In Wisconsin, thousands of people are arrested on criminal drug charges each year, with marijuana-related arrests being the most common. If you are one of the many who have been arrested, you may be facing serious consequences, but given the complexity of Wisconsin’s drug laws, it can be difficult to determine just how serious those consequences may be. An experienced criminal defense attorney can help you better understand the charges you are facing and present a strong defense to help you avoid a conviction or minimize the penalties you may face.
Factors Involved in Wisconsin Drug Charges
Drug-related offenses in Wisconsin range from misdemeanors, which can result in a maximum of $1,000 in fines and six months of imprisonment, all the way up to Class C felonies, which can result in a maximum fine of $100,000 and up to 40 years in prison. A number of factors can impact the severity of your charges and the potential penalties you may face, including:
- The schedule and type of drug: Wisconsin classifies drugs and other controlled substances into five schedules based on their level of danger, potential for abuse, and whether or not they have an accepted medical use. In general, Schedule I and II substances are considered the most dangerous and carry the highest penalties. It may surprise you to know that despite being legal in some states, marijuana is considered a Schedule I substance in Wisconsin. Offenses involving narcotic substances also typically carry higher penalties than those involving non-narcotics.
- Your intention to manufacture, distribute, or deliver the drug: If you are suspected of possessing a drug with the intent to sell it, you may face more severe penalties than if you only intend to use it yourself. The court may consider the amount and value of the substance, the possession of manufacturing paraphernalia, and your behavior as potential evidence of your intent.
- The amount of the drug in your possession: If you have been accused of manufacturing, selling, or delivering a drug or intending to do so, the charges you face will depend on the amount of the drug in question. For example, possessing less than 200 grams of THC, the active substance in marijuana, is considered a Class I felony, while possessing more than 10,000 grams is a much more severe Class E felony.
- Any prior drug-related convictions: If you have previously been convicted of a drug-related offense in Wisconsin, any other state, or a federal court, the penalties you may face will likely be greater than those for a first-time offender. For marijuana possession, this can mean the difference between a misdemeanor and a Class I felony.
Contact a Milwaukee Criminal Defense Attorney
Regardless of the severity of the charges you are facing, you need an attorney who can help to ensure your fair treatment under the law. At Gimbel, Reilly, Guerin & Brown, LLP, we will pursue all possible strategies to dismiss or reduce your charges or sentence so that you can avoid excessive hardship. Contact a Milwaukee County drug crime defense lawyer today at 414-271-1440.