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Drug Crimes

Jackson County Litigator Defends Individuals Accused of Drug Crimes

Kansas City attorney handles matters involving alleged possession and sale

Over the last several years, many states have rethought their approach to prosecuting drug crimes, but Missouri still maintains strict laws prohibiting the possession and sale of controlled dangerous substances. Regardless of the particular substance, drug charges are very serious and once you’ve been arrested, it’s critical to retain an experienced defense attorney to safeguard your rights. Located in Kansas City, Howard L. Lotven, P.C. has taken on police and prosecutors for more than 35 years to give accused clients the best chance to overcome the allegations brought against them. 

Which criminal charges relate to controlled substances in Missouri?

Missouri is known for its tough drug laws. My firm delivers strong advocacy against all types of substance-related prosecutions involving charges such as:

  • Possession — Aside from cases involving small amounts of marijuana, unlawful possession of a controlled dangerous substance is a Class D felony. This means that a sentence could run as long as seven years. Though typical sentences do not last that long, it is critical to retain an attorney who can challenge illegally obtained evidence and effectively raise any other available defenses.   
  • Distribution, intent to sell and trafficking — Distributing an illegal drug or possessing an illegal drug with the intent to sell it is a Class C felony. When the amount reaches a certain level given the law for particular drugs, the prosecutor can bring a second- or first-degree trafficking charge. As a Class A felony, someone convicted of the most serious count could be imprisoned for up to 30 years. 
  • Driving under the influence of drugs — As an accomplished defender of motorists charged with DWI and other traffic violations, I understand how to advocate for people accused of driving under the influence of drugs. These cases can be trickier than drunk-driving prosecutions, because there is no objective intoxication test. You can be arrested if the officer believes your driving has been impaired.

For these counts, as well as other drug-related allegations, such as those relating to paraphernalia or manufacturing, you can count on me to pursue the best possible outcome, whether that is a dismissal, acquittal or reduced charge.

What are drug schedules?

Like many other states, Missouri classifies controlled dangerous substances into five “schedules,” with Schedule I representing the most dangerous drugs that have no medicinal purpose. Sentences for drug crimes can vary based on which of the schedules listed below the substance at issue falls into:

  • Schedule I — This group includes substances that can be extremely harmful, such as heroin, methamphetamine and cocaine.
  • Schedule II — Strong, addictive opiates that can be taken under medical supervision are classified within this category, including codeine and oxycodone. 
  • Schedule III — Though less dangerous than drugs in Schedules I and II, these substances can cause bodily harm and might be habit-forming when not administered by a doctor. Anabolic steroids are listed within this group. 
  • Schedule IV — Pharmaceuticals known as Benzodiazepines make up much of Schedule IV. Many different varieties exist and they are mostly used to treat anxiety, seizures and muscle spasms.
  • Schedule V — Cough medicines that contain codeine and other mediations that might include a narcotic substance as an ingredient are placed into Schedule V. 

Marijuana is treated separately from other drugs in Missouri. If you are found with fewer than 35 grams, it is charged as a misdemeanor. No jail time is given to individuals possessing 10 grams or fewer than marijuana. 

Advocate looks to resolve cases through Drug Court when possible

Recognizing that incarceration might not be the best solution for someone convicted of a substance-related charge, Missouri has established a Drug Court system. This program gives people a chance to retain their job and stay in their home while completing a judicially supervised treatment program. If your case is referred to Drug Court, you will be subject to random testing and learn about ways to avoid controlled substances and alcohol. When appropriate, I seek to have clients’ cases handled through this system rather than the general criminal justice process. Participants remain within the program for a period of between one and two years.

Contact a skillful Missouri drug crime defense lawyer to set up a free consultation 

Howard L. Lotven, P.C. advocates on behalf of Missouri individuals who have been accused of drug crimes and other types of felony and misdemeanor offenses. To discuss your case in a free initial consultation at my Kansas City office, please call 816-295-6822 or contact me online

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