Iowa Sale of a Controlled Substance Laws

Learn about the penalties for selling drugs in Iowa.

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

How Iowa Classifies Controlled Dangerous Substances

Iowa divides its CDS into five “schedules” based on factors such as their potential for abuse, and whether they are approved for legitimate medical use:

  • Schedule I drugs (such as opiates and heroin) have a high potential for abuse, no accepted medical use, or are unsafe for use in treatment, even under medical supervision.
  • Schedule II drugs (such as morphine and opium) have a high potential for abuse, have an accepted medical use and can result in severe psychological and physical dependence if abused.
  • Schedule III drugs (such as LSD and anabolic steroids) have a potential for abuse less than Schedule I or II drugs, have an accepted medical use and can lead to low or moderate physical dependence and high psychological dependence.
  • Schedule IV drugs (such as diazepam) have a lower potential for abuse than Schedule III drugs, have an acceptable medical use and may lead to limited psychological and physical dependence in relation to Schedule III drugs.
  • Schedule V drugs are the least dangerous, with the lowest potential for abuse, a currently accepted medical use, and likely to lead to only limited physical or psychological dependence. Schedule V drugs include medicines that have very small amounts of specified narcotic drugs.

To understand the charges and penalties you might face, look at the charging document in your case (usually called either a complaint or “information”, or, if from a grand jury, an indictment). Identify the name of the drugs specified in the document, consult the schedules explained above, and place them in the proper schedule. Then read below to learn about possible charges and sentences. The statute that explains what drug fits into each schedule is Iowa Code Section 4-124.

This article concerns the unlawful sale of CDS. Separate punishments apply to the possession of CDS, or for the unlawful manufacture of controlled substances. For information about the possession for personal use of CDS, see Possession of a Controlled Substance in Iowa.

How Iowa Classifies CDS Sales Crimes

Iowa divides felonies into four classes: A, B, C and D. Class A felonies are the most serious. Felony drug sale crimes can be of any class. Misdemeanors are divided into three classes: aggravated, serious, or simple. Misdemeanor sales crimes are either aggravated or serious. Misdemeanors are less serious and receive lighter penalties than felonies.

Felony Sale of CDS

A felony conviction for the sale of CDS is punished with long periods of incarceration and steep financial penalties.

Class A felony sale to a minor

Conspiracy with the intent to deliver or delivery of methamphetamines or amphetamines (or their salts, isomers, or salts of isomers) to a minor is punishable by a period of incarceration of up to 99 years. A defendant who is convicted for a second time under this section is ineligible for parole unless the governor commutes the sentence to a term of years.

Class B felony sale (up to $1 million fine)

Possession with the intent to deliver or delivery of the following is a Class B felony, punishable by a period of incarceration of up to 50 years and a fine of up to $1 million:

  • more than 1 kilogram (kg) of a substance that contains a detectable amount of heroin
  • more than 500 grams of a coca leaves or any substance that contains a detectable amount of coca leaves (unless the cocaine derivatives have been removed)
  • more than 500 grams of any substance that contains a detectable amount of cocaine
  • more than 500 grams of any substance that contains a detectable amount of ecgonine
  • more than 50 grams of any substance described in this section that contains cocaine base
  • more than 100 grams of PCP
  • one kg or more of any mixture that contains a detectable amount of PCP
  • more than ten grams of any substance that contains a detectable amount of LSD
  • more than 1000 kgs of any substance that contains a detectable amount of marijuana, or
  • more than five kgs of a substance that a contains a detectable amount methamphetamine or amphetamine (or their salts, isomers, or salts of isomers).

