Mississippi Drug Crimes Lawyer
This firm is dedicated to providing you with knowledgeable and experienced representation when you face drug-related charges in state or federal court in Mississippi. A Mississippi drug conviction can have an enormous negative impact on your life and your future. Penalties for Mississippi drug crimes include long prison sentences, large fines, suspension of your driver’s license, and all of the other negative consequences of a felony or misdemeanor conviction. The first bit of advice on a drug case is DO NOT GIVE UP! We are going to work tirelessly to prepare a solid defense and to help you obtain best result in your Mississippi drug case.
As a former prosecutor and defense counsel, Clarence has handled hundreds of drug crimes through the years, from simple misdemeanor possession cases to complex federal drug conspiracies. He knows what will work, what to try, and what to expect. Read through the information below, and when you are ready give The Guthrie Firm a call or email. Our first objective in every Mississippi drug case is to get you acquitted. If we determine, after a complete investigation and evaluation of your case, that a total acquittal is not possible, we will work hard to reduce your charges and your sentence, and to keep you out of jail if an alternative sentencing program is available.
Basics of Mississippi Drug Laws
Most of Mississippi’s laws concerning controlled substances (drugs) are not found in Title 97 of the Mississippi Code, where most other crimes are found, but in Title 41, under Public Health. Mississippi’s Uniform Controlled Substances Law defines the different types of substances that are considered illegal in Mississippi, the prohibited acts regarding controlled substances and the associated penalties, and it also is the section of the code that deals with forfeiture laws regarding seizures of property related to drug crimes.
In the most basic terms, your drug bust and prosecution in Mississippi will depend on three main factors:
- Which controlled substance
- How much of it
- What you are accused of doing with it
The Mississippi Drug Schedules
“Drug schedules” are simply lists of drugs written into the law that classify certain drugs whose use and distribution are tightly controlled because of their abuse potential or risk. In Mississippi, the Commissioner of Public Safety works in conjunction with the State Board of Pharmacy, county and municipal law enforcement authorities, district and county attorneys, the Attorney General, and the Mississippi Bureau of Narcotics, and the State Board of Health to recommend which substances to recommend to the Mississippi Legislature to be put on the drug schedule and made illegal. In making a recommendation, they take the following factors into account:
- The actual or relative potential for abuse;
- The scientific evidence of its pharmacological effect, if known;
- The state of current scientific knowledge regarding the substance;
- The history and current pattern of abuse;
- The scope, duration and significance of abuse;
- The risk to the public health;
- The potential of the substance to produce psychic or physiological dependence liability; and
- Whether the substance is an immediate precursor of a substance already controlled under this article.
One of the first things we’ll do when you retain our firm is to determine how your alleged controlled substance is going to be classified. If you want to try to look for yourself here is a link to the Mississippi Code.
Mississippi Drug Crime Penalties
Once we determine how the drug you are alleged to be involved with is going to be classified, we can determine your best and worst-case scenarios, based on the amount of the substance, and what you are accused of doing with it. We can then proceed to determining the best possible defense for your case.
Potential Defenses for Mississippi Drug Crimes
- Search and Seizure Issues – The Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution guarantees you the right to be secure in your person, house, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures. Evidence obtained by an illegal search and seizure is inadmissible and will be suppressed. If this simple foundational principal of our nation’s law is forgotten, your criminal defense lawyer needs to remind everyone of it in a loud manner to make sure your rights are preserved. We have done this many times before, and we are prepared to do it for you.
- Violation of Your Individual Rights – You have other rights under the United States Constitution and the Mississippi Constitution that you need to understand, and that could potentially be a defense to your case if they were violated. Such rights are the right to remain silent, the right to NOT consent to searches under certain circumstances, the right to have an attorney present, etc.
- Entrapment – Clarence extensively discusses the entrapment defense in Mississippi here - Mississippi Defense of Entrapment.
- Alibi – Clarence discusses the alibi defense in Mississippi here - Mississippi Defense of Alibi.
- Forensic Issues – In every drug case, the prosecution must prove that the substance that you are charged with is what they say it is. This usually involves the prosecution sending the substances to a crime lab – probably the Mississippi Crime Lab – for testing. At trial, the prosecution must bring the crime lab technician who personally tested the substances into court to testify regarding the results. The U.S. Supreme Court has recently held that a simple signed certificate won’t do. You must be allowed to confront your accusers in court during your trial, and this sometimes is a difficult obstacle for the prosecution to overcome.
- Other Potential Issues – There are a number of other defenses that may be available to you, limited only by your case-specific circumstances and the creativity of your lawyer.
Can you keep me out of jail?
Maybe, depending on your circumstances. Our first objective in every case is to win it – to gain an acquittal of all charges and walk out of the courthouse and go home. When that is not possible we work very hard to minimize your exposure to the penalties associated with conviction of a Mississippi drug offense. Mississippi has recognized that there are differences in a conviction for a minor drug crime, and a conviction for more serious crimes such as murder and armed robbery, and it has also recognized that keeping you in jail for an extended period of time is expensive. So there are several opportunities or alternatives that we will need to explore that could possibly keep you from serving time in jail:
- Drug Court in Mississippi – Drug Courts are specialized courts in certain areas of Mississippi that are designed to “handle cases involving drug-using offenders through comprehensive supervision, drug testing, treatment services and immediate sanctions and incentives.” If there is a Drug Court in your area and this option is available to you, we should look into it, as we have had very positive experiences with this program where it is properly managed. Click on the link for more information.
- Nonadjudication – Nonadjudication is a way for you to totally avoid a conviction for certain crimes in Mississippi. Clarence discusses Mississippi’s Nonadjudication law extensively in this post - Nonadjudication in Mississippi.
- Pretrial Intervention – The Pretrial Intervention Program is another program run by the District Attorney’s office that is a way for you to avoid a conviction if you meet certain eligibility requirements. Call us for more details.
- Regimented Inmate Discipline Program – the “RID” program is Mississippi’s boot camp program, and may be available in certain cases as the best alternative for you. Clarence discusses the RID program in this post – Mississippi RID, Mississippi’s Boot Camp Program.
- Other Possibilities – Other possibilities depending on the facts and circumstances of your drug case include probation, suspended sentences, house arrest, and other alternative sentences. We won’t leave any stone unturned to get you the best possible result.
Information Specific to Common Mississippi Controlled Substances:
Common Mississippi Drug Offenses:
- Federal Drug Crimes
- Prescription Fraud
Federal Drug Crimes
Most of this page is dedicated to Mississippi drug crimes prosecuted in the state courts of Mississippi. Drug crimes prosecuted in federal court are handled differently. Clarence has a nationwide federal criminal defense practice, and we are prepared to assist you with a federal drug arrest on a moment’s notice.
What do you need us to do?
- Representation before you are charged (if you are being investigated)
- Bond and Bail Hearings
- Take your case to trial
- Expungements – Clearing Your Record
- Appeals and Post-Conviction Relief
What we can do for you in a Mississippi Drug Defense:
If you or a friend or family member have been arrested for a drug-related criminal offense in Mississippi, call us today. We are on call 24/7 to answer any questions you have about your arrest, help you bond out, and explain the process you are about to go through. We will then attack your case and help you develop the best defense possible. In either the Mississippi or the federal system, you will benefit from an experienced Mississippi criminal lawyer.
If you would like to discuss your Mississippi drug case with us, please call The Guthrie Firm, PLLC at 601-991-1099 or toll-free at 866-991-1055. Feel free to contact us by email as well. Initial consultations are free, and we have reasonable rates and payment plans on criminal cases. Contact us today. We are here to help.