Oklahoma’s drug laws are notoriously tough. While some states allow medical marijuana—or even recreational marijuana—there are no exceptions for its possession in Oklahoma. In fact, while a first offense of simple marijuana possession for personal use is a misdemeanor in the state, nearly every other drug crime is a felony.
Penalties for drug possession are harsh enough, but for drug distribution, the legal consequences can be staggering, including mandatory minimum prison terms and even the possibility of life in prison.
Oklahoma laws prohibit drug distribution in many forms, and the state has specific statutes regarding possession with intent to distribute, drug trafficking, and possession of drug proceeds.
When you hear “drug distribution,” you may think of drug dealers pedaling illicit drugs in dark alleys and crack houses, or you may think of Mexican drug lords and their dangerous cartels. However, in many cases the reality is far less sinister. Teens may raid their parents’ medicine cabinet or sell their own ADHD medication for quick cash. Adults may share their prescriptions with a neighbor. These acts are not seen as the acts of an impulsive teen or a benevolent neighbor, but rather as an act of illegal drug distribution that defies the Oklahoma Uniform Controlled Dangerous Substances Act.
If you are charged with any form of drug distribution, you need to know that the consequences you face are serious. You may feel like the act itself was relatively minor, but the District Attorney won’t likely see it that way. Call a defense lawyer immediately.
In order to understand just how seriously Oklahoma law takes drug distribution, one only has to look at the penalties for possession with intent to distribute. Possession of a controlled substance with intent to distribute it is a felony. Upon conviction, a person is subject to a mandatory minimum of two years in prison, with the possibility of life in prison—even for a first offense. If the substance involved is a Schedule I or Schedule II drug, that mandatory minimum is increased to 5 years.
It is important to note that Oklahoma law does not say “possession with intent to sell,” but to distribute. This means that if a person were to plan on sharing his or her pills with friends at a party, or admitted that he or she was going to pass a joint with some friends, he or she could be arrested for possession with intent to distribute rather than simple possession, even if the subject had no plans of selling drugs.
Another key factor in Oklahoma’s possession with intent to distribute law is that there is no set quantity of drug that triggers the statute. In many states, a person is charged with intent to distribute if he or she is in possession of a specified quantity that is considered to be excessive for personal use.
In Oklahoma, however, possession of any quantity can be charged as intent to distribute if there is “evidence” that a person planned to sell or distribute the substance. This can include a quantity greater than what might be expected for personal use; the presence of scales or baggies, cash, lab equipment, or guns; and text or voicemail messages.
The Oklahoma Uniform Controlled Dangerous Substances Act prohibits the unauthorized and illegal distribution or sale of drugs or medications in 63 O.S. § 2-401. Under this statute, it is illegal to “distribute, dispense, transport with intent to distribute or dispense, [or] possess with intent to manufacture, distribute, or dispense” any controlled substance or synthetic drug without authorization under the Uniform Controlled Dangerous Substances Act.
The penalties for drug distribution or other violation of 63 O.S. § 2-401 depend upon the type of substance involved.
In Oklahoma, there is no set quantity of drug that enhances a drug possession charge to a “possession with intent to distribute” charge. However, possession of certain quantities of drug may invoke the state’s Trafficking in Illegal Drugs Act. Drug trafficking carries much heavier penalties than simple distribution. At minimum, the penalties for trafficking are twice those for distribution. For aggravated trafficking and repeat offenses, the penalties are even greater, including life without parole.
With the increase in prescription drug abuse across the state, drug distribution is becoming an increasingly “white collar” crime. Drug distribution knows no class lines. From drug dealers in the inner city to housewives in the suburbs, anyone who sells or shares drugs with others can be arrested and charged with a felony drug crime.
Being arrested for a drug crime can feel bleak, but a skillful defense lawyer can help you find solutions to your predicament. Call Coventon Criminal Defense for a risk-free consultation to find out how we can help you.