No state in the US takes the use or selling of drugs lightly. However, Rhode Island and Massachusetts take a particularly serious stance on the issue. If you end up on the wrong side of a drug charge, you could be in for some trouble. Find out everything you need to know about drug laws in Rhode Island and Massachusetts.
Rhode Island Drug Possession Laws
In Rhode Island, the possession of any drugs can have harsh penalties. No matter how minor you may think drug possession is, the court views the situation differently. Even marijuana possession could get you jail time. Of course, you may also have fines and community service. With so much at stake, you should fully understand the drug laws in Rhode Island.
If a police officer finds drugs on you, he can charge you with possession. However, he can also charge you if you have them under your control. Any drugs in your car or home can get you a possession charge. Additionally, any drugs found near you can also count against you. Merely being in the vicinity of drugs could get you into trouble.
The possession of marijuana isn’t as serious of an offense as other drug charges. In 2012, Rhode Island decriminalized the possession of marijuana. As a result, the penalties for having marijuana in your possession are minor. Instead of facing jail time, you get a fine and community service. If you have under one ounce of marijuana in your possession, you don’t even get a misdemeanor on your record. You can face a $150 fine, community service, and drug education courses.
If you have prior marijuana possession charges, the consequences can be worse. And if you have over one ounce of the drug in your possession, the decriminalization law does not apply to you. For people with prior possession charges or more than one ounce of marijuana, the penalty could have longer-lasting consequences.
Driving while in possession of marijuana does not only come with the above consequences but also comes with the suspension of your license. The real danger is possessing over one kilogram of marijuana. If this occurs, you face at least ten years in prison and fines of up to $500,000.
Other Possession Drug Laws
If an officer catches you with a substance other than marijuana, you face even greater consequences. For example, a possession charge comes with up to three years in jail and fines of up to $500. They also may require drug education courses and community service.
Those penalties only apply to first-time offenders. If you have multiple drug offenses, the penalties involve more jail time and fines. Certain situations also warrants harsher penalties. For example, a possession charge in a school zone can have serious repercussions. A judge would consider the situation and issue an appropriate sentence.
Massachusetts Drug Possession Laws
In Massachusetts, drug possession is a serious offense. It is similar to Rhode Island in that its laws for marijuana differ from those for other drugs.
Like Rhode Island, Massachusetts decriminalized the possession of marijuana. If you have under one ounce of marijuana on you, the court can only fine you $100. For those who are under 18, there may also be mandatory attendance at a drug awareness program. The charge is not a misdemeanor that goes on your record.
If you have one ounce or more of marijuana in your possession, you can face jail time. The maximum jail time is six months, and the fine is as much as $500. If you have multiple offenses, the jail time and fine could be greater. Second-time offenders face as much as two years in jail and a maximum fine of $2000.
Offenders who show an intent to distribute may face other penalties. If an officer believes that you may be selling your marijuana, you could face up to two years in jail or a fine of $500. You can also lose your license for up to two years. Second and third-time offenders face harsher consequences.
Other Drug Possession Laws
In Massachusetts, the state classifies drugs by type. Cocaine is a Class B substance that could get you as much as one year in jail and a maximum fine of $1000. Meanwhile, Heroin is a Class A substance that comes with prison time of as much as two years and a maximum fine of $2000. Morphine and other opiates also fall under this classification.
The Severity of Drug Laws
In addition to having possession and possession with intent laws, both states also have drug laws for trafficking. If you are in possession of a lot of drugs, you could find yourself facing trafficking laws. As penalties for trafficking, you could face prison time and fines that amount to thousands of dollars.
If you’re facing drug charges, you need to contact a lawyer immediately. Without the help of a lawyer, you could find yourself facing serious consequences.