All states regulate and control the possession for personal use of controlled dangerous substances (CDS), though each differs in its exact definition of CDS and the penalties for possession. Alaska considers not only well-known drugs like marijuana, heroin, and cocaine controlled substances, but also the compounds used to manufacture them.
This article discusses possession of CDS for personal use only. The possession of CDS for sale or distribution carries different penalties.
For more information on possession of CDS for sale or distribution, see Sale of Controlled Substances in Alaska.
Alaska divides its CDS into six groups or “schedules” (IA through VIA), based on the potential for harm to the user.
If you’ve been arrested for possession of CDS, in order to know what charges you may be facing, you’ll need to consult the Alaska Codes that list precisely which drugs, and in what amounts, fit into each schedule. Those statutes are Alaska Code Sections 11.71.140 to 11.71.190.
Some CDS, such as codeine, a common painkiller, may be possessed legally so long as the holder has a valid prescription.
Alaska classifies all CDS crimes into five degrees, misconduct in the first-degree being the most serious. CDS possession involves degrees three through six. Third and fourth degree misconduct involving possession of CDS are felonies. Felonies are divided into unclassified, Class A, Class B, and Class C. Unclassified and Class A felonies receive the harshest sentences.
Misconduct involving CDS in the 4th degree is a Class C felony. Class C felony possession includes:
The penalty for a Class C felony is imprisonment for up to 5 years and a fine of up to $50,000.
Possession of certain CDS within 500 feet of a school, youth or recreation center, or on a bus becomes not just 4th, but 3rd degree possession when the drugs are in Schedule IA or IIA. Such possession is a Class B felony, whose penalties include imprisonment for up to 10 years and a fine of up to $100,000. (Alaska Code Sections 11.70.030-040.)
Misdemeanor crimes are less serious than felonies and are punishable by less jail time and smaller fines. Alaska provides for two levels of misdemeanor punishment for some CDS possession: misconduct involving CDS in the 5th and 6th degrees. The 5th degree is the more serious of the two.
Misconduct involving CDS in the 5th degree is a Class A misdemeanor and includes:
The penalty for Class A misdemeanor possession is up to one year in jail and a fine of up to $10,000.
Misconduct involving CDS in the 6th degree is a Class B misdemeanor and includes:
The penalty for a Class B misdemeanor possession is up to 90 days in jail and a fine of up to $2,000. However, the court cannot impose jail time if:
(Alaska Code Sections 11.71.030-060 and 12.55.035, 125 and 135.)
Like most states, Alaska imposes increasingly harsh sentences on individuals with any prior felony convictions.
One prior felony conviction:
Two prior felony convictions:
A CDS conviction can result in long jail terms and steep fines. If you have a previous record, any new convictions will result in steeper penalties. An attorney knowledgeable about CDS possession will review the facts of your case and help you decide whether to fight the charges, whether to negotiate a plea agreement, and whether you have a chance at a dismissal.