Is Drug Possession a Felony? Four Things to Know

Posted: March 31, 2021 at 12:00 am

In many states, some drugs are no longer criminalized or don’t have as severe penalties as they used to; however, this is not the case in Olathe, KS. In many cases, drug possession is still a felony, which means if you’ve been caught with drugs, you could be facing stiff penalties. Here are some things to know to help your case.

Is Drug Possession a Felony in Olathe, KS? Four Things to Know

Marijuana

Nearby Colorado and other states have recently made possession of small amounts of marijuana legal, but that policy has not yet reached the borders of Kansas. In this state, marijuana in all forms is still illegal, including CBD that contains any amounts of THC. If you’re caught with less than 25 grams of marijuana and have no intent to distribute, you’ll probably get a misdemeanor charge, a maximum fine of $1,000, and no more than six months in jail.

If you are caught with less than 25 grams of marijuana but intend to distribute, you’re looking at a level 4 felony with a maximum fine of $300,000 and a maximum jail sentence of 51 months. Between 25 grams and 449 grams will get you the same fine, but a level 3 felony and up to 83 months in prison. Level 1 and level 2 felonies are reserved for much higher amounts of marijuana and carry higher fines and jail sentences.

Methamphetamine, Cocaine, and Heroin

These drugs are treated more harshly than marijuana, given that marijuana has become more culturally acceptable. If you are caught with any amount of methamphetamine, cocaine, or heroin, you will be charged with a felony. Possession alone of any of these drugs is a level 5 felony and will result in a maximum fine of $100,000 and a prison sentence of up to 42 months, or more than three years. You’ll also be required to undergo drug treatment.

If you intend to distribute smaller amounts of methamphetamine, cocaine, or heroin, you’ll be charged with a level 3 felony, which carries a maximum fine of $300,000 and a maximum jail sentence of 83 months. Larger amounts are considered a level 2 felony, which means you’ll have to pay a maximum fine of $500,000 and serve as much as 144 months in jail. You’ll also need to register as a drug offender for both level 2 and 3 felonies.

Other Controlled Substances

In Kansas, controlled substances are classified into five “Schedules,” with the Schedule I category containing the most dangerous drugs that are considered to be the most addictive and having no medical value. Schedule V drugs are considered the least dangerous and may have medical value. You are not allowed to possess controlled substances without a valid prescription in this state, but even having a prescription doesn’t mean you’re off the hook, especially if you’re distributing a drug prescribed to you.

Schedule I

This category of drugs contains those that have already been discussed here, among others. Marijuana, cocaine, methamphetamine, heroin, LSD, peyote, Ecstasy, and methaqualone are all listed as Schedule I drugs in Kansas. As such, if found in possession of these drugs, you’ll have the highest penalties and fines.

Schedule II

The drugs that appear in the category of Schedule II drugs are still considered highly addictive but may have medical value. Drugs that are included in Schedule II are OxyContin and Percocet, methadone, Demerol, opium, codeine, morphine, and fentanyl, among others. These are often prescribed for pain control after serious injuries or surgery. Possession of these drugs is a level 4 felony and carries fine of up to $100,000 and some jail time based on possession amounts and previous convictions.

Schedule III

The chances of a Schedule III drug being addictive are moderate, which is what differentiates the drugs in this category from those that are Schedule II drugs. Some of the drugs that fall into the Schedule III category include Ketamine, Vicodin, Tylenol with Codeine, and buprenorphine. Non-narcotics such as anabolic steroids are also considered Schedule III drugs. Penalties range from a Class A misdemeanor to a level 4 felony, depending on possession amounts, intent, and previous convictions.

Schedule IV

Even further down the addictive line are the drugs that are categorized as Schedule IV drugs. Tramadol, Xanax, Ativan, Valium, carisoprodol, and Klonopin are all considered Schedule IV drugs. As with Schedule III drugs, the penalties for possession of Schedule IV drugs can range from a Class A misdemeanor with a maximum fine of $2,500 and a year in jail to a level 4 felony, $100,000 fine, and 51 months in jail.

Schedule V

These drugs have the lowest addictive properties of all controlled substances, and thus, carry fewer penalties and fines. However, Schedule V drugs do still require a valid medical prescription. Drugs at this level include Lyrica, Robitussin AC, Phenergan with Codeine, and ezogabine, among others. Possession of Schedule V drugs without a prescription is a misdemeanor, which carries a maximum fine of $2,500 and a maximum jail term of a year.

Precursors to Controlled Substances

There are also penalties in Kansas for possessing the ingredients used to manufacture controlled substances. It is a level 2 felony to possess these ingredients, legally referred to as “precursors,” if you intend to use them to manufacture controlled substances. Such ingredients include ephedrine, pseudoephedrine, anhydrous ammonia, red phosphorus, lithium metal, and phenylpropanolamine, among others. If you do possess anhydrous ammonia or pressurized ammonia without the intent to manufacture controlled substances, you must store it in a proper container.

Possession of precursors with the intent to manufacture controlled substances could result in a $300,000 fine and a prison sentence of up to 83 months. Not storing anhydrous ammonia or pressurized ammonia in a proper container that has been approved by the Kansas Department of Agriculture is considered a level 4 felony, which could result in a fine of as much as $300,000 and a prison term of as long as 51 months.

What to Do if You’ve Been Charged With the Possession of Drugs

Get a Copy of the Arrest Report

Your arrest report is an important document to determine what you have been charged with, which dictates your potential fine and sentence. However, just because you’ve been charged with a certain felony doesn’t mean you’re going to be convicted of that. For one, you may not have intended to distribute, which could reduce both your charge and your resulting penalties.

For another thing, it may be possible to plead your case down to a lesser charge based on your legal history. Remember that the original charge is just a start and it’s up to the prosecutor to prove that you indeed possessed that amount or intended to distribute it.

Hire an Attorney

Don’t try to fight drug charges in Kansas on your own, as this is a state that takes drug possession and distribution extremely seriously. Hiring an experienced attorney will ensure your rights are protected and that you get the lightest sentence and penalties possible. Having representation in court is especially important if you have any prior drug-related offenses on your record, but it’s a good idea for first-time offenders as well.

Getting caught with drugs in Kansas is not something to take lightly because both the legal and personal consequences can be extremely harsh. Contact Billam & Henderson, LLC in Olathe, KS today to schedule an initial consultation and learn how we can help reduce your penalties.