Possession of a Controlled Substance in Indiana

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. Indiana considers not only well-known drugs like marijuana, heroin, and cocaine to be controlled substances, but also the compounds used to manufacture them.

Some CDS, like codeine, may be legally possessed with a valid prescription.

How Indiana Classifies Controlled Dangerous Substances

Indiana 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 Indiana Code Section 35-48-2.

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

How Indiana Classifies CDS Sales Crimes

Indiana divides felonies into four classes: A, B, C and D. Class A felonies are the most serious. Felony possession crimes can be of any class. Misdemeanors are divided into three classes: Class A, B, and C. The only misdemeanor possession crime is a Class A.

Sentences for Felony Convictions

In addition to stating the possible terms of incarceration, Indiana law provides for advisory periods as well. An advisory sentence is a period of incarceration between the permitted minimum and maximum terms that the court may, at its discretion, impose on the defendant.

Class A felony. A Class A felony is punishable by a period of incarceration of 20 to 50 years, with the advisory sentence being 30 years, and a fine of up to $10,000.

Class B felony. A Class B felony is punishable by a period of incarceration of six to 20 years, with an advisory sentence of ten years, and a fine of up to $10,000

Class C felony. A Class C felony is punishable by a period of incarceration of two to eight years, with the advisory sentence being four years, and a fine of up to $10,000.

Class D felony. A Class D felony is punishable by a period of incarceration of six months to three years, with the advisory sentence being 1.5 years, and a fine of up to $10,000. Under certain circumstances, the court has the option to enter a judgment for a Class A misdemeanor. To see if you qualify for a reduced conviction you should review the statute.

(Illinois statute sections 35-50-2-4 through 35-50-2-7.)

Felony Possession of CDS

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

Cocaine, Schedule I or II narcotics, and methamphetamine

The unlawful possession of CDS under this paragraph can be punished as any felony class.

Class A felony. The intentional possession of cocaine, Schedule I or II narcotics, or methamphetamine is a Class A felony if the amount of the drug involved weighed at least three grams and

  • the possession occurred on a school bus, or
  • the possession occurred within 1,000 feet of school property, public housing, or a youth program center.

Class B felony. The intentional possession of cocaine, Schedule I or II narcotics, or methamphetamine is a Class B felony if:

  • the amount of the drug involved was less than three grams
  • the possession occurred on a school bus, or
  • the possession occurred within 1,000 feet of school property, public housing, or a youth program center.

Class C felony. The intentional possession of cocaine, Schedule I or II narcotics, or methamphetamine is a Class C felony if:

  • the amount of drug involved was three grams or more, or
  • the defendant was in possession of a firearm.

Class D felony. The intentional possession of cocaine, Schedule I or II narcotics, or methamphetamine is a Class D felony, unless otherwise discussed above.

(Indiana Code Sections 35-48-4-6 and 6.1.)

Schedule I, II, III, or IV CDS (other than CDS discussed above, marijuana, hash oil, hashish, salvia, and synthetic cannabinoid)

The unlawful possession of CDS under this paragraph is either a Class C or Class D felony.

Class C felony. The intentional possession of Schedule I, II, III, or IV CDS (other than CDS discussed above, marijuana, hash oil, hashish, salvia, and synthetic cannabinoid) is a Class C felony if:

  • the possession occurred on a school bus, or
  • within 1,000 feet of school property, a public park, public housing, or a youth program center.

Class D felony. The intentional possession of Schedule I, II, III, or IV CDS (other than CDS discussed above, marijuana, hash oil, hashish, salvia, and synthetic cannabinoid) is a Class D felony, unless otherwise discussed above.

(Indiana Code Sections 35-48-4-7.)

Schedule V CDS

The intentional procurement of a Schedule V CDS without a valid prescription is a Class D felony if:

  • the defendant obtains four ounces or more of a Schedule V CDS that contains codeine in a 48-hour period
  • the defendant obtains a Schedule V CDS using verbal misrepresentation, or
  • the defendant obtains Schedule V CDS in any other unlawful way.

(Indiana Code Sections 35-48-4-7.)

Marijuana, Hash Oil, Hashish, Salvia, or Synthetic Cannabinoid

The possession of CDS under this paragraph is either a Class A misdemeanor or Class D felony.

Class A misdemeanor. The possession of marijuana, hash oil, hashish, salvia, or synthetic cannabinoid is a Class A misdemeanor if:

  • the possession was intentional
  • the defendant intentionally grows or cultivates marijuana, or
  • the defendant knows that marijuana is being grown on the defendant’s property and fails to destroy the plants.

A Class A misdemeanor is punishable by a period of incarceration of up to one year and a fine of up to $5,000.

Class D felony. It is a Class D felony if the amount involved in the offense was more than thirty grams of marijuana; or two grams of hash oil, hashish, salvia, or synthetic cannabinoid.

(Indiana Code Section 35-48-4-11.)

For more information on marijuana possession, see Indiana Marijuana Laws.

Paraphernalia

The possession of drug-related paraphernalia is illegal.

Class A misdemeanor. The intentional possession of paraphernalia for the purpose of injecting, administering, or introducing CDS into the human body is a Class A misdemeanor.

Class D felony. If a person has a previous unrelated CDS conviction, the crime is elevated to a Class D felony.

(Indiana Code Section 35-48-4-8.3.)

First-time Offenders

If a defendant pleads guilty to Class A misdemeanor possession of marijuana, hashish, salvia, or a synthetic cannabinoid, the court may withhold entering a judgment of conviction and impose a period of probation. The judge will impose conditions, such as drug counseling, that the defendant must follow. If the defendant completes the terms of the probation, the court will dismiss the charges. However, if the defendant violates the court’s probation, the court may enter a guilty conviction and impose a sentence.

This provision may be utilized only one time by a defendant.

(Indiana Code Section 35-48-4-12.)

Talk To An Attorney

A conviction for the possession of CDS can have life-long consequences. To be sure you understand the charges you face, the options available to you, and the possible outcomes of your case, you should consult an attorney who specializes in CDS related defense.

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