly harsh criminal penalties. Your future is on the line and you need the help of an experienced criminal defense attorney. Contact Tupelo criminal defense lawyer William Wayne Housley today to learn more.
Drug Crime in Mississippi
Many states have a number of laws on the books criminalizing various drug-related activities. Mississippi, however, simply explains that all behaviors involving controlled substances are prohibited by law. Mississippi Public Health Code Section § 41-29-139 states that it is a crime for any person to intentionally or knowingly “sell, barter, transfer, manufacture, distribute, dispense or possess with intent to sell, barter, transfer, manufacture, distribute or dispense, a controlled substance.”
In other words: it is against the law to knowingly (or intentionally) manufacture, possess, or exchange a controlled substance. There are, of course, limited carve-outs for lawful drug-related activities. These generally only apply to law enforcement officers and research professionals.
Penalties for Drug Crimes in Mississippi
For the purposes of the law, drugs are also known as “controlled substances.” State and federal law outline five distinct schedules (or levels). The most dangerous drugs and those having no recognized medicinal purpose are classified as Schedule I Controlled Substances, while the least dangerous drugs are classified as Schedule V Controlled Substances.
The penalties for drug-related offenses in Mississippi are directly linked to (1) the classification and (2) the amount of the drug involved in your crime. There is, however, a small carve-out for minimal marijuana possession cases.
Minimal Possession of Marijuana
Possession of less than 30 grams of marijuana is a misdemeanor offense in Mississippi. The penalty for misdemeanor possession of marijuana depends on the number of prior convictions you have for the offense.
- First Offense: $250 fine
- Second Offense: No less than 5 days, but no more than 60 days in jail and $250 fine
- Third Offense: No less than 5 days, but no more than 6 months in jail and $250 fine
Schedule I and Schedule II Drugs
All drug-related crimes, including possession, distribution, sale, and manufacture, involving a Schedule I and/or Schedule II drug are felonies.
Crimes involving less than 1 kilogram, but more than 30 grams of a Schedule I or Schedule II controlled substance are punishable by:
- A maximum of 30 years in prison, and/or
- Fines of no less than $5,000 but no more than $1,000,000.
Examples of Schedule I controlled substances: heroin, marijuana, LSD, and ecstasy.
Examples of Schedule II controlled substances: cocaine, Vicodin, methamphetamine, fentanyl, hydromorphone.
Schedule III and Schedule IV Drugs
It is also a felony to possess, manufacture, sell, or distribute any Schedule III or Schedule IV drugs in Mississippi. These crimes are punishable by:
- A maximum of 20 years in prison, and/or
- Fines of no less than $1,000 but no more than $250,000.
Examples of Schedule III controlled substances: ketamine, anabolic steroids, Tylenol with codeine.
Examples of Schedule IV controlled substances: Xanax, Valium, Ambien, Tramadol.
Schedule V Drugs
A crime involving a Schedule V drug is also a felony in the state of Mississippi, punishable by:
- A maximum of 10 years in prison, and/or
- Fines of no less than $1,000 but no more than $50,000.
Examples of Schedule V controlled substances: cough medicine with codeine, Lyrica, Lomotil.
Fighting Drug Crimes in Mississippi
Have you been arrested for a drug crime in Mississippi? The consequences of a criminal conviction can be devastating for you and your family. You have the right to defend yourself, and Tupelo criminal defense attorney William Wayne Housley can help. For the past two decades, Mr. Housley has successfully defended thousands of Northern Mississippians against a variety of criminal charges. Call today to schedule your free consultation and to learn how he can help you, too.