The Connecticut State Legislature has taken significant steps in recent years to reduce the severity of penalties for drug possession offenses. Still, being charged with any drug-related crime can seriously affect you and your future. This is especially true if you are charged with unlawfully making, selling, or possessing controlled substances with the intent to distribute. These offenses are almost always prosecuted as felonies.
Trying to fight any criminal allegation without assistance from legal counsel is ill-advised. No matter what specific charges you face, guidance from a Norwich drug lawyer could be vital in achieving the best possible resolution to your case. The team at Ruane Attorneys is here to listen to your situation and help determine an effective strategy moving forward.
How State Law Classifies “Controlled Substances”
Per Connecticut General Statutes § 21a-243, the state follows the guidelines established under the U.S. Controlled Substances Act for categorizing various controlled substances. While Connecticut makes few exceptions to the federal guidelines, it does diverge from federal law regarding the legalization of marijuana possession in Connecticut for personal use.
Possessing up to 1.5 ounces of marijuana in public and up to 5 ounces in one’s private residence is now legal. Since October 1, 2021, medical marijuana patients may also grow up to three immature and three mature plants at home, although there is a cap of 12 plants per household. From July 1, 2023, growing marijuana under these rules will be legal for all adults. Possessing marijuana above these limits can lead to a civil infraction or misdemeanor charge, as our Norwich drug attorneys can explain.
Different Types of Drug Offenses in Norwich
The same changes to state law that largely legalized possession of marijuana for personal use also downgraded first-time possession of other controlled substances. In most situations, this offense is now a Class A misdemeanor rather than a felony, with enhanced penalties only if the possession occurs on or within 1,500 feet of a public school or childcare center. Second-time offenders may be subject to mandatory substance abuse treatment. Third-time and other repeat lawbreakers may be treated as “persistent offenders” and sanctioned accordingly.
Additionally, anyone who manufactures, distributes, sells, unlawfully prescribes or dispenses, transports or possesses with intent to sell, or unlawfully administers a controlled substance to another person may be subject to multiple years in prison and tens of thousands of dollars in fines under Conn. Gen. Stat. § 21a-277.
Furthermore, repeat offenders or people convicted of offenses involving narcotic or hallucinogenic substances can be subject to enhanced penalties. Those charged with any drug-related crime should consult a lawyer at our firm to learn their legal options and begin building a defense.
Seek Help From a Norwich Drug Attorney
Allegations of a drug-related crime must be dealt with proactively, even if your offense is considered a misdemeanor or an infraction instead of a felony. Minor convictions can remain on your criminal record long after your case concludes. Having one or more past drug convictions can lead to substantially harsher sanctions if you are accused of a similar offense in the future.
Let a Norwich drug lawyer help resolve your situation while minimizing the impact on your life. Call Ruane Attorneys today to schedule a consultation.