In 2017 the State of Oregon reduced the crime level for personal possession of illegal drugs from a felony to a misdemeanor under certain circumstances. HB 2355 downgrades first-time simple drug possession from a felony to a misdemeanor if the possession involves less than 2 grams of cocaine or methamphetamine, less than 1 gram of heroin, less than 1 gram or 5 pills of MDMA or MDA (aka molly or ecstasy), less than 12 grams of psilocybin or psilocin (aka magic mushrooms), less than 40 units of LSD, or less than 40 pills of methadone or oxycodone. The law does not change the penalties for possession of larger quantities of drugs which may be considered a commercial drug offense. It also does not apply to people that have a prior felony conviction or two or more prior convictions for possession of a controlled substance. The house bill also created a definition of “usable quantity” to be “an amount of a controlled substance that is sufficient to physically weigh independent of its packaging and that does not fall below the uncertainty of the measuring scale.” This was a nice change because previously the State was prosecuting cases where there was only residue inside of a baggie.
You may be charged with Possession of a Controlled Substance (PCS) for actual physical possession as well as “constructive possession” (meaning you possessed the substance by having it in an area under your immediate control, most often your home or your vehicle). Sentences for PCS can range anywhere from a non-criminal violation to a Class A felony with fines ranging from $500 to $100,000.
PCS CHARGES CAN BE EXPUNGED IN MANY CIRCUMSTANCES.
More than one person can possess the same controlled substance, so long as both were aware of the presence of the drug and had control over the area where the drug was found. The exercise of control over the area where the drug was found is important; mere proximity to the drugs is not enough to prove constructive possession where there is no evidence that the accused exercised control over the area where the drugs were found.
In order to convict you of Possession of a Controlled Substance, the State must prove that (1) on or about a certain date (2) in a certain county in Oregon (3) you (4) unlawfully (5) intentionally or knowingly (6) possessed (7) a specified controlled substance (8) listed in Schedules I, II, III, IV or V of the Federal Drug Schedules.
The level of the possession charge is determined by the nature of the drug and in what level it is placed in the federal schedule of controlled substances.
Schedule I substances are those that the DEA has found: (A) have a high potential for abuse; (B) have no currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States; and (C) there is a lack of accepted safety for use of the drug or other substance under medical supervision. No prescriptions may be written for Schedule I substances.
Schedule I substances include Marijuana (controversy exists about its placement in Schedule I); Heroin; MDMA; Psilocybin (hallucinogenic mushrooms); Foxy (5-methoxy-N-diisopropyltryptamine); LSD; Peyote; Mescaline; GHB (Gamma-Hydroxybutyric Acid)
Unlawful possession of a Schedule I substance, other than less than one ounce marijuana, is a Class B felony punishable by up to 10 years in prison and $250,000 in fines.
Schedule II substances are those that the DEA has found: (A) have a high potential for abuse; (B) have a currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States or a currently accepted medical use with severe restrictions; and (C) abuse of the substance may lead to severe psychological or physical dependence. Schedule II drugs may be dispensed with the written prescription of a licensed medical practitioner.
Schedule II substances include Cocaine; Methamphetamine; Opium; Laudanum; Methadone; Oxycodone (Percocet, OxyContin, Percodan); Morphine; Dilaudid (Hydromorphone); Pure Codeine; Pure Hydrocodone; PCP
Unlawful possession of Class II substances is a Class C felony punishable by up to 5 years in prison and $125,000 in fines.
Schedule III substances are those that the DEA has found: (A) have a potential for abuse less than the drugs or other substances in schedules I and II; (B) have a currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States; and (C) abuse of the substance may lead to moderate or low physical dependence or high psychological dependence. These substances require a written or oral prescription.
Schedule III substances include Hydrocodone when compounded with a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) such as acetaminophen (e.g., Vicodin) or ibuprofen (e.g., Vicoprofin); Codeine when compounded with a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID), such as acetaminopen (Tylenol 3); Ketamine; Anabolic Steroids; Marinol, (a synthetic form of THC)
Unlawful possession of Schedule III substances is a Class A misdemeanor punishable by up to 1 year in jail and $6,250 in fines.
Schedule IV substances are those that the DEA has found (A) have a low potential for abuse relative to the drugs or other substances in schedule III; (B) have a currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States; (C) abuse of the drug or other substance may lead to limited physical dependence or psychological dependence relative to the drugs or other substances in schedule III. Control measures are similar to Schedule III.
Drugs in this schedule include Benzodiazepines, such as alprazolam (Xanax), clonazepam (Klonopin), and diazepam (Valium); Rohypnol (roofies)
Unlawful possession of Schedule IV substances is a Class C Misdemeanor and is punishable by up to thirty days in jail and $1,250 in fines.
Schedule V substances have a very low risk of dependency and include things like prescription drugs with very low potency. Conviction of possession of one of these substances is a non-criminal violation.
If you are facing a drug possession charge it is important to contact an experienced attorney to help protect your rights.
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