Idaho Misdemeanor Possession of a Controlled Substance

Idaho takes a strict stance on drug crimes. A conviction can have serious, even life-changing, short and long term consequences affecting your freedom, future, employment, personal relationships, and reputation.

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Misdemeanor Possession of a Controlled Substance

It is unlawful for any person to possess a controlled substance unless the substance was obtained directly from, or pursuant to, a valid prescription or order of a practitioner while acting in the course of his professional practice, or except as otherwise authorized by law.

If you are found to be in violation of this law, the crime can be classified as either a felony or a misdemeanor. While a misdemeanor offense is considered a "lesser crime" it should be taken seriously - An Idaho misdemeanor conviction can have serious, even dire, consequences.  

What is Misdemeanor Possession of a Controlled Substance?

Any person who has in his possession a controlled substance that is a non narcotic drug classified in Schedule I (except lysergic acid diethylamide), or a controlled substance classified in Schedules III, IV, V and VI is guilty of a misdemeanor. See: Idaho Code § 37-2732 

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Possession in Idaho Defined

Possession vs. Ownership

Keep in mind, it is illegal to possess a controlled substance - ownership is of the substance does not matter. We get calls almost daily from people who believe they have a defense because the substance in question "was not mine." Unfortunately, this is not a defense - if the state can prove that you were in possession, even if the substance is not yours, you will be found guilty of the crime.

There are two ways that the state can establish possession: Physical Possession and Constructive Possession.

Physical Possession

This is when someone physically has control of an item. For example, the item or substance could be in the person's hand or pocket.

Constructive Possession

A person has constructive possession of something if:

  1. The person knows of its presence, and 
  2. Has the ability to control the item or substance

Many possession cases center around whether the defendant had constructive possession of the substance. For instance, if the substance is found in a car or a room that the defendant was in - they clearly have the ability to control the substance but did they have knowledge that it was there?

Multiple People In Possession

Because the state can prove possession through "Constructive Possession", this means that multiple people can be convicted of possession for the same controlled substance. For example if four people are in a car and there is a baggie of cocaine in the vehicle, if the state can prove that all four people knew the cocaine was in the vehicle then they could all be convicted of possessing that cocaine.

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Potential Punishments for Misdemeanor Possession of a Controlled Substance

Upon conviction, a defendant may be imprisoned for up to one year, fined up to $1,000, or both. Beyond jail and fines, it is likely that there would be other punishments including:

  • Probation: Supervised or Unsupervised probation for up to 2 years. 
  • Restitution (for lab testing).
  • Drug and alcohol classes. 
  • Community ServiceSILD, or Work Release.

Any conviction for Misdemeanor Possession in Idaho, where the court orders probation as part of the sentence, also carries a required 100 hours of community service on top of whatever penalty the judge decides is appropriate. 

However, this may simply be the beginning... 

Beyond a punishment issued by the court, a conviction can be particularly harmful in terms of gaining future employment, state licensing, educational loans, and other benefits.The conviction will show up on background checks and employers tend to be wary of applicants with drug records. But there is hope. An experienced Idaho criminal defense attorney can often help you defeat the charge and keep the matter off your record.

First-Time Possession Charge

We regularly get asked, "What will the punishment be for my first-time possession charge?" The truth is, it depends. There are many different factors that need to be considered when determining a likely outcome. While most judges and prosecutors are willing to show some leniency on a first offense, this is not always the case. It is important that you contact a skilled Idaho Criminal Lawyer to discuss your case. 

Let Schofield and Young fight your Idaho Misdemeanor Possession Case

Do not let a drug conviction follow you around for the rest of your life. Let us fight for your rights, your freedom, and your future.

Contact Us To Discuss Your Case

(208) 344-0128

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