Controlled substances charges are brought under Iowa Code §124.401. This code section is long and complex, and covers every type of drug possession, intent to deliver and delivery offense in the State of Iowa.
Overwhelmingly drug cases involve marijuana. Mainly these cases are charged as either possession, or intent to deliver. The decision to charge as intent to deliver depends on various facts surrounding the arrest, including the following: Amount of drug seized, statements by the defendant, undercover surveillance, paraphernalia, sums of cash and other factors.
The most common drug charge is possession of controlled substances-marijuana, first offense.
Marijuana possession charges are handled uniquely in the Iowa City and Cedar Rapids areas, and it is in a defendant’s best interest to find a lawyer which is familiar with the common case outcomes and sentencing options.
The penalty for a first offense possession of marijuana charge ranges from 2 days in jail up to 6 months, and the fine ranges from $315.00 to $1,875.00. The charge is a “hybrid” serious misdemeanor, meaning the maximum jail term is 6 months as opposed to 1 year for regular serious misdemeanors.
Subsequent offenses can be regular misdemeanors, aggravated misdemeanors or even felony charges for possession, as long as at one point the defendant has been convicted of possessing a controlled substance aside from marijuana.
The charge is eligible for a deferred judgment, which is an excellent outcome for a drug charge. A successful deferred judgment would eliminate the need for any jail time, and no drug convictions would appear on the defendant’s record. This is important for future employment searches, and for students who are receiving financial aid.
Many times the defendant will be asked to produce a clean urinalysis and complete a substance abuse evaluation and any recommended treatment. This is required in all local cases where a deferred judgment is requested.
Recently, the Johnson County Attorney’s office has authorized a marijuana diversion program. This began in July of 2010. This is an excellent program for anyone who qualifies.
The State will determine eligibility based on the events of the night resulting in the charge, prior criminal history, and the amount of marijuana that has been seized.
The defendant would be required to complete clean urinalyses, a substance abuse evaluation, and the diversion program class. Finally, they must avoid any criminal charges for the duration of the case, which would be 90 to 120 days following the arraignment hearing.
Those who do not qualify are still eligible to receive a deferred judgment.