Connecticut Cocaine Drug Laws

Definition of the Drug

Cocaine is classified as a “narcotic substance” under Connecticut law. Conn. Gen. Stat. § 21a-240.

Conn. Gen. Stat. § 21a-240

(30) “Narcotic substance” means any of the following, whether produced directly or indirectly by extraction from substances of vegetable origin, or independently by means of chemical synthesis, or by a combination of extraction and chemical synthesis: (A) Morphine-type: (i) Opium and opiate, and any salt, compound, derivative, or preparation of opium or opiate which are similar thereto in chemical structure or which are similar thereto in physiological effect and which show a like potential for abuse, which are controlled substances under this chapter unless modified; (ii) any salt, compound, isomer, derivative, or preparation thereof which is chemically equivalent or identical with any of the substances referred to in clause (i), but not including the isoquinoline alkaloids of opium; (iii) opium poppy and poppy straw; (B) cocaine-type, coca leaves and any salt, compound, derivative or preparation of coca leaves, and any salt, compound, isomer, derivatives or preparation thereof which is chemically equivalent or identical with any of these substances or which are similar thereto in physiological effect and which show a like potential for abuse, but not including decocainized coca leaves or extractions of coca leaves which do not contain cocaine or ecgonine;

Possession Generally

Please see our pages on possession for a detailed discussion on what act or acts constitute possession.

Simple Possession

Possession of cocaine, because of its classification as a narcotic, carries the harshest penalties under Connecticut law. There is no charge equating to misdemeanor or “simple” possession of a narcotic. Possession of any amount of cocaine, no matter how small, is classified as a felony offense.

Felony Possession

Felonies are the most serious crimes in any system of criminal law. A standard definition of a felony is any crime punishable by more than one year in prison or by death.

Often the offense itself is not labeled as a felony, but the punishment tells the public that the offense is a felony. Additionally, statutes may label a crime a "gross" or "aggravated" misdemeanor but provide for a sentence of more than one year in the state penitentiary system, ensuring that the offense is treated as felony in many respects.

A person convicted of a felony may have more restrictions on their rights than a person convicted of a lesser crime. In many jurisdictions, felons cannot serve on juries. Often times they lose their right to vote or to practice certain professions, such as lawyer or teacher. Felons may be prohibited from owning guns or serving in the military.

Penalties for Cocaine Possession

For a first conviction of cocaine possession, you can face up to 7 years in jail and up to a 50,000 fine.
For a second conviction of cocaine possession, you can face up to 15 years in jail and up to a $100,000 fine.
For a third (or subsequent) conviction of cocaine possession, you can face up to 25 years in jail and up to a $250,000 fine. c. Statutory Text

Conn. Gen. Stat. § 21a-279. Penalty for illegal possession.

(a) Any person who possesses or has under his control any quantity of any narcotic substance, except as authorized in this chapter, for a first offense, may be imprisoned not more than seven years or be fined not more than fifty thousand dollars, or be both fined and imprisoned; and for a second offense, may be imprisoned not more than fifteen years or be fined not more than one hundred thousand dollars, or be both fined and imprisoned; and for any subsequent offense, may be imprisoned not more than twenty-five years or be fined not more than two hundred fifty thousand dollars, or be both fined and imprisoned.

Possession with Intent to Sell
Please see our pages on possession with intent to see for a detailed discussion on what act or acts constitute this crime.

Penalties for Possession of Cocaine with Intent to Sell

a. Sale of any amount of narcotics by a Drug Dependant Person. Conn. Gen. Stat. 21-a277(a).

For a first conviction of cocaine possession with intent to sell you are facing up to 15 years in prison and up to a $50,000 fine.

For a second conviction of cocaine possession with intent to sell you are facing up to 30 years in prison and up to a $100,000 fine.

For a third (or subsequent) conviction of cocaine possession with intent to sell you are facing up to 30 years in prison or up to a $250,000 fine.

There is also an alternative sentence of up to a 3 year indeterminate sentence with conditional release.
b. Sale of any amount of narcotics by a non-drug dependant person. Conn. Gen. Stat. § 21a-278(b).

For a first conviction of the sale of any amount of narcotics by a non-drug dependant person you are facing a mandatory minimum of 5 years and up to 20 years in prison.
For a second or subsequent conviction of the sale of any amount of narcotics by a non-drug dependant person you are facing a mandatory minimum of 10 years and up to 25 years in prison.

c. Sale of at least 1/2 ounce of cocaine. Conn. Gen. Stat. § 21a- 278(a).

For a first conviction of the sale of at least 1/2 ounce of cocaine you are facing mandatory minimum of 5 years and up to 20 years in prison.
For a second or subsequent conviction of the sale of at least 1/2 ounce of cocaine you are facing a maximum of life in prison.

