Possession of a Controlled Substance in Mississippi

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All states regulate the illegal possession of controlled dangerous substances (CDS), though each differs in its exact definition of CDS and the penalties for possession. Mississippi classifies not only well-known drugs like marijuana, heroin, and cocaine as CDS, but also the compounds used to manufacture them.

This article discusses illegal CDS possession only. Making or selling CDS carries different penalties. For more information on CDS manufacture and sale, see Sale of a Controlled Substances in Mississippi.

Also, while marijuana is considered a CDS, this article does not cover Mississippi’s marijuana possession and sale laws. To learn more about that topic, see Mississippi Marijuana Laws.

How Mississippi Classifies CDS

Mississippi divides CDS into five “schedules.” Schedule I lists the most dangerous drugs, which have a high probability of abuse and addiction, and no recognized medical value. Schedules II, III, IV, and V decrease in dangerousness and probability of abuse; and increase in recognized medical uses.

These classes are also used to determine the applicable penalties for illegally possessing specific CDS (described in the next section). If you’ve been arrested for illegal CDS possession, you’ll need to consult the Mississippi Code that lists precisely which drugs fit into each group. Go to the statute (Ms. Code Ann. § 41-29-113, -115, -117, -119, -121.) and find the substance you're charged with possessing -- it will be listed under one of the five classes.

Penalties for Illegal CDS Possession

It is illegal in Mississippi to possess CDS without a valid medical prescription. Penalties vary according to the type and amount of the CDS involved, measured by dosage unit (a one milliliter solution for liquid substances, or one “stamp”, “square”, or “dot” for substances like LSD), or by weight of the CDS involved.

“Weight” includes pure CDS or a mixture containing any detectable amount of the CDS. When a mixture contains more than one CDS, the punishment is determined by the substance that incurs the greater penalty.

Schedule I and II substances

Possessing less than one-tenth of a gram (or one dosage unit) may be charged as a misdemeanor or a felony. If charged as a misdemeanor, penalties include a fine of up to $1,000, up to one year in jail, or both. If charged as a felony, penalties include a fine of up to $10,000, at least one (and up to four) years in prison, or both. (Ms. Code Ann. § 41-29-139(c)(1)(A).)

Possessing one tenth of a gram or more, but less than two grams (or two or more dosage units, but fewer than ten dosage units) incurs a fine of up to $50,000, at least two (and up to four) years in prison, or both. (Ms. Code Ann. § 41-29-139(c)(1)(B).)

Possessing two grams or more, but less than ten grams (or ten or more dosage units, but fewer than 20 dosage units) incurs a fine of up to $250,000, at least four (and up to 16) years in prison, or both. (Ms. Code Ann. § 41-29-139(c)(1)(C).)

Possessing ten or more, but less than 30 grams (or 20 or more dosage units, but fewer than 40 dosage units) incurs a fine of up to $500,000, at least six (and up to 24) years in prison, or both. (Ms. Code Ann. § 41-29-139(c)(1)(D).)

Possessing 30 grams or more (or 40 or more dosage units) incurs a fine of up to $1,000,000, at least ten (and up to 30) years in prison, or both. (Ms. Code Ann. § 41-29-139(c)(1)(E).)

Schedule III, IV, or IV substances

Possessing less than 50 grams (or fewer than 100 dosage units) incurs a fine of up to $1,000, up to one year in jail, or both. (Ms. Code Ann. § 41-29-139(c)(3)(A).)

Possessing 50 grams or more, but less than 150 grams (or 100 dosage units or more, but fewer than 500 units) incurs a fine of up to $10,000, at least one (and up to four) years in prison, or both. (Ms. Code Ann. § 41-29-139(c)(3)(B).)

Possessing 150 grams or more, but less than 300 grams (or 500 dosage units or more, but fewer than 1,000 units) incurs a fine of up to $50,000, at least two (and up to eight) years in prison, or both. (Ms. Code Ann. § 41-29-139(c)(3)(C).)

Possessing 300 grams or more, but less than 500 grams (or 1,000 dosage units or more, but fewer than 2,500 units) incurs a fine of up to $250,000, at least four (and up to 16) years in prison, or both. (Ms. Code Ann. § 41-29-139(c)(3)(D).)

Possessing 500 grams or more (or 2,500 or more dosage units) incurs a fine of up to $500,000, at least six (and up to 24) years in prison, or both. (Ms. Code Ann. § 41-29-139(c)(3)(E).)

Second and Subsequent Offenses

A second or subsequent conviction incurs up to double the applicable fine, prison term, or both, as described above. (Ms. Code Ann. § 41-29-147.)

Talk to an Attorney

Illegally possessing CDS incurs both heavy fines and long periods of incarceration. A local lawyer who practices CDS defense will review the facts of your case, explain your options, and advise you of the possible consequences.

by: , Contributing Author

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