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First-Time Drug Charges Protecting Your Rights & Defending Your Future

First-Time Drug Offense Lawyers in St. Louis

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When you are arrested for a first-time drug charge in Missouri, you might assume that you are not in too much legal peril. This assumption would be wrong. Drug crimes are severely penalized in the state, even when the suspect has a completely clean criminal record. Many drug crimes are considered felonies in all instances.

Rather than gambling your future on chance and the mercy of the criminal justice system, take action right now by calling (314) 334-3807 and talking to The Hammer Law Firm, LLC. We are backed by decades of collective legal experience, including our many years spent as prosecutors. This unique history has given us insight into your opposition that most other law firms simply cannot claim.

Initial consultations are free. Schedule yours today.

Penalties for First-Time Drug Charges in Missouri

Drug crime penalties can be difficult to predict without a chance to study the facts of a case. Each illegal substance is categorized into a class based on its dangers and addictive properties. Drug charges and therefore penalties can increase based on the type of substance, the quantity in question, the location of the arrest, and so forth.

For simplicity’s sake, we will take a look at the penalties Missouri uses against some first-time drug crimes involving marijuana, which is often penalized in a comparatively lenient way.

A few first-time marijuana crimes and their potential penalties are:

  • Possession up to 10 grams: Misdemeanor crime punishable with a $500 fine.
  • Possession of 10 to 35 grams: Misdemeanor crime punishable with a $2,000 fine and up to one year in jail.
  • Possession of 35 grams or more: Felony crime punishable with a $10,000 fine and up to seven years in prison.
  • Possession of marijuana paraphernalia: Misdemeanor crime punishable with a $500 fine.
  • Selling or distributing less than 36 grams: Felony crime punishable with a $10,000 fine and up to four years in prison.
  • Cultivating 35 grams or less: Felony crime punishable with a $10,000 fine and up to four years in prison.

Keep in mind these penalties are only associated with marijuana crimes in Missouri. A different substance, like cocaine or methamphetamines, will likely face even longer incarceration sentences and even greater fines.

What is a Drug Diversion Program?

A drug diversion program is a type of intervention aimed at redirecting individuals away from the criminal justice system and into treatment or education programs, particularly those related to substance abuse. These programs typically target non-violent offenders charged with drug-related crimes, such as possession or low-level trafficking. The overarching goal is to address the underlying issues of addiction and reduce the likelihood of future criminal behavior by providing access to treatment, counseling, and support services.

In Missouri, like in many other states, there are various drug diversion programs available to eligible individuals. These programs may vary in terms of eligibility criteria, structure, and services offered.

Some common drug diversion programs in Missouri include:

  • Drug Court Programs: These programs offer an alternative to traditional prosecution and sentencing for individuals with substance abuse issues. Participants are typically required to complete a comprehensive treatment program, undergo regular drug testing, attend counseling sessions, and comply with other court-imposed conditions. Successful completion of the program may result in reduced charges or dismissal of the case.
  • Pre-Trial Diversion Programs: These programs allow individuals facing drug-related charges to avoid prosecution by completing certain requirements, such as drug education classes, community service, or substance abuse treatment. Upon successful completion, the charges against the individual may be dropped or reduced.
  • Probation Programs: Individuals convicted of drug offenses may be placed on probation instead of being incarcerated. Probation typically involves supervision by a probation officer and adherence to specific conditions, which may include drug testing, attendance at treatment programs, and participation in counseling or support groups.
  • Treatment Alternative to Incarceration Programs (TAIP): TAIP programs provide eligible offenders with the opportunity to receive substance abuse treatment in lieu of incarceration. Participants are typically required to complete a substance abuse treatment program while under close supervision by the court or probation department.
  • Veterans Treatment Courts: These specialized courts cater to veterans who have encountered legal issues related to substance abuse or mental health disorders. Participants receive tailored treatment and support services aimed at addressing the unique challenges faced by veterans.
  • Mental Health Courts: While not specifically focused on drug diversion, mental health courts may provide diversion options for individuals whose criminal behavior is linked to underlying mental health issues, including substance abuse disorders.

Many individuals facing drug charges for the first time may have underlying issues such as substance abuse or addiction. Drug diversion programs offer an opportunity to address these issues by providing access to treatment, counseling, and support services. By tackling the root cause of the behavior, these programs aim to reduce the likelihood of future drug-related offenses.

Additionally, traditional criminal justice approaches often result in individuals with drug charges being incarcerated, which can further exacerbate the cycle of crime and punishment. Drug diversion programs offer an alternative by diverting non-violent offenders away from the criminal justice system and into rehabilitation programs. This approach helps prevent further criminalization and promotes rehabilitation rather than punishment.

Fight Your Charges with Us by Your Side

As can be seen by the aforementioned potential penalties for first-time drug crimes in Missouri, there is much on the line when you have been charged or accused. By allowing our attorneys to handle your case and act on your behalf, you can increase your chances of securing a positive outcome and protecting your reputation. We will work tirelessly to land a case dismissal, sentencing or charge reduction, or a not guilty verdict.

At The Hammer Law Firm, LLC, we understand the challenges and complexities individuals face when dealing with first-time drug charges. Our experienced team is here to provide comprehensive legal guidance and advocacy every step of the way. With our knowledge, expertise, and dedication, you can trust us to vigorously defend your interests and work toward a resolution that prioritizes your future.

We can explain more about your charges and options during a no-cost case evaluation. Contact our law firm to place one on your calendar.

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    "Thank God for Mark Hammer"

    I cannot begin to explain in words how thankful I am that I contacted the Hammer Law Firm when I found myself facing criminal legal charges. I and my family will always be grateful beyond words for the role that Mark Hammer and The Hammer Law Firm played i

    - Former Client
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    They are professional, courteous, and respectful to both the courts and their clients. This team of professionals is not in business just for the money, they are truly out to help their clients.

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    After a thorough review, Mark began to address every legal issue confronting our son, he had already done his homework, which began to bring sanity back into our family as we sat there.

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    We contacted Mark Hammer for help with our son. Mark was truly amazing! He worked hard for our son, was always a text or phone call away, and we could not have asked (or predicted) a better outcome! Absolutely in awe of him.

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    Thank you so much, Nicole. I have faith and believe everything that's happening is for a reason. I know everything will be fine and I believe you are going to do everything you can and I'm very grateful for it.

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    The Hammer Law Firm, LLC team has more than 60 years of combined criminal law experience. We have the tools, knowledge, and resources to effectively advocate on your behalf.
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