Using, possessing, controlling, manufacturing, and distributing controlled substances in our state is illegal, and constitutes a crime that falls under the general purview of “drug crimes” in Rhode Island. Drug crimes are very serious, and can even result in federal penalties in some cases. At the Law Office of Jay Bianco, our drug crimes lawyer cares about you and wants to help you if you’re facing criminal charges. For a consultation with our law firm, please call us today or send us a message telling us about your charges.
Drug Crimes in Rhode Island
Drug crimes in our state are outlined under Title 21 – Food and Drugs, Article 21-28-4.01, Offenses and Penalties. Per the statute, the following acts are prohibited in our state:
- Manufacture of a controlled substance. The manufacture of a controlled substance typically refers to the production of a controlled substance or illegal substance by means of natural extraction or chemical synthesis. For example, cultivating marijuana and manufacturing methamphetamines are both illegal.
- Delivery of a controlled substance. As found in Rhode Island General Laws, the same section of code cited above, delivery refers to the “actual, constructive, or attempted transfer of a controlled substance or imitation controlled substance.” Often times, delivery is used synonymously with sale of a controlled substance, although money does not need to change hands in order for a delivery crime to occur.
- Possession of a controlled substance. Drug possession typically means to have a controlled substance under one’s control, even if the drug is not actually on the person or is not being used by the person. For example, if an individual has a bag of cocaine at home in their drawer and they are aware of that bag of cocaine and in its control, they may be found guilty of possession.
- Possession with the intent to manufacture or deliver a controlled substance. Finally, not only is it a crime to possess a controlled substance, but the possession of a controlled substance with the intent to deliver or manufacture (a controlled substance) is also a crime.
What Is a Controlled Substance?
The above definitions beg the question–especially for someone who has been accused of one of the above–what exactly is a controlled substance? Per Rhode Island code, a controlled substance is a “drug, substance, immediate precursor, or synthetic drug in schedules I – V…” This refers to a number of different common drugs, as well as less common drugs or drugs available by prescription, including cocaine, heroin, methamphetamines, codeine, hydrocodone, ketamine, anabolic steroids, and many more.
What About Marijuana?
Marijuana, and its possession and distribution, is certainly illegal at the federal level; marijuana is a schedule I drug. However, many states have legalized or decriminalized marijuana, including the state of Rhode Island. That does not mean, though, that the possession or distribution of marijuana isn’t sometimes penalized harshly. The following outlines the penalties for marijuana-related crimes in Rhode Island:
- Possession of less than one ounce: civil violation – fine of up to $150
- Possession of between one ounce and one kilogram – up to one year incarceration; fine of up to $500
- Sale or cultivation of less than one kilogram – felony – up to 30 years imprisonment; fine of up to $100,000
- Sale or cultivation of between one and five kilograms – felony – mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years and up to 50 years imprisonment; fine of up to $500,000.
Penalties for Other Drug Crimes in Our State
Drug crimes can range in how they are penalized. To be sure, consider that the penalty for possession with intent to deliver a schedule I or schedule II substance (with the exception of marijuana) is a felony offense that can result in a term of life imprisonment or a fine of up to $500,000.
On the other hand, the possession of a controlled substance that is any schedule I-V (with the exception of marijuana) will result in a sentence of imprisonment for up to three years, or a fine of between $500 and $5,000.
Defenses to Drug Crimes in Rhode Island
If you have been charged with a drug crime in Rhode Island, being convicted of the crime could result in severe penalties, and could be an event that changes the course of your life forever. As such, you need a skilled drug crimes defense attorney on your side who has experience working on cases like yours. Attorney Jay Bianco will work hard to build your case and help you to explore all viable defense options. Some common defenses to drug crime charges in Rhode Island include:
- Lack of intent to distribute or manufacturer. The prosecution must prove that you had intent to distribute or manufacture in order to secure a conviction of this charge. You may be able to prove that while you were in possession of the drug in question, you lacked any intent to distribute or manufacturer.
- Lack of knowledge of possession. If you have been accused of possession of a controlled substance, you may be able to prove that you had no knowledge of such possession – for example, perhaps the drugs were planted, or belong to another person.
- Legal possession. You may have a prescription for the drugs in question or are otherwise legally in possession of them (i.e. transporting them for someone who does have a valid prescription).
- Lack of legally obtained evidence. Finally, if evidence against you was obtained illegally, our lawyer will be sure to make this known to the court. Any evidence obtained in violation of your constitutional rights cannot be used against you.
Call the Law Office of Jay Bianco Today for Help with Your DUI/DWI Criminal Defense Case
Drug charges can be very serious, resulting in prison time, large fines, and other serious consequences. If you have been charged with a drug crime in Providence, our lawyer wants to make sure that you get the legal representation that you are entitled to. Our lawyer believes that all people are innocent until proven guilty, and will aggressively advocate to protect your rights and secure the best case outcome possible. To learn more, please schedule a case consultation by calling us directly today or sending us a message online.