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Know the drug possession penalties in Wisconsin

Individuals who receive a conviction of drug possession in Wisconsin are subject to fines and jail time. The specific penalties vary depending on criminal history, the type of substance and the amount. 

Before facing a drug possession court date, review the state’s legal guidelines for drug sentencing. 

Schedule of controlled substances in Wisconsin 

Like the federal government, the Wisconsin state government categorizes controlled substances into schedules depending on the potential for abuse. Schedule I includes the most dangerous substances, such as PCP, LSD and heroin. Schedule II contains opium, codeine, cocaine, morphine, amphetamines and methadone. Schedules III, IV and V include less dangerous controlled substances that have acceptable medical uses. 

Constructive and actual possession 

Actual possession means that you are carrying a controlled substance when an officer searches you. Even when you do not have the controlled substance in your pocket or otherwise on your person, you could still receive a charge of constructive possession. This means that the officer found the substance in question in your car, home or another area over which you had control. 

Consequences of drug possession 

First-time possession of any narcotics categorized in Schedule I or II results in a fine of up to $10,000 and up to 3.5 years in jail. This offense constitutes a Class I felony in Wisconsin. 

For first-time possession of PCP, LSD, methamphetamine, amphetamine or psilocybin, an individual could receive up to $5,000 in fines and 12 months in jail. Second-time offenders will receive Class I felony penalties for a conviction. 

If you have no prior convictions, you may qualify for an alternative sentencing program. In some instances, you may be eligible for a dismissal or downgrade, such as if the officer searched your property without cause or a warrant. On the other hand, some offenses result in enhanced penalties. For example, an offender will receive a longer jail sentence if he or she distributes a controlled substance to a minor. 

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