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<pCT defense lawyerWhile Connecticut is known for having decriminalized possession of small amounts of marijuana at a relatively early point in time, many tend to forget that the state’s law on possession of harder drugs is just as severe as that of any other. Drugs like cocaine and heroin are in a different medical classification group than marijuana, and the effect of possession and use on the public good is far worse. If you have been caught with harder drugs than marijuana, you definitely need to contact an experienced attorney to help you.

Possession and Intent to Distribute

Connecticut law recognizes two types of drug possession crimes - simple possession, and possession with intent to distribute. While intent to distribute is a crime carrying a long jail term, simple possession of hard drugs is still seen as a serious offense even if there is no intent to sell visible. This is because hard drugs have been documented to cause not acute harm not only to users, but to those around them as well. This idea of wanting to protect society, in general, is referred to as public policy, and drug offenses are often referred to as public policy crimes.

State law bars possession of any “narcotic, hallucinogenic or other controlled substance,” unless the person can produce a valid prescription for the substance from a doctor. If someone is caught with these drugs, the penalties can be quite severe because of the public policy considerations - for example, possession of heroin, even as a first offense, can lead to a jail term of up to seven years, plus a $50,000 fine. This is true even of simple possession - the rationale is that the state’s interests in ensuring the health and well-being of its citizens (as much as possible) warrants severe consequences for anyone bringing drugs into the community.

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CT defense lawyerIn 2011, Connecticut’s then-governor signed legislation decriminalizing the possession of small amounts of marijuana, reducing the sentence from incarceration to a fine, between $150-$500 per offense. However, too many people hear this and assume that this means no consequences for possession at all. In reality, being charged with possession of any drug is still a serious offense that requires an experienced legal professional to manage.

Infractions vs. Crimes

Decriminalized offenses are still considered infractions, which means that consequences still attach. While these offenses do not carry a penalty of incarceration, they do still carry fines, and can still cause serious problems in the future, since a possession conviction as an adult will generally remain on a person’s criminal record. Also, after your second conviction for this infraction, you can be ordered into a drug treatment program by the court.

It may seem a good idea to simply pay a ticket for possession of marijuana, but in reality, it causes far more trouble than it alleviates in the short-term. Admitting your guilt means that the offense remains on your record, where it can be visible to future employers, loan officers, and others in positions of authority. In most situations, it is best to try and fight the charge, so you can potentially duck that blemish on your record.

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CT defense lawyerWhile in recent months, the possession of small amounts of marijuana has been decriminalized in Connecticut, it would be a mistake to assume that other drug laws are being similarly relaxed. This is especially true for those who have the intention to sell, and on top of that, those who sell more dangerous substances like heroin or hallucinogenic drugs may face even stiffer penalties. There is a hierarchy of sorts when it comes to Fairfield County drug offenses, and if you have been charged with one, especially with possession with intent to sell (PWITS), you need an attorney who understands the law’s specific nuances.

Intent May Not Matter

While it may seem confusing or counter-intuitive, Connecticut law surrounding possession of drugs versus possession with intent to sell does not make a distinction as to whether someone actually intends to sell the drugs or not. The law is structured in such a way that if you possess a certain amount of a drug, you can be charged with intent to sell it, whether you did have that intent or not. The only time intent actually becomes relevant as to whether or not you will be convicted is at trial - a jury may decide, for example, that you had no intent to sell drugs, and thus you should be found not guilty.

In some cases, you may not even have physical possession of the item you are charged with possessing - this is called constructive possession, and it means that you were able to exercise control over the item, even if it did not technically belong to you. For example, if drugs are found in your bedroom (after a valid search warrant is executed on the premises), you might be charged with possession since it is your room and because no one else can be said to have had control of the item while it was there. Generally, if you have a say in how something is disposed of or sold, you can be said to have constructive possession of it, and this is, in some cases, enough to charge you with possession with intent to sell.

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Posted on in Drug Charges

CT defense lawyerDrug charges are a very serious matter in Connecticut, especially for younger offenders. If you have been charged with possession of drugs, possession of drug paraphernalia, drug distribution, possession with intent to sell, or any other drug-related crime, it may seem that jail is inevitable, but you are entitled to a good defense from a Norwalk drug crime lawyer before any sentence is handed down.

Penalties Can Be Serious

While Connecticut has decriminalized the possession of small amounts of marijuana (under ½ an ounce, generally), this does not mean that marijuana possession for larger amounts is not treated seriously or harshly. Any amount over ½ ounce will still carry a potential penalty of between one and five years in jail, with a fine of anywhere between $500 and $5000, which is the same type of penalty carried by a charge of unlawful possession of prescription drugs. Penalties for possession of stronger drugs, such as crack cocaine or heroin, are very stiff even for a first offense, with up to seven years in jail and a $50,000 fine as possibilities.

Charges such as possession with intent to sell, possession in a restricted area (such as a school zone, housing project or day care center), and distribution/intent to distribute may also be tacked on in your case, and in many instances these largely depend on the amount of the drug you were found to possess. Large amounts will generally get a person charged with intent to sell, simply because most of the time individuals do not keep large amounts for personal use. Because of the relative arbitrariness of these charges, however, it is sometimes possible to plead to a lesser charge or get them dismissed in plea negotiations.

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Posted on in Drug Charges

CT defense lawyerTo be convicted of illegal drug possession, the state must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that:

  • You possessed the drugs;
  • What you possessed is actually an illegal drug; and
  • You were aware of the possession.

There are two ways you can get in trouble for illegal drug possession in Connecticut. The first is if you actually possess the drugs, and the other is if you constructively possess the drugs.

What Is Actual Drug Possession?

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