Accusations of drug crimes are commonplace in Mississippi, but a charge is not the same as a conviction. The accused has the legal right to a defense, and there’s a lot at stake. Here is a list of potential penalties for each class of drug.
The legal basis for Mississippi drug charges is straightforward. Mississippi Code Title 41. Public Health § 41-29-139 defines transfer and possession with intent to transfer as illegal for any person to knowingly or intentionally “sell, barter, transfer, manufacture, distribute, dispense or possess with intent to sell, barter, transfer, manufacture, distribute or dispense, a controlled substance.”
It is also a criminal offense to employ counterfeit drugs, such as fake prescription pills, in similar activities.
Penalties range from a misdemeanor charge and $250 fine for possessing less than 30 grams of marijuana to felony charges and lengthy jail terms for significant drug busts. The weight of the confiscated drug is a determining factor in the severity of the assessed penalty.
Having drugs in a car introduces an additional penalty. Drivers who permit 30 grams or less of marijuana inside the vehicle may receive a maximum $1,000 fine and 90 days in jail.
A limited quantity of marijuana
The law allows increasingly severe penalties for multiple possession convictions of less than 30 grams of marijuana within two years. The maximum penalties are as follows:
- First offense — $250
- Second offense — $250 and 60 days in jail
- Third offense — $250 and 6 months in jail
The maximum felony penalty for a first offender with 30 grams to less than 1 kilogram is $30,000 and 20 years in jail.
Schedule I and II drugs
Transgressions involving schedule I or II drugs result in felony charges. This category includes heroin, LSD, ecstasy, cocaine, methamphetamine, oxycodone and fentanyl.
Penalties range from $50,000 and eight years in jail for less than 2 grams to $1,000,000 and 30 years for 10 or more grams.
Schedule III and IV drugs
Drugs in these classes include Tylenol with codeine, ketamine, Somax, Darvon and valium. Felony convictions may incur a maximum $250,000 fine and 20 years in prison.
Schedule V drugs
These drugs include Robitussin AC with codeine and Lomotil. Felony penalties include a maximum $50,000 fine and 10 years in prison.
You can mount a legal defense if the state charges you with a drug crime. The prosecutor must prove that you are guilty.