A person charged with mere drug possession can face harsher consequences as a person that assaults another person.
Throughout the years, the State of Iowa has made consequences tougher for drug possession as well as distribution. Second, third, etc. offenders face especially harsh consequences. There are too many different crimes and punishments to go through every one in detail. The attorneys at Johnson and Bonzer, PLC will go through your case in depth with you and explain to you the penalties you are facing. An overview of the most common offenses is explained below:
- The first conviction of drug possession results in a jail sentence up to a year, and a fine up to $1,875.
- If you are convicted of possession of marijuana the penalty is a maximum of 6 months in jail and/or a fine of up to $1000.
- A second offense drug possession conviction can result in a sentence of up to two years in prison and a fine up to $6,250.
- If you are convicted of second offense possession of marijuana the penalty is up to a year in jail and a fine of up to $1875. This reduced sentence only applies if your prior conviction was for marijuana. If you have prior drug convictions involving other substances, you are facing a sentence of up to two years in prison and a fine up to $6250.
- A third offense (and any subsequent) drug possession conviction is a felony with consequences of a prison sentence up to five years and a fine up to $7,500.
- If you are convicted of third offense possession of marijuana the penalty is up to two years in prison and a fine of up to $6250. This reduced sentence only applies if your prior convictions were for marijuana. If you have prior drug convictions involving other substances, you are facing a felony with up to five years in prison and a fine of up to $7,500.
Iowa law treats people the same whether they are manufacturing, possessing with intent to deliver or actually delivering drugs such as methamphetamine, marijuana, or cocaine. Typically, Iowa law looks at the type of drug and the amount of drug involved. Penalties can range from 5 years in prison and up to a $7500 fine to 50 years in prison and a fine of up to one million dollars depending on the amount of drug and the type of drug.
As you can see, just possessing an illegal substance can lead to harsh consequences including lengthy incarceration and substantial fines. In addition to fines, the legislature has imposed certain criminal surcharges, law enforcement surcharges and drug enforcement surcharges that make financial consequences even worse.
When someone is charged is manufacturing or drug dealing, the consequences become even more intense.
Its important to realize that you donâ€™t have to just plead guilty and take the punishment laid out above. Our drug defense attorneys have experience in both pretrial motions and the trial of drug cases. We have offices in Fort Dodge and Marshalltown Iowa and we offer a free initial consultation.
There are several legal issues that can affect the status of your case. For example, if you are charged with drugs found in a car, the prosecution must prove that the drugs belong to you via constructive possession. The State must prove this beyond a reasonable doubt, the highest standard in the legal system. Our Fort Dodge and Marshalltown attorneys are experienced in pointing out the weaknesses of your case at trial. Furthermore, most always, drugs are found by police initiated action. Normally a person doesn't voluntarily turn over drugs to a police officer. Instead, the police officer is initiating police contact with a person either through a traffic stop or a seizure. The police must have a reason to stop you and force you to submit to their authority. If the police donâ€™t have justification to stop you, your attorney can file a motion to suppress and ask that the evidence against you be thrown out because the police officer didn't follow the law. Pretrial Motions to Suppress and other motions are cost effective ways to fight a case because they donâ€™t involve the expense of a jury trial and can sometimes result in dismissal of a case or a plea to a lessor charge.
Further when someone is charged with distribution or manufacturing, the State must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the person was possessing the drug with the intent to deliver it, manufacturing the drug or actually delivered the drug. Attorneys at Johnson and Bonzer, PLC will explore the weaknesses in the State's case. We will look at whether the substance was packaged in a way that it intended to be delivered, whether the person charged had a large amount of money on them, as well as whether there were scales and other tools to package and distribute the drug.
Even if you decide it is in your interest to plead guilty, you want an experienced attorney working on your behalf. Many times your attorney can negotiate with a prosecutor to get a reduced charge or the minimum sentence for what you are charged with. Another option, especially if this is your first offense is a deferred judgment. With a deferred judgment you would plead guilty but judgment would be deferred and you would be placed on probation for a period of time. If you have no violations of the law, the charge would be expunged from your record. This is a great option for young clients whom have a bright future ahead of them, as they still can be eligible for financial aid and other college funding. Contact a qualified Iowa Drug defense lawyer at 515-955-2193 or toll free 855-955-2193.
Johnson, Bonzer and Barnaby PLC
809 Central Avenue
Fort Dodge, Iowa 50501
103 South 2nd Avenue
Marshalltown, Iowa 50158