What You Should Know About Drug Possession in Connecticut

In an effort to reduce prison populations, the Constitution State has begun decriminalizing possession of certain illegal substances, specifically those involving marijuana and the ingredients thereof. However, you should know that, despite changing laws and attitudes, Connecticut prosecutors will still aggressively pursue convictions for these and other drug-related offenses. If you face a drug possession charge and would like more information, please read on, then contact one of our experienced Hartford County drug possession attorneys today.

What constitutes drug possession in Connecticut?

To commit the offense of “drug possession,” one must be in possession of a controlled substance. A controlled substance is a drug or other substance that the government tightly controls because the substance may be abused or cause addiction. In spite of all the liberalization in state and federal drug enforcement policy, the government considers the following items as controlled substances:

  • Marijuana
  • Cocaine
  • Methamphetamine
  • PCP
  • LSD
  • Alprazolam
  • Ecstasy
  • Ketamine
  • Heroin

The first entry on the above list may surprise you since the state decriminalized it as of July of last year. Adults in Connecticut may possess and use up to 1.5 ounces of marijuana legally and they may store up to 5 ounces in a locked container at home. However, until the adult-use market opens, only medical marijuana patients and their caregivers may purchase marijuana from one of the state’s licensed dispensaries.

What are the penalties for drug possession in Connecticut?

That will depend on the number of times, if any, you have previously sustained convictions for these or related offenses. A defendant could face anywhere between a year and two-and-a-half decades behind bars, in addition to exorbitant fines, even for a first offense. However, with the assistance of one of our skilled Hartford County criminal defense attorneys, you may be able to enter a diversionary program or another alternative to trial, such as the following:

  • Accelerated Pretrial Rehabilitation programs
  • Supervised diversionary programs
  • Pre-trial Alcohol Education programs
  • Pre-trial Drug Education programs
  • Community Service Labor programs
  • Youthful Offender programs
  • Treatment of drug- or alcohol-dependent offenders instead of prosecution
  • Community service granted by the Community Court in Hartford instead of jail time in certain cases, including simple marijuana possession
  • Drug Intervention Program enrollment for nonviolent, drug-dependent people, which may include regular court attendance, drug testing, daily supervision and/or completion of recommended treatment and services, including detoxification, inpatient treatment, intensive outpatient treatment and vocational and educational training.

Through successful completion of an alternative or diversionary program, you can avoid prosecution and have the charges against you dismissed. However, you will need a criminal defense who understands prosecutors and judges and be able to convince them that one of the above-listed alternatives is the best resolution to your case.

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