Possession of a Controlled Substance in Missouri

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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. Missouri 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 Missouri.

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

How Missouri Classifies CDS

Missouri 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 severity of the applicable fines and jail (or prison) time for illegally possessing CDS. If you’ve been arrested for illegal CDS possession, you’ll need to consult the Missouri Code that lists precisely which drugs fit into each group. Go to the statute (Mo. Stat. Ann. § 195.017) 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 a class C felony in Missouri to possess CDS without a valid medical prescription. Penalties include a fine of up to $5,000; and either up to a year in jail or, at the sentencing judge’s discretion, at least two (and up to seven) years in prison. (Mo. Stat. Ann. § 195.202.)

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.

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