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When Can a Drug Charge Go Beyond Possession in Wisconsin?

Posted on in Drug Crimes

Milwaukee criminal defense law firmMilwaukee, WI drug crimes defense lawyerBy Attorney Cameron Weitzner and Paralegal Rachel Sweet

A large portion of drug-related arrests and convictions in Wisconsin involve the crime of drug possession. The penalties for a first offense of possession of a controlled substance are relatively minor, typically including a fine between $1,000 and $5,000 and jail time of six months to one year, depending on the type of drug. However, under certain circumstances, an arrest for drug possession could result in more serious consequences, particularly if there is evidence of possessing the drug for something other than one’s personal use. When you are facing felony drug charges, an attorney can help you protect your rights.

What Qualifies as Possession With Intent to Distribute or Manufacture?

Unlike simple possession, the crime of possession with intent to manufacture, distribute, or deliver a controlled substance is always considered at least a Class I felony in Wisconsin, meaning that a conviction can result in a sentence of up to 42 months in prison and a fine of up to $10,000. However, the penalties can greatly increase in severity based on the schedule or type of substance and the amount possessed. The most serious crimes of this nature, involving large amounts of heroin, cocaine, or methamphetamine, are charged as Class C felonies with fines up to $100,000 and up to 40 years of imprisonment.

This raises the question of when the prosecution can levy charges of intent to manufacture or distribute against a defendant. There is not necessarily a hard and fast rule, but according to Wisconsin law statutes, possible evidence of intent includes possession of large amounts of a substance with high monetary value, possession of equipment or paraphernalia used to manufacture or distribute controlled substances, and the defendant’s own actions and statements.

Defense Against Charges of Possession With Intent

If you are arrested for an offense related to possession of a controlled substance, you can position yourself for a more favorable outcome by knowing and exercising your constitutional rights. For example, your right to protection from self-incrimination means that you do not have to answer a law enforcement officer’s questions, and your right to an attorney means that you can consult with a qualified legal professional and have them represent you in court.

Given that a conviction requires a prosecutor to demonstrate your intent, a skilled criminal defense attorney can have a substantial impact on the outcome of your case. Your attorney can contest the reliability or validity of the prosecution’s evidence and help you present evidence and testimony that gives you the best chance of avoiding a conviction or reducing your sentence.

Contact a Milwaukee Drug Charge Defense Lawyer

Facing drug charges of any kind can be incredibly stressful, and a felony conviction can be especially difficult to recover from. To learn how an experienced Milwaukee criminal defense attorney can protect your rights and work to ensure your fair treatment under the law, contact Gimbel, Reilly, Guerin & Brown, LLP today at 414-271-1440.

Sources:

https://docs.legis.wisconsin.gov/statutes/statutes/961/iv

https://docs.legis.wisconsin.gov/statutes/statutes/939/iv/50

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