Relevant Statutes

§ 21a-277. Penalty for illegal manufacture, distribution, sale, prescription, dispensing

(a) Any person who manufactures, distributes, sells, prescribes, dispenses, compounds, transports with the intent to sell or dispense, possesses with the intent to sell or dispense, offers, gives or administers to another person any controlled substance which is a hallucinogenic substance other than marijuana, or a narcotic substance, except as authorized in this chapter, for a first offense, shall be imprisoned not more than fifteen years and may be fined not more than fifty thousand dollars or be both fined and imprisoned; and for a second offense shall be imprisoned not more than thirty years and may be fined not more than one hundred thousand dollars, or be both fined and imprisoned; and for each subsequent offense, shall be imprisoned not more than thirty years and may be fined not more than two hundred fifty thousand dollars, or be both fined and imprisoned.

(d) As an alternative to the sentences specified in subsections (a) and (b) of this section, the court may sentence the person to the custody of the Commissioner of Correction for an indeterminate term not to exceed three years or the maximum term specified for the offense, whichever is the lesser, and, at any time within such indeterminate term and without regard to any other provision of law regarding minimum term of confinement, the Commissioner of Correction may release the convicted person so sentenced subject to such conditions as he may impose including, but not limited to, supervision by suitable authority. At any time during such indeterminate term, the Commissioner of Correction may revoke any such conditional release in his discretion for violation of the conditions imposed and return the convicted person to a correctional institution.

§ 21a-278. Penalty for illegal manufacture, distribution, sale, prescription or administration by non-drug-dependent person

(a) Any person who manufactures, distributes, sells, prescribes, dispenses, compounds, transports with the intent to sell or dispense, possesses with the intent to sell or dispense, offers, gives or administers to another person one or more preparations, compounds, mixtures or substances containing an aggregate weight of one ounce or more of heroin or methadone or an aggregate weight of one-half ounce or more of cocaine or one-half ounce or more of cocaine in a free-base form, or a substance containing five milligrams or more of lysergic acid diethylamide, except as authorized in this chapter, and who is not, at the time of such action, a drug-dependent person, shall be imprisoned for a minimum term of not less than five years or more than twenty years; and, a maximum term of life imprisonment. The execution of the mandatory minimum sentence imposed by the provisions of this subsection shall not be suspended, except the court may suspend the execution of such mandatory minimum sentence if at the time of the commission of the offense (1) such person was under the age of eighteen years, or (2) such person's mental capacity was significantly impaired, but not so impaired as to constitute a defense to prosecution.

(b) Any person who manufactures, distributes, sells, prescribes, dispenses, compounds, transports with the intent to sell or dispense, possesses with the intent to sell or dispense, offers, gives or administers to another person any narcotic substance, hallucinogenic substance other than marijuana, amphetamine-type substance, or one kilogram or more of a cannabis-type substance, except as authorized in this chapter, and who is not, at the time of such action, a drug-dependent person, for a first offense shall be imprisoned not less than five years or more than twenty years; and for each subsequent offense shall be imprisoned not less than ten years or more than twenty-five years. The execution of the mandatory minimum sentence imposed by the provisions of this subsection shall not be suspended, except the court may suspend the execution of such mandatory minimum sentence if at the time of the commission of the offense (1) such person was under the age of eighteen years, or (2) such person's mental capacity was significantly impaired, but not so impaired as to constitute a defense to prosecution.

Possession Near a Prohibited Place

Please see our pages on possession near a prohibited for a detailed discussion on what act or acts constitute this crime.

Penalties for Possession Near a Prohibited Place

You are facing up to 3 years in prison, to be served consecutively in addition to any prison time for the underlying offense.

Relevant Statutes

§ 21a-278a. Penalty for illegal manufacture, distribution, sale, prescription or administration

(b) Any person who violates section 21a-277 or 21a-278 by manufacturing, distributing, selling, prescribing, dispensing, compounding, transporting with the intent to sell or dispense, possessing with the intent to sell or dispense, offering, giving or administering to another person any controlled substance in or on, or within one thousand five hundred feet of, the real property comprising a public or private elementary or secondary school, a public housing project or a licensed child day care center, as defined in section 19a-77, that is identified as a child day care center by a sign posted in a conspicuous place shall be imprisoned for a term of three years, which shall not be suspended and shall be in addition and consecutive to any term of imprisonment imposed for violation of section 21a-277 or 21a-278. To constitute a violation of this subsection, an act of transporting or possessing a controlled substance shall be with intent to sell or dispense in or on, or within one thousand five hundred feet of, the real property comprising a public or private elementary or secondary school, a public housing project or a licensed child day care center, as defined in section 19a-77, that is identified as a child day care center by a sign posted in a conspicuous place. For the purposes of this subsection, “public housing project” means dwelling accommodations operated as a state or federally subsidized multifamily housing project by a housing authority, nonprofit corporation or municipal developer, as defined in section 8-39, pursuant to chapter 128 or by the Connecticut Housing Authority pursuant to chapter 129.

The Drug Dependant Person

Please see our pages on the drug dependant person for a detailed discussion.

Conspiracy

Please see our pages on the drug dependant person for a detailed discussion.



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