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Basic Facts You Need to Know About Oklahoma’s New Drug Laws

Basic Facts You Need to Know About Oklahoma’s New Drug Laws

Q: Is simple Possession of Illegal Narcotics (Drugs, CDS) now a misdemeanor?
A: As of July 1, 2017, YES. Possession of small amounts of drugs, including methamphetamine, heroin, cocaine, and marijuana are now considered misdemeanors.

Q: Really?
A: Yes.

Q: How much does “small amount” mean?
A: Any amount that is not an automatic trafficking amount or is packaged or carried in a way that would indicate intent to distribute.

Q: Wait, what?
A: If you possess more than a certain amount of drugs, you can be charged with trafficking. For example, more than 25 pounds of Marijuana, 28 grams of cocaine, 10 grams of heroin, or 20 grams of methamphetamine will typically be charged as trafficking, which is a serious felony.

Q: Whew! I only have 24 pounds of Marijuana, separately packaged, scales and lots of cash on me, only a misdemeanor, right?
A: NO! Possession with Intent to Distribute is also still a serious felony. Possession of smaller amounts of narcotics may still be considered Possession with Intent if there is evidence the narcotics are not just for personal use. Common evidence used to increase the charge to possession with intent are separate packaging, scales, empty baggies, large amounts of cash and admissions of selling or giving away drugs to others. I anticipate an increase in these kinds of charges as cops and prosecutors will be looking to ways increase charges to send people to prison.

Q: It’s only a misdemeanor, I won’t be doing any jail time, right?
A: No one knows yet and it will vary greatly by county. Some areas are very upset by the change, and I anticipate that in some places that even first time offenses for the more serious drugs like methamphetamine may have mandatory jail time. Some areas will be more lenient. In time, we will have a much better idea what to expect. What I can tell you is that an experienced, LOCAL, Criminal Defense Lawyer will be able to give you good advice regarding your particular county. Also, unlike some of the arguments made against making possession a misdemeanor, I do not think it will take many different arrests for possession of methamphetamine before serious jail time will result.

Q: What if it’s my 2nd (3rd, 4th, 10th) time being caught with methamphetamine?
A: Still a misdemeanor, as long as it is only simple possession. However, see the response to the last question regarding potential jail time.

Q: What if I have a prior felony possession of CDS and been to prison?
A: Still a misdemeanor as long as it is only simple possession.

Q: I’ve been arrested for Possession of CDS, what should I do?
A: Contact a local, experienced criminal defense attorney immediately. Better yet, call Faulk Law Firm at (580) 249-9100!

6 Responses

    1. Robert R. Faulk

      James,

      I apologize, but I cannot give advice for a Murray county case or charge as I do not practice there. As a practical matter, any possession charge after July 1, 2017 should be filed as a misdemeanor. Other than that, you should contact a local, experienced criminal defense attorney for specific advice about your case.

    1. Robert R. Faulk

      Angie,

      It is difficult to be able to answer your question as the information you gave was not clear. If you were charged on 11/10/15, but have not yet pled, then the previous statute and punishment range probably applies. While it is arguable that the change in the law is retroactive, I do not think the Court of Criminal Appeals will agree based on other, similar, changes in law. That does not mean that you cannot, or should not try, if your lawyer advises that is the best course. In practice, while I have not argued the change in law should make my felony cases a misdemeanor, I have used it to get very good deals for several of my clients.

      If you are asking me if on an application to accelerate a deferred sentence on a case that has already been pled guilty to, I think it is pretty safe to say the original punishment range would likely apply. Again, theses issues have not been specifically ruled on by the Court of Criminal appeals. With all that said, I encourage you to consult with an experienced, local criminal defense attorney as they will know what is best for your area.

      Please remember, this is general advice that is not specific to your case, as I do not know anything about it. No attorney/client relationship has been established. Thanks for reading!

  1. 1scottsouders1@gmail.com'
    Scott Souders

    I was incarcerated in the comanche county ok detention center for 450 days on poss meth, first and only drug charge in my life. The district atty asked me to lie, bluntly asked me because they wanted a customer at the auto shop i worked at. I did side auto work for the customer also. I was his mechanic, i told that to the da and she said, my first week in jail, that i could go home that day on a suspended sentence, that all i had to say was that i had made purchase from the customer. I told her that i knew nothing of his personal life. She said “so, you dont want to go home today” im not going to commit puurgery, that was day 7 or so. I did 450 days and never got an offer on my case.
    ***less than a gram meth aug 2015 comanche county
    *** was asked to lie on stand by DA
    *** i got 450 days served in county jail and 2 years community sentencing …20 YEARS probation for first drug offence meth under a gram. Please help

    1. Robert R. Faulk

      Scott,

      Unfortunately, I do not practice appellate law, or law in Comanche County. What you say is not surprising to me, as the plea bargaining system is broken. If you had somehow recorded the ADA telling you this, it would have been a great service. I am glad the law is changed and you would have only done a max of 365 days.

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