Oklahoma Drug Charges
Unlawful Possession of Marijuana
Depending on the Defendant’s prior record of drug-related convictions, unlawful possession of marijuana can be classified as either a felony or a misdemeanor. Though mainstream society as a whole has generally shown more acceptance towards the possession and use of marijuana, Oklahoma remains one of staunchest opponents to the marijuana culture. Generally, a Defendant will be charged with possession if he or she is found to possess an amount of marijuana that’s small enough to be considered for ‘personal use.’
So long as the Defendant does not have any prior marijuana charges, simple possession of marijuana will almost always be charged as a misdemeanor in Oklahoma. A simple possession of marijuana charge will only subject the Defendant to the possibility of up to one year in county jail and/or a fine. However, it is important to remember that a marijuana charge can also be used in the future to enhance the penalty of any subsequent marijuana charge.
Oklahoma Marijuana Drug Laws
Do not be fooled however, as the state of Oklahoma generally has no qualms with considering even the smallest detectable amount of marijuana capable for personal use. Usually, a Defendant will face a misdemeanor charge and up to one year in prison for a first offense and between two and ten years for each subsequent offense.
There is a common misconception that prosecutors will decide to charge someone with simple possession of a controlled dangerous substance, as opposed to possession with intent, simply based on the amount of marijuana that is found. This is only partly true.
While the weight of marijuana found is a factor that goes into the prosecution's consideration as to whether or not someone possessed weed only for personal use, law enforcement look at other factors as well. Depending on the particular type of drug paraphernalia that is found along with the drugs themselves, the prosecution may allege the paraphernalia as circumstantial evidence that a Defendant meant to distribute the marijuana. This can also occur if the marijuana is found in separate containers.
Possession of Controlled Dangerous Substance (CDS)
Oklahoma drug laws have divided most of the “controlled dangerous substances” (CDS) our society is familiar with into “schedules” or categories based on the supposed addiction risk and potential medical use of each substance.
If a Defendant is found to be in possession of one of the above enumerated substances, he or she could face potential felony or misdemeanor liability depending on the amounts involved. Furthermore, a Defendant can be charged as having either ‘actual’ possession or ‘constructive’ possession, meaning the Defendant had control and dominion over the substance, even if it wasn’t necessarily on his or her person.
Possession of a CDS can also be classified as either a felony or a misdemeanor, and the length of prison terms depends on the number of prior convictions. For marijuana, a first-time offender will only face a misdemeanor charge with a potential sentence of up to one year in the county jail. For all other CDS, a first-time offender will usually face between two and ten years in prison; a conviction for a second or subsequent offense, will usually result in a sentence of between four and twenty years in prison.
Possession of Paraphernalia
In Oklahoma, Possession of drug paraphernalia is a misdemeanor charge, punishable by up to one year of incarceration in the county jail. According to the Oklahoma Uniform Controlled Dangerous Substances Act, paraphernalia refers to:
all equipment, products and materials of any kind which are used, intended for use, or fashioned specifically for use in planting, propagating, cultivating, growing, harvesting, manufacturing, compounding, converting, producing, processing, preparing, testing, analyzing, packaging, repackaging, storing, containing, concealing, injecting, ingesting, inhaling or otherwise introducing into the human body, a controlled dangerous substance.
Consequently, almost any tangible article found in the presence of drugs can be argued as paraphernalia. A Defendant will almost certainly receive a charge of possession of drug paraphernalia any time he or she is found in possession of a controlled dangerous substance.
Possession of Drug Proceeds
Oklahoma is notorious for filing felony charges for possession of proceeds derived from the sale of a controlled dangerous substance. In most situations, regardless of how much cash is found on a person when he or she is arrested for a drug related crime, the prosecution will argue that any cash money recovered is circumstantial evidence that the funds were derived from the sale or purchase of the drugs.
This is mainly due to Oklahoma's extremely harsh and unfair drug forfeiture laws. The prosecution and law enforcement know that they will receive portions of any funds that are confiscated and forfeited by the Defendant during the course of his or her criminal charges. These cases are very common during highway drug interdiction stops.
As such, anyone charged with possession of drug proceeds can face losing even more money (unless he or she can show a valid source for the funds or that they were not used to purchase or sale a CDS) along with the felony consequences of spending between two to ten years in prison.
Possession with Intent to Distribute
In Oklahoma, a conviction for possession with intent to distribute carries heavy prison terms. Moreover, the phrase “with intent to distribute” can be very misleading: a Defendant does not need to actually intend to distribute the CDS if there is enough weight found to infer that the Defendant intends to distribute the substance.
This is based on a legal fallacy that anything more than “personal use” could only reasonably be for the purpose of distribution. Furthermore, Defendants found with a CDS along with scales, bags, twisty-ties, multiple containers of a substance, or packaging supplies can face possible liability for possession with intent to distribute in Oklahoma as well. This offense can result in a felony conviction and can carry lengthy prison terms. See our related page for drug trafficking charges.
It is important to also know the distinction between which controlled dangerous substances are "narcotics" and which ones are not. Some common narcotics are heroin, cocaine, crack, and LSD. Marijuana, meth, PCP, and mushrooms are NOT considered narcotics. This destinction is important, because it can determine the potential punishment range that one may face is charged. In regards to narcotics, possession with intent to distribute can result in a sentence of five years to life in the department of corrections. For all others CDS, possession with intent will only carry a potential prison sentence of two years to life in custody.
Larceny of Controlled Dangerous Substance (CDS)
You can also face charges for stealing a controlled dangerous substance. Now, this does not mean that drug dealers can call the cops and press charges whenever someone has stolen their drugs or ripped them off on a deal. These charges are usually reserved for situations in which someone has stolen CDS from a pharmacy or other location.
This is not to be confused with situations in which someone takes the controlled dangerous substance by force or fear. In those situations, a person can be charges with Obtaining CDS by Robbery, which is punishable by not less than five years in the Oklahoma prison sentence.
In Oklahoma, Larceny of CDS can be punishable by up to ten years in prison.
Obtaining CDS by Fraud
Another common charge that should be distinguished from Larceny of CDS is allegations that one has obtained a CDS by fraud, such as when drugs are obtained from a pharmacy by use of a forged prescription. Individuals can also face charges simply for having a stolen prescription pad in their possession. Simply possessing a forged prescription is does not expose a Defendant to the same amount of liability he or she will face if the forged prescription is actually offered to the pharmacy in an attempt to obtain a controlled dangerous substance.
An individual will face up to ten years in prison for a first-time offense of offering a forged prescription in an attempt to obtain a CDS. For a second offense, a Defendant can face between four to twenty years in prison. Just as important as the potential prison sentence though, a second offense for obtaining CDS by fraud is not eligible for a suspended or deferred sentence. This means you can't get any probation at all.
Call an Oklahoma Drug Lawyer Now
If you or a loved one has been charged with drug charges in Oklahoma, time is of the essence. You need an Oklahoma criminal defense attorney, and you need one right now. Call the Law Offices of Adam R. Banner, P.C., and retain an accomplished attorney ready to fight for your rights. Call us today at (405) 778-4800 for a free consultation.