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Penalties for Drug Possession






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Jul 23, 2015

Penalties for Drug Possession

In our last blog post, we outlined how Maine categorizes certain drugs into four different “Schedules.” Schedule W includes dangerous, highly addictive, drugs that have little to no medicinal purpose, like cocaine and heroin. Schedule X includes addictive drugs and other hallucinogens that pose less of a threat, or have a higher medicinal value, than Schedule W drugs. The substances listed in Schedule Y include predominantly prescription drugs. Schedule Z is a catch-all category, that includes all other prescription and non-prescription drugs not included in the other three Schedules, including marijuana.

The drugs that are listed in these Schedules are given in great detail. Other portions of Maine’s drug laws refer to these Schedules constantly, rather than list all the illegal drugs over again. This is particularly helpful for the portion of Maine’s drug laws that deals with the penalties you could face for possessing certain types of drugs. Rather than set a specific penalty for each type of drug, penalties are given according to which Schedule the drug falls into. For example, the table below deals with misdemeanor drug penalties only. As we’ll discuss in future blog posts, you can be charged with felony level crimes for possession of certain drugs or in cases where drugs exceed a certain prescribed amount.

Misdemeanor Possession Charges Jail time Fine
Schedule W Class D Up to 364 days $400.00 – $2,000.00
Schedule X Class D Up to 364 days $400.00 – $2,000
Schedule Y Class E Up to 6 months $400.00 – $1,000
Schedule Z Class E Up to 6 months $400.00 – $1,000

As always, certain drugs or amounts of specific drugs carry stiffer penalties due as they are considered felonies. For example, possession of certain Schedule W drugs carry a stiffer penalty. If the Schedule W drug possession charge is for more than 14 grams of cocaine or methamphetamine, or for more than four grams of cocaine base, then, instead of facing a Class D misdemeanor charge, you’ll be faced with a Class B felony charge, which comes with a maximum of ten years in prison, and a $20,000 fine, if convicted. Additionally, a Schedule W drug possession charge for heroin, oxycodone, hydrocodone, or hydromorphone is a Class C felony, rather than a Class D misdemeanor. Penalties for possessing these drugs include up to five years in jail, and a $5,000 fine. Note that both of these charges are felonies – having a felony drug conviction on your criminal history is much, much more serious than having a misdemeanor drug conviction.

This table also does not account for the complexities that come with a drug possession charge for marijuana. While marijuana is a Schedule Z drug, the charges that you can face increase substantially, depending on how much of the drug you possess while arrested. You could be facing as much as ten years in prison and a $20,000 fine for a Class B felony crime for marijuana possession. We’ll cover marijuana possession in much more detail in a later blog post.

Attorney William T. Bly specializes in criminal defense in the state of Maine. He has years of experience defending people against charges of drug possession, and has accumulated a track record of success. Call his law office at (207) 571-8146.



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