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Drug Possession Attorneys Water Street office (Milwaukee's lower east side)

In Milwaukee, Schedule I and II narcotics are generally tied to a Class I felony, which is up to a $10,000 fine, 3.5 years in prison or both, and possession of certain hallucinogenics or stimulants may be fined up to $5,000 and/or imprisonment for up to one year.

Tom Grieve

OWI & Criminal Defense Attorney

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Possession of drugs can be charged as a civil forfeiture violation, a misdemeanor, or a felony. Possession of marijuana as a first offense is often charged as a civil forfeiture which carries fines and potential driver’s license suspension. Misdemeanor possession of marijuana carries potential jail time and fines. A second or subsequent possession of marijuana is a Class I felony that carries up to 3.5 years in prison, a $10,000 fine, or both. Possession of many other drugs as a first offense is a misdemeanor. Penalties include up to one year in jail, and up to $5,000 in fines, or both. A second or subsequent possession of any drug is a felony offense that carries potential prison time. 

Milwaukee drug possession attorney

Possession of an illegal item can be charged for many different reasons. If you are found to be in possession of items that you cannot legally possess, you can face significant penalties including jail time, fines, and probation. If you are found to be in possession of drugs, you may also face a suspension of your driver’s license. 

Whether it’s drugs, drug paraphernalia, or weapons, possession can be charged in some surprising ways. A person can be charged with possession of an item if that item is found on their person. If the item is in your hand, your pocket, or in your mouth, that item is in your possession. This is the most obvious form of possession. 

Possession can also be charged if the item is in your actual physical control, and you knowingly have control over that item. For example, an item that is in your purse or backpack can be in your possession because you have actual physical control over that item. 

You can also be charged for being in possession of an item if that item is in an area over which you exert physical control. An item that is found in the glove box or center console of your vehicle could be in your possession because it is in an area over which you exert physical control. So if your car is stopped by police and they search your car and find drugs in the glove box or under your seat, you could be charged with possession of those drugs. You could also be charged with possession of drugs that are found in the closet of your bedroom. Even though they are not on your physical person, they are in an area over which you exert physical control. 

Multiple people can be charged with being in possession of the same item at the same time, even if none of those people are actually holding the item. For example, if there are multiple people in your car and the police find drugs in a place where everyone can reach them, everyone in the car could potentially be charged with possession of those drugs. 

It is also important to remember that possession of an item does not require ownership of that item. You can be in possession of something even if it is not yours. If you borrow a pen from your friend, you are in possession of it while you are holding it, even though you do not plan to keep it, and it does not belong to you. If you are found to be in possession of drugs that belong to your friend, you can still be charged with possession of those drugs even if your friend contacts the police and tells them the drugs belong to them. If they are on your person, you can be charged with possession.

How long does possession stay on my record?

If you are convicted of possession, that conviction will remain on your record permanently. Wisconsin’s Circuit Court Access Program, CCAP, will maintain a record of your conviction. That website is available for public view, and anyone that knows about that website can type your name into the search bar and find your conviction for possession. Some possession charges may be eligible for expunction or expungement. However, expunction does not remove the conviction from your record. Rather, it removes the conviction from public view on CCAP. You may still be required to report your conviction on job applications, loan applications, and other professional licensing applications. You could also face difficultly obtaining federal student loans through the government. A conviction for possession can have consequences for the rest of your life.

How to beat a possession charge

Determining how to beat a possession charge will depend on the facts of your case. Each case is different, and each set of facts can lead to different potential defenses. Some of the potential defenses to look for in possession cases is a challenge to whether you actually possessed the substance you are accused of possessing. There can also be challenges to police action, such as challenging the legality of a traffic stop of your vehicle, or a search of your car or your person. If the police did not legally conduct a traffic stop or search, evidence found following those illegal actions could be ruled inadmissible against you. 

Contact our experienced Milwaukee possession attorneys to discuss the facts of your case, and learn about any possible defenses you may have.


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We know
because we were prosecutors.

Tom Grieve, the firm's managing attorney and founder, is a former state prosecutor and is not the only ex-prosecutor at the firm. We love hiring attorneys from both sides of the wall to bring as many perspectives to fight your case as aggressively as possible. The State of Wisconsin likes it when you choose the run-of-the-mill fee to plea™ lawyers who don't even know how to analyze and defend cases instead of experienced criminal attorneys:

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