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At the Marin, Barrett, and Murphy Law Firm our team of Rhode Island Drug Lawyers have defended thousands of individuals charged with simple possession of a controlled substance throughout the State of Rhode Island.  Our effective and proven criminal defense strategies have helped many of our clients stay out of jail, avoid a felony convictions, and oftentimes leave the criminal justice system with no criminal record at all.

Rhode Island Drug Lawyers
Marin, Barrett, and Murphy Law Firm
Available 24/7 at 401-228-8271

We have experience representing clients facing a wide variety of simple possession of a controlled substance charges including the possession of cocaine, heroin, marijuana, fentanyl, tetrahydrocannabinol, xanax, adderall, oxycontin, oxycodone, and dozens of other controlled substances.  Our drug defense strategies have a proven track record of success.  Let us put them to work for you.

Should I hire a Rhode Island Drug Attorney?

Let's face it, the court system can be complicated and intimidating, and attempting to navigate it alone or with low quality or budget representation is a mistake. Those charged with drug crimes face significant penalties in the short and medium term, and potentially irreparable and unknowable harm in the future with a drug conviction on their record.  Being saddled with a felony conviction can make it more difficult to get a job, get into school, secure a loan, purchase a firearm, or travel.  Don't leave those things to chance, make the right choice and hire a dedicated and experienced attorney to fight for your freedom and your livelihood.

How can the drug lawyers at the Marin, Barrett, and Murphy Law Firm help me fight my drug possession charge?

The legal system provides all sorts of avenues of how to fight a drug possession case or work towards a successful resolution. These include, but are not limited to: the Adult Drug Treatment Court, which can provide monitoring and counseling for those afflicted with drug addiction.  The Superior Court diversion program, which works to keep the defendant out of the criminal justice system and work towards getting the case dismissed from their criminal record.  They also include attacking the case itself.  For instance, was evidence obtained or seized illegally or improperly by the police?  Was the substance properly tested?  Are there any affirmative defenses the prevent the case from even being prosecuted at all?  The answer to the question is not an easy one and is different for every case, but it all starts with the same thing: hiring a smart, capable attorney to help you through it.

Frequently Asked R.I. Drug Possession Questions:

Is drug possession in Rhode Island a felony or a misdemeanor?

With the exception of Marijuana, possession of any schedule I-V controlled substance is a felony and can carry up to three years in prison for a first offense. Those penalties can double and triple with subsequent or repeat convictions so it is important to have an experienced attorney by your side defending you and your case.

What is simple drug possession?

“Simple possession” essentially that the drugs were in possession for personal use.  The term “simple” possession is used to separate possession for personal use from drug dealing offenses, such as possession with intent to deliver a controlled substance, delivery of a controlled substance, or manufacturing a controlled substance.  Don't let the term “simple” fool you; these cases can be anything but simple to defend and can come with serious consequences even if the substance was for your own use.

What is a “controlled substance”?

A controlled substance is a substance listed in Rhode Island General Laws section 21-28-2.01. Any drug that is outlawed outright or requires a prescription to possess is a scheduled I-V controlled substance.  The schedule rates drugs based on medical use and likelihood of abuse, but possession of any and all drugs in the schedule could lead to criminal charges.

What is considered “personal use” and who makes that determination?

The question of whether or not a controlled substance is meant for personal use or whether it is meant to be sold or distributed to others is a question of fact, and is largely answered by the arresting police. The answer depends largely on the type of controlled substance; the quantity; how it is packaged; and the circumstances surrounding the arrest.  The police have a difficult job and as hard as they may try, they don't always get it right.  If you have been overcharged or wrongfully or illegally charged, you need a lawyer in your corner to help you fight for your rights and your freedom. 

Can I be charged even though it is a legal prescription drug?

Yes! Even though some drugs are legal to possess and use with a valid prescription, police will often arrest people if they are in possession of scheduled controlled substances if they are not in their proper containers or you do not have the prescription on you.  Simple possession of a prescription controlled substance carries the same potential penalties as possession of illicit substances such as heroin, cocaine, or LSD, so it is extremely important that you have an experienced and capable attorney to handle your case.

What are the most common legally prescribed drugs that lead to simple possession charges?

While the list of controlled substances numbers in the hundreds and ny schedule 1 through 5 controlled substance can lead to a charge, some are more common than others. The most common substances include: benzodiazepines such as Xanax, klonopin, and valium; stimulants such as Adderall and dextroamphetamine; and painkillers such as fentanyl, Vicodin, Percocet, and morphine; suboxone and methadone; anabolic steroids; and ambien. 

What are the most common illegal drugs?

Any schedule I-V controlled substance is illegal without the proper prescription, but the most common drugs people think of when they hear “illegal drugs” are heroin, powder and crack cocaine, LSD, mushrooms, ecstasy, PCP, and methamphetamine.

