Basic Drug Crime Info
The most common drug crimes are “possession of a controlled substance” and “illegal distribution/sale of a controlled substance”. “Possession” crimes and their penalties are defined in Conn. Gen. Stat. § 21a-279. Sale or Distribution crimes and their penalties are defined in Conn. Gen. Stat. § 21a-278 (non-drug dependent) and § 21a-277 (drug dependent) respectively.
For certain categories of highly addictive drugs (narcotics, amphetamines, and hallucinogens) Connecticut has chosen to impose lighter prison sentences in lieu of treatment and rehabilitation for a defendant deemed to be “drug dependent” at the time of their sale or attempted sale of a controlled substance. The legislature has separated the crime of “sale or distribution of a controlled substance” into two sections (§§21a-277 & 21a-278). Conn. Gen. Stat. § 21a-277 covers the “Penalty for illegal manufacture, distribution, sale, prescription, dispensing”, while “ Conn. Gen. Stat. § 21a-278 covers the “Penalty for illegal manufacture, distribution, sale, prescription or administration by non-drug-dependent person”. 21a-278 includes those highly addictive drugs and includes enhanced penalties for having significant amounts of those drugs that the legislature has deemed inappropriate for someone who is deemed a drug dependent person. For more information on this important distinction see the section on “the drug dependent person & alternative sentencing and treatment programs”.
In addition to these basic crimes, Connecticut seeks to protect the interests of children with the aggravating offenses contained in Conn. Gen. Stat. § 21a-278a. These offenses, selling to a person under 18 years of age, selling within 1500 feet of a school zone, and employing a person under 18 to sell, all carry mandatory minimum sentences to be added onto any penalties for the underlying offense.