Connecticut Drug Possession Laws & Penalties

CT drug possession

Erin Field is on your side if you have been charged with drug possession in the state of Connecticut. 

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.

For a phone consultation on any drug possession charge, please call me immediately. I answer my own phone, and I can talk to you right away.

Drug Possession Penalties in Connecticut

Drug possession penalties in Connecticut will vary depending on the drugs, as well as whether this is a first or second offense. 

Penalties for Marijuana Possession in Connecticut

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:


First offense

Up to 1.5 oz in public

No penalty

Under 5 oz in private

No penalty

Over 1.5 oz in public

1 year in jail, up to $2,000 fine

See my Connecticut Marijuana possession defense page for additional details.

C.G.S. § 21-279 – Penalties for Possession of Hallucinogenic Drugs in Connecticut

Substances classified as hallucinogens under the statutes include:

  • LSD/Acid
  • Molly/MMDA/Ecstasy
  • PCP/Angel Dust
  • Mescaline

Possession of Hallucinogenic Drugs carries with it the following penalties if you are found guilty:


First offense

Second offense or subsequent offense

Possession of Hallucinogenic Drugs 

Up to 5 years in jail and up to a $2,000 fine.

Up to 10 years in jail and up to a $50,000 fine.

C.G.S. § 21-279 – Penalties for Possession of Narcotics in Connecticut

Substances classified as narcotics under the statutes include:

  • Heroin
  • Cocaine
  • 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:


First offense

Second offense or subsequent offense

Possession of Narcotics 

Up to 5 years in jail and up to a $2,000 fine.

Up to 10 years in jail and up to a $50,000 fine.

Penalties for All other Drug Categories in Connecticut

Possession of any other illegal controlled substance has the following penalties:


First offense

Second offense or subsequent offense

Possession of Narcotics 

Up to 1 year in jail and up to a $1,000 fine.

Up to 5 years in jail and up to a $3,000 fine.

Possession of Drugs in a School Zone in Connecticut

If you are charged with possession of illegal drugs within 1500 feet of a school or 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.  You could also be near a daycare center, public housing project, park or playground and you'll be charged with this offense.

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 to 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.

C.G.S. § 21a-267 – Drug Paraphernalia 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.

Drug paraphernalia is broadly defined in Connecticut General Statutes § 21a-240(20) to include any equipment, product, material or item used, designed or intended for use in planting, cultivating, harvesting, manufacturing, processing, packaging, ingesting, inhaling or otherwise introducing controlled substances, marijuana or other illegal drugs into the body.

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.

The Connecticut statutes relating to drug paraphernalia can be broken down as such:

  • C.G.S. § 21a-267(a) – Use or possession of drug paraphernalia
  • C.G.S. § 21a-267(b) – Delivery of manufacture of drug paraphernalia
  • C.G.S. § 21a-267(c) – Possession of delivery of drug paraphernalia within 1500′ of a school zone
  • C.G.S. § 21a-267(d) – Use or possession of drug paraphernalia

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 Possession Charge

There are a wide variety of ways to fight and win a drug possession criminal case in Connecticut. A common 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 or car without a reasonable suspicion that you might be in possession of illegal drugs and they cannot search your home without a warrant or your express consent. If they do so, the results of the search may be thrown out, and the case dismissed.

What to do for a first time drug possession charge

For minor charges, such as a 1st offense possession of marijuana charge, the prosecution will sometimes agree to a “Nolle” or nolo prosequi, which means “no prosecution”. The terms of a nolle are that the prosecutor drops the case, and if you do not get charged with another crime in the next 13 months, the charge is dismissed and removed from the court records.

 If you do get in trouble during that 13 months, the prosecutor will 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 Drug Education/Community Service labor programs. Connecticut's Accelerated Rehabilitation program may includes drug treatment, counseling, random drug tests, and community service. The Drug Education Community Service labor program involves classes and community service.  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.

Contact Me Today

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 or text me now for a consultation, and I'll let you know what I can do for you.

(860) 573-0700