Class B felony sale (up to $100,000 fine)

Possession with the intent to deliver or delivery of the following is a Class B felony, punishable by a period of incarceration of up to 25 years and a fine of $50,000 to $100,000:

  • more than 100 grams up to 1 kg of any substance that contains a detectable amount of heroin
  • more than 100 grams up to 500 grams of coca leaves or any substance that contains a detectable amount of coca leaves (unless the cocaine derivatives have been removed)
  • more than 100 grams up to 500 grams of cocaine or any substance that contains a detectable amount of cocaine
  • more than 100 grams up to 500 grams of ecgonine or any substance that contains a detectable amount of ecgonine
  • more than ten grams up to 50 grams of any substance described in this section that contains cocaine base
  • more than ten grams up to 100 grams of PCP
  • more than 100 grams up to 1 kg of any substance that contains a detectable amount of PCP
  • not more than ten grams of any substance that contains a detectable amount of LSD
  • more than 100 kgs up to 1000 kgs of marijuana, or
  • more than five grams up to five kgs or methamphetamine or amphetamine (or their salts, isomers, or salts of isomers.)

Class C felony sale

Possession with the intent to deliver or delivery of the following is a Class C felony, punishable by a period of incarceration up to ten years and a fine of $1,000 to $50,000:

  • 100 grams or less of any substance that contains a detectable amount of heroin
  • 100 grams or less of coca leaves or any substance that contains a detectable amount of coca leaves (unless the cocaine derivatives have been removed)
  • 100 grams or less of cocaine or any substance that contains a detectable amount of cocaine
  • 100 grams or less of ecgonine or any substance that contains a detectable amount of ecgonine
  • 10 grams or less of any substance described in this section that contains cocaine base
  • ten grams or less of PCP
  • 100 grams or less of any substance that contains a detectable amount of PCP
  • more than 50 kgs up to 100 kgs of marijuana
  • five grams or less of methamphetamine or amphetamine (or their salts, isomers, or salts of isomers), or
  • any other Schedule I, II, or II CDS other than those specifically discussed elsewhere.

Class D felony sale

Possession with the intent to deliver or delivery of 50 kgs or less of marijuana or flunitrazepam is a Class D felony, punishable by a period of incarceration of up to five years and a fine of $750 to $7,500.

(Iowa Code Sections 124.401, 902.1, and 902.9.)

Aggravated Misdemeanor

Possession with the intent to deliver or delivery of an Schedule IV or V CDS is an aggravated misdemeanor, punishable by a period of incarceration of up to two years, a fine of $625 to $6,250, or both.

(Iowa Code Sections 124.401 and 903.1.)

Serious Misdemeanor

Possession with the intent to deliver or the delivery of ephedrine (including salts, isomers, or salts of isomers), when the defendant knew or should have known the substance was intended to make a CDS, is a serious misdemeanor. A serious misdemeanor is punishable by a period of incarceration of up 30 days, a fine of $315 to $1,875, or both.

(Iowa Code Sections 124.401 and 903.1.)

Firearms

If a defendant possesses or controls a firearm during the commission of the underlying offense, the underlying sentence will be doubled and cannot be deferred or suspended.

(Iowa Code Sections 124.401.)

Two or More Simultaneous Sales, Part of 

If a defendant commits two or more CDS sales offenses at approximately the same time or in the same location, so that the sales appear to be part of a common plan, scheme, or conspiracy, the quantity of the substances involved in the offenses may be combined for the purpose of charging the defendant.

(Iowa Code Section 124.401(2).)

Habitual Offender

Defendants who have been convicted of a Class C or D felony, and who have two prior felony convictions from Iowa, another state, or from federal court, will be sentenced as an habitual offender.  An habitual offender is not eligible for parole until at least three years of the imposed sentence has been served.

(Iowa Code Section 902.8.)

Minimum Sentence for Delivery of Methamphetamine or Amphetamine to a Minor

A defendant who is convicted of the delivery or attempted delivery of methamphetamine or amphetamine to a minor is not eligible for parole until at least ten years of the imposed sentence has been served.

(Iowa Code 902.8A.)

Talk to an Attorney

If you have been charged with intent to deliver or the delivery of CDS, you face extended periods of incarceration, steep financial penalties, or both. To make sure you understand the charges that have been filed against you, your options, and the possible outcomes of your case, you should seek advise from an attorney who is experienced in CDS defense.

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