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Connecticut Drug Possession Laws & Penalties
Connecticut drug possession laws are very serious, and the punishments can be strict. Any criminal conviction can follow you for the rest of your life, and affect your future opportunities in countless ways.
Consult with an experienced criminal defense lawyer who knows how to challenge drug possession charges, and give you every opportunity to keep you from getting a criminal record or minimizing the penalties you may face if you plead guilty.
Drug Possession Penalties in Connecticut
Marijuana Possession – Penalties
Marijuana possession in Connecticut was decriminalized for quantities under half an ounce. But prosecutions for more than 1/2 ounce are still common and can be harsh.
Possession of Marijuana carries the following penalties under Connecticut Law if you are found guilty:
|Possession of Marijuana Penalties||First Offense||Second or Subsequent Offense|
|Under 1/2 oz||
|1/2 oz to 4 oz||
|4oz or more||
See my Connecticut Marijuana possession defense page for additional details.
Hallucinogen Drugs – Penalties
Substances classified as hallucinogens under the statutes include:
- PCP/Angel Dust
Possession of Hallucinogenic Drugs carries with it the following penalties if you are found guilty:
|Possession of Dangerous Hallucinogens – Penalties||First Offense||Second or Subsequent Offense|
Possession of Narcotics – Penalties
Substances classified as narcotics under the statutes include:
- Crack Cocaine
Possession of Narcotics is a specific criminal drug possession class that includes, heroin, cocaine, and crack cocaine. Narcotics possession carries the stiffest possible drug possession penalties under Connecticut law. The penalties if you are found guilty are:
|Possession of Narcotics – Penalties||First Offense||Second Offense||Third or Subsequent Offense|
All other Drug Categories – Possession Penalties
Other Connecticut Drug Possession Penalties. Possession of any other illegal controlled substance has the following penalties:
|First Offense||Second or Subsequent Offense|
|Possession of all other Drugs/ Controlled Substances – Penalties||
Possession of Drugs in a School Zone
If you are charged with possession of illegal drugs within 1500 feet of a schoolor day care center, there is a mandatory 2 year jail sentence for possession of drugs within a school zone, in addition to any other penalties listed here.
You can be charged with a school zone violation even if you had no idea you were within a school zone. You could be inside an apartment that happens to be next to a school, and be facing a mandatory 2 years in jail.
But there are school zone drug violation defenses. We can dispute the proximity, to a school, day care center, park, or other zone, with expert testimony. I could get an investigator can measure the distance exactly and testify to that fact in court if we believe you were outside of that legal zone.
A school zone drug possession violation, under Connecticut law, must be served consecutively with any other sentence.
Possession of Drug Paraphernalia – Penalties
Possession of Drug Paraphernalia (pipes, bongs, spoons, scales, etc.) is considered a Class C Misdemeanor, with a maximum sentence of 3 months in jail.
Many common, household substances may be characterized as paraphernalia by the police. Do you have a small spoon for your espresso? Do you have a plastic sandwich bag? A bent coke can with a hole in it? The police can easily jump to conclusions and overcharge this offense when it is unwarranted and unsupported by the facts.
Under Connecticut law, The Sale of Drug Paraphernalia is a Class A Misdemeanor, with a maximum sentence of 1 year in jail.
How to Beat Your Connecticut Drug Charge
There are a wide variety of ways to fight and win a drug possession criminal case in Connecticut. A common successful tactic is to challenge the search and file a motion of illegal search and seizure. The police do not have the right to search your person, car or home without a warrant, or a reasonable suspicion that you might be in possession of illegal drugs. If they do so, the results of the search must be thrown out, and the case dismissed.
For minor charges, such as a 1st offense possession of marijuana charge, the prosecution will often agree to a “Nolle” or nolo prosequi, which means “no prosecution”. The terms of a nolle are the prosecutor drops the case, and if you do not get charged with another crime in the next 13 months, the charge is dropped and removed from the court records. If you do get in trouble during that 13 months, the prosecutor can refile the original charge, and the consequences may be much more serious.
In many drug cases there are other alternative dispositions available for 1st offense drug possession charges, such as Accelerated Rehabilitation, and Community Service labor programs. Connecticut’s Accelerated Rehabilitation program usually includes drug treatment, counseling, random drug tests, and community service. The Community Service labor program involves working for at least 2 and up to 30 days on projects such as cleaning up trash in the community. We can discuss these and work out a deal that you can live with, and that will give you a chance to get your charges dismissed after you are able to complete these programs.
These are just a few examples of how I might defend drug possessions charges, but it really depends on the facts of the case. Call me for a consultation, and I’ll let you know what I can do for you.
Additional References: Connecticut Drug Laws & Policies