Drug delivery charges in Rhode Island
Under Rhode Island criminal law, drug delivery or Delivery of a Controlled Substance may be found under the Uniform Controlled Substances Act at Rhode Island General Laws, Chapter 21, Title 28.
This offense penalizes the conduct of delivering a controlled substance to another. The penalties are listed according to the specific drug and quantity that was delivered. Each drug is placed within one of the five Drug Schedules based upon its potential for abuse and use in medical treatment.
Legal elements for delivering a controlled substance
In order to be convicted of Delivering a Controlled Substance under Rhode Island criminal law, there must exist strong evidence of the following three legal elements:
- that the defendant delivered the controlled substance in question to another
- the defendant did so knowingly and intentionally
- that the specific drug is a controlled substance under Rhode Island criminal law
What is delivering for the purposes of this crime
For the purposes of Delivery of a Controlled Substance under Rhode Island criminal law, there must exist a specific intent to deliver the substance. The term deliver in this context means to give, or to transfer, or to hand over to another person.
Specific intent means a person acted deliberately and purposefully, with the intention of causing the required bad or improper end result. Because it is impossible to read one’s mind or know for sure their thoughts and inner workings of the mind, a person’s intent can be inferred by the surrounding circumstances as well as any statements made, or acts done or omitted by the defendant.
Place of delivery or status of drug recipient
Under Rhode Island drug laws, to whom and where the controlled substances were delivered may play a factor in the punishment faced by a convicted offender.
For example, delivery of a Schedule I or II drug, by a person age 18 or older to a person who is under the age 18 may face a mandatory minimum of 15 years and up to life in prison. For delivery of a Schedule III or IV drug, the defendant may face a mandatory minimum of 5 and not more than 20 years in prison.
A conviction for delivering a Schedule V drug carries a mandatory minimum of 2 and not more than 5 years in prison. Finally, delivery of a controlled substance listed in Schedules I or II, on or within 300 yards of a public or private elementary, vocational, or secondary school, or public park or playground may result in enhanced punishments.
What drugs are considered controlled substances
Under Rhode Island General Laws, Section 21-28-2.08, each drug is listed in a specified drug Schedule. There are many drugs listed in the schedules and are identified by their scientific name rather than the more well-known street names.
For example, some drugs contained in Schedule I and II are as follows:
- Coca Leaves
Any form of these drugs is prohibited by Rhode Island criminal law. This includes leaves, salts, optical and geometric isomers, salts of isomers, derivatives, extracts and more.
Though the drug may change form, the law targets and prohibits the chemical composition that makes up the substance. Therefore, changing a drug’s physical properties does not enable you to avoid application of and prosecution under the Rhode Island drug laws.
Potential punishment if convicted of delivering a controlled substance
Delivery of a Controlled Substance is felony under Rhode Island criminal law.
The term of imprisonment for convicted offenders is based on the type of drug and quantity possessed. For delivery of a Schedule I or II drug, a convicted offender faces a term in prison of not more than 30 years.
Upon a conviction for delivery of a Schedule III or IV drug, a defendant faces a term in prison of not more than 20 years. Some Schedule III drugs carry a term of potential imprisonment of not more than 5 years. These penalties may be found at Rhode Island General Laws, Section 21-28-4.01.
Rhode Island criminal laws regarding illegal drugs also provide for a separate sentencing scheme when a specified controlled substance is delivered in a certain, specified quantity.
Specifically, Rhode Island General Laws, Section 21-28-4.01.1 provides a term of imprisonment up to 50 years for delivery of the following drug types at the following drug quantities:
- One ounce to one kilogram of Heroin, Cocaine, Ecgonine, Coca leaves, synthetic drugs, or Fentanyl;
- One kilogram to five kilograms of Marijuana;
- One gram to ten grams or 100 tablets to 1,000 tablets of PCP; and
- One-tenth of a gram to one gram or 100 tablets to 1,000 tablets of LSD.
Furthermore, Rhode Island General Laws, Section 21-28-4.01.2, provides a term of imprisonment of up life for delivery of the following drug types at the following drug quantities:
- More than one kilogram of Heroin, Cocaine, Ecgonine, Coca leaves, synthetic drugs, or Fentanyl
- More than five kilograms of Marijuana
- More than ten grams or 1,000 tablets of PCP
- More than one gram or 1,000 tablets of LSD
If you have been charged with delivery of a controlled substance and need representation, contact the Rhode Island Drug Defense Lawyers at the Law Office of John L. Calcagni III at (401) 351-5100 to schedule a free consultation.