Drug Crime Lawyers in Canadian County, Oklahoma
Oklahoma classifies drugs according to the federal Controlled Substance Act (CSA) into five categories, which are labeled schedules. Schedule 1 drugs are considered to have the highest potential for abuse and physical and psychological dependence.
Schedule I includes heroin, LSD (lysergic acid diethylamide), and marijuana. Oklahoma does allow the medical use of marijuana, but not recreational use, which 21 other states do allow. Voters rejected a recreational use initiative in March 2023.
Both federal and state authorities have jurisdiction over controlled substances, and Oklahoma is known for giving out harsh penalties. The state is considered a major drug trafficking route along Interstate 35, which traverses north to south, and along I-40, which travels east to west.
People traveling through the state in the possession of a controlled substance, even if just for personal use, may end up with a drug trafficking charge depending on the quantity they possess. Quantity is the determining factor – intent to sell or distribute might not matter. While mere possession is a misdemeanor in Oklahoma, trafficking, along with sale and distribution, is a felony.
If you or a loved one is being investigated for, or charged with, a drug crime in or around Canadian County, Oklahoma, contact the criminal defense team at The Handley Law Center. We have the knowledge, experience, and resources to help you achieve the best possible result. We also proudly serve clients throughout the state, including Custer, Blaine, Kingfisher, and Caddo counties.
Federal Drug Enforcement
The federal government policies for drug crimes using the Controlled Substance Act (CSA) of 1971, which ranks drugs by their medical value and potential for abuse. Schedule I, which still includes marijuana, is considered the most dangerous and of the least value in medical terms. Here’s a brief breakdown of the CSA schedules:
Schedule I: Heroin, LSD, Marijuana, Methaqualone.
Schedule II: Morphine, PCP, Cocaine.
Schedule III: Anabolic Steroids, Codeine, Hydrocodone, and some Barbiturates.
Schedule IV: Most Benzodiazepines such as Valium and Xanax.
Schedule V: Over-the-counter cough medicines with Codeine.
The U.S. government enforces controlled substances through the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) and even the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). Though most drug arrests will be done by state authorities, federal agencies will get involved in certain circumstances, including when:
You cross state lines in possession of a controlled substance.
You’re caught possessing or distributing a controlled substance on federal government property, even a U.S. park.
You sell or transport a controlled substance through the U.S. mail or private delivery service.
You import a controlled substance into the U.S. even if you have a valid prescription.
Oklahoma Drug Enforcement
Mere possession of a controlled substance in Oklahoma is considered a misdemeanor punishable by up to one year behind bars and a fine of up to $1,000 unless certain amounts are exceeded. The penalty does not rise for subsequent offenses and remains at one year/$ 1,000 per offense.
Possessing drug paraphernalia is likewise subject to a penalty of one year’s imprisonment and a fine of up to $1,000, but subsequent offenses do increase the fine amounts. A second offense can be subject to a $5,000 fine, and a third to a $10,000 fine.
However, the state does carve out an exemption for persons who have a medical marijuana license. State law does not specify any qualifying medical conditions for a marijuana license, but states that “the patient/applicant is recommended a medical marijuana license according to the accepted standards a reasonable and prudent physician would follow...."
As mentioned above, if you are caught in possession of an excessive amount of any controlled substance, you can be charged with drug trafficking, a felony that is punishable by two years to life in prison and a fine of up to $500,000, though the penalties once again depend on the quantity/volume and the substance in question.
Most people believe that you must be involved in the manufacture, sale, or distribution of a controlled substance to be charged with drug trafficking, but in Oklahoma, mere possession of a certain amount can be construed as drug trafficking. The volume/quantity standards that can result in a drug trafficking charge include:
Marijuana – 25 pounds
Amphetamine or methamphetamine – 20 grams
Benzodiazepine – 500 grams
Cocaine – 28 grams
Cocaine base (crack) – 5 grams
Heroin – 10 grams
Hydrocodone – 3,750 grams
LSD – 50 doses
MDMA/Ecstasy – 30 tabs or 10 grams
Morphine – 1,000 grams
Oxycodone – 400 grams
PCP – 1 ounce (about 28 grams)
You also need to be aware of the legal standard of constructive possession. For example, you may be driving along I-40 with a friend as a passenger, and police pull you over for a violation. The officer asks to search your vehicle, and you agree.
During the search, the officer discovers 30 grams of cocaine in the passenger’s door pocket or in the glove compartment, but you had no knowledge of this. Under the principle of constructive possession, so long as you have the means to control what’s in your purview, though you do not have actual physical possession, you can be held liable.
Drug Crime Attorneys in Canadian County, Oklahoma
As you can see from the above discussion, Oklahoma takes drug crimes very seriously. The criminal defense attorneys at The Handley Law Center stand ready to help you exercise your full rights. We can present your side of the story to prosecutors in an attempt to get the charges lowered or even dropped. Contact us immediately if you’re being investigated for or charged with a drug-related crime.