What if I only had a few pills, can I still be charged?

Yes, you can be charged with simple possession for even a single pill or suboxone strip. The law against simple possession of a schedule I-V controlled substance does not differentiate between quantities.  For instance, a charge of possession of one Adderall pill carries the same potential penalties as possession of an eighth of an ounce of cocaine or heroin.  Therefore, having an attorney who fights on your behalf and distinguishes you and your case from the charge you are facing is of the utmost importance.

What about Marijuana possession charges in Rhode Island?

As society as a whole has become more accepting of marijuana, the laws surrounding marijuana possession have also become somewhat more forgiving. Possession of less than one ounce of marijuana is a civil offense and comes with a $150 fine, with additional fines imposed for lack of timely payment.  However, if you have already received two marijuana citations, possession of any quantity of marijuana can be charged as a misdemeanor criminal offense.  Likewise, possession of over one ounce or marijuana can be charged as a misdemeanor and carries up to a year in prison and up to a $500 fine.  The law surrounding marijuana is murky and ever changing, and having a professional and experienced criminal defense attorney by your side is essential to fighting your case.

What is a PAC or Pre-Arraignment Conference date?

A pre-arraignment conference date, also known as a PAC date is given to felony cases that are still undergoing the felony screening process. Depending on what county you are in, you may or may not need to attend that date.  It is possible that nothing will happen on the first, or even the second and third PAC dates, but it is important to have an attorney so that you are thoroughly prepared when the state is ready to proceed with the charges against you.

What is the Pretrial Services Unit?

The pretrial services unit is a bail monitoring unit operated out of the District Court. When a defendant is referred to Pretrial Services at their arraignment, they are required to schedule a meeting with a pretrial services officer who will determine what services and conditions that defendant needs while on bail.  For instance, Pretrial Services may require a defendant undergo a substance abuse assessment or continued counseling, or mental health treatment.  A failure to abide by the Pretrial Services conditions can lead to a violation and revocation of a defendant's bail, so it is important to have a knowledgeable attorney assist through the process.

Can a R.I. drug possession charges be dropped or dismissed?

Like any criminal charge, the outcome depends on numerous facts and circumstances.  These include the defendant's criminal history or lack thereof; the facts surrounding the arrest and seizure of the drugs; the type and quantity of the controlled substance; and much more.  It is often possible to have the charges reduced to a misdemeanor or dismissed outright.  Each case is defended differently, and it is important to have a skilled attorney in your corner to navigate those differences towards the best possible outcome.

What is “constructive possession” of a controlled substance?

Constructive possession is the legal term for when a defendant may not have drugs on their person, but is tied to the drugs in such a way that they are still legally “in possession” of them. For instance, a passenger in a vehicle may be in constructive possession of drugs found in the car, regardless of where they are located.    

What are the mandatory minimum sentences for controlled substance possession?

Unlike some jurisdictions, Rhode Island does not impose a mandatory minimum sentence for drug convictions. The penalties for drug possession are spelled out in the Uniform Controlled Substances Act,  Chapter 21-28 of the Rhode Island General Laws.  A first offense drug conviction can carry up to three years in prison, and a fine of between $500 and $5,000.  The Court may also force a defendant to perform up to 100 hours of unpaid community service; pay a $400 fee to Rhode Island State Hospitals; and undergo mandatory drug treatment.

Rhode Island Drug Possession Charges: What Can We Do For You?

If you have been arrested and charged in Rhode Island with simple possession of a controlled substance, it is important to seek experienced legal advice as soon as possible.  Our experienced drug possession defense attorneys will meet with you and confidentially discuss the facts of your case, any legal or constitutional defenses you may have, and your best strategy moving forward.  We have handled 1,000's of drug possession cases and can put our experience and knowledge to work for you right away.  We are available 24/7 at 401-228-8271.  Contact us today for a no obligation drug possession defense strategy session.

Attorney Marin Named A SuperLawyer for Ten Consecutive Years 2014-2023

Attorney Matthew Marin has been named a Rhode Island SuperLawyer for 10 consecutive years from 2014 thru 2023. Each year, no more than 2.5 percent of the lawyers in Rhode Island are selected by the Research Team at Super Lawyers to receive this honor. Super Lawyers selects lawyers who have attained a high degree of peer recognition and professional achievement in their practice area.

Rhode Island Members of the National College for DUI Defense

Attorneys Matthew Marin and Kensley Barrett are both Rhode Island General Members of the National College for DUI Defense. Members represent some of the most experienced and cutting edge DUI defense attorney's throughout the Country. Nationwide, DUI laws are extremely complex and constantly changing and the College facilitates the exchange of innovative defenses throughout the Country.