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THC Possession + Intent to Distribute 5 brutal facts on Wisconsin penalties & fines

The 'intent to distribute' felony charge is often, but not always, inferred by how much marijuana you have. In Wisconsin, get caught with 1,000 grams (just over 2 pounds) of marijuana and you will face a Class G felony (fines up to $25,000, up to 10 years in prison). 200 grams (just over 6 ounces) makes you face a Class H felony (fines up to $10,000, up to 6 years in prison.  'Less than 200 grams' of weed can still get you a Class I felony in Wisconsin. If circumstantial evidence implies an 'intent to distribute <=200 grams', you will face fines up to $10,000 and 3 years 6 months in prison. Attorneys at Grieve Law have seen many cases where 28 grams (1 ounce) of weed faced an 'intent' charge. One client even had under half an ounce. Usually, the smallest 'intent to distribute' charges are based on what you tell the police (related: the only 14 words to say to cops).

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Fines & Penalties for THC possession with intent to distribute in Wisconsin:

Under Wisconsin drug laws, possession of marijuana with intent to distribute/sell is automatically a felony, regardless of the amount of marijuana. The penalties escalate in accordance to the amount of THC found in connection to the drug offense.

1. There is a world of difference between dealing/delivery vs. possession charges.

Any time someone is charged in Wisconsin with a dealing, delivery, or possession with intent to distribute, this always means they are facing a felony charge. Felony charges, regardless of the class of felony, are always extremely serious. You are facing years in prison, possibly tens of thousands of dollars’ worth of fines and penalties, not to mention having the silent “F” attached to every job application, resume, promotion, and interaction with all in-laws in the future. While that may not seem like a big deal right now (but hopefully it does), it is a huge deal!

Numerous studies have come out over the last several decades to show that somebody who has been convicted of a felony will face a far more difficult time getting a job, may make a lot less money than their non-felon counterpart, will earn far less money throughout the course of their career, and suffer from numerous other social and career penalties.

A possession charge is not always “just” a misdemeanor charge. Many drug possession charges can be felonies, including second offense marijuana possession charges. However, there is usually a world of difference between penalties, both now and in the future, of what a narcotics delivery, possession of a controlled substance with intent to distribute, or some other form of drug dealing charge will carry in Wisconsin.

2. Marijuana may become legal in the future, but that probably will not save you from fines & penalties from your drug dealing case now.

Yes, we all know marijuana is becoming legal in some states. We also know that marijuana has a broad social acceptance in many areas, both around the state and country.

However, while many employers, friends, and family may not look at a misdemeanor THC possession very seriously in some cases, they will always view a “drug dealing” charge extremely seriously.

Like it or not, when someone says the words “drug dealer,” different people think different things. And while some people may think of a nice person making some cash on the side, many other people will think there is some kind of gang affiliation or will picture you running around on the streets of Milwaukee loaded with illegal guns and selling to children on playgrounds. There is simply a world of difference between what people think of when they think of somebody who may have been busted with a few joints versus someone who is a “drug dealer.”

Marijuana Possession
Possession with Intent (Grams)Possession with Intent (Pounds)Wisconsin PenaltyMax. IncarcerationMax. Fine
200 grams of THC or Less 0.44 pounds of THC or Less Class I Felony 3 years, 6 months $10,000 fine
200-1000 grams of THC 0.44-2.2 pounds of THC Class H Felony 6 years $10,000 fine
1000-2500 grams of THC 2.2-5.5 pounds of THC Class G Felony 10 years $25,000 fine
2500-10000 grams of THC 5.5-22 pounds of THC Class F Felony 12 years $25,000 fine
More than 10000 grams of THC More than 22 pounds of THC Class E Felony 15 years $50,000 fine

You are only a criminal if you are convicted™

3. Expungement laws may not help you.

Wisconsin has an expungement law that means, for the most part, if you were under the age of 25 at the commission of any offense, and you are convicted of any offense that you are not facing more than six years of prison for, then you may be eligible for expungement. The emphasis here in the preceding sentence is “may be eligible for.” Just because you may be eligible before the law does not mean a Judge is going to grant that expungement for you.

Like it or not, drug charges are perceived very differently, not only in the outside world, but also in the criminal justice system. There is an old expression that “users get probation, and dealers get locked up.” Even if your case does not end in any form of incarceration, it just as likely may not end in any kind of expungement. Even if you are convicted of something as a result of tough negotiations with the prosecutor, it is extremely important to deal with any idea the government may have that you are a “drug dealer.”

Your expungement may depend upon it.

4. You could go to jail.

If you have read this far, then by now you should know there is more than simply a possible list of punishments that separate a possession charge from a “drug dealing” crime.

People who are charged with drug dealing offense are usually facing much tougher penalties. They are also facing a far less sympathetic judge, a much more aggressive prosecutor, and far worse punishments as far as the possibility of expungement and job prospects in their future. But as referenced above, it does not end there.

Just because someone may be sentenced to some kind of jail or incarceration does not mean they actually will be. In other words, if you are facing up to one year in jail on a drunk driving third offense, that is no guarantee by any measure that you will actually go to jail for one year. Usually a skilled defense attorney can achieve something other than a maximum sentence outcome. While the same may be true about avoiding a maximum sentence outcome on a drug dealing charge, it is equally true you are far more likely to actually go to jail or prison on a drug dealing charge than on a possession charge. Remember, users get probation and dealers get locked up.

A skilled and experienced defense attorney team will be able to do everything to maximize the chances of both getting the charges dropped and protecting you from the most amounts of penalties. It does not change for one second that if you are facing a drug dealing charge in Wisconsin, you are facing a charge that puts you in an entirely different category of risk of going to jail or prison.

5. A jury might be better for you than a Judge.

Sometimes, depending upon the facts of the case and the background of the defendant, there really may be no choice other than to fight the charge. Maybe the case is just so serious that you are looking at going to prison no matter what if convicted. Other times, maybe you have several mistakes on your record, and we all know the Judge is going to slam you if you are ever convicted. In circumstances like these, there may be no option other than to fight your drug dealing charge in Wisconsin.

Contact the drug charge defense attorneys Milwaukee trusts to get penalties reduced or dropped and schedule your free consultation.

Although laws regulating marijuana production and distribution vary widely from state-to-state and change every year, in Wisconsin THC, the drug in marijuana, remains entirely illegal and manufacturing or distributing THC is a criminal offense.

Among neighboring states, Illinois and Michigan allow prescriptions of medical marijuana, and Minnesota has decriminalized marijuana possession. Travelers from these states or those who live near the border need to be careful and understand marijuana laws in Wisconsin are still very strict (marijuana remains completely illegal in Iowa and Indiana, as well).

Marijuana and THC Laws in Wisconsin

Getting caught with marijuana in Wisconsin is at least a misdemeanor charge. If you're caught with weed and you're charged with intent to distribute, sell or deliver, penalties start with a felony. If you're caught growing marijuana, the penalties are harsher. In spite of the efforts of Wisconsin NORML, the Wisconsin chapter of a national organization dedicated to reforming drug laws in Wisconsin, getting caught with any form of THC in Wisconsin is a crime - even edibles and hashish (hash). If you are unsure of what misdemeanor or felony class your charges fall under, learn more about Class U misdemeanor charges in WI.

Charged with Marijuana Possession with Intent to Distribute/Sell? Charges You May Be Facing:

In addition to the maximum fine allowed under each felony class, those convicted of drug offenses in Wisconsin can be assessed an additional surcharge up to 50% of their fines under the Drug Abuse Program Improvement Surcharge program. Enacted in 1987, this surcharge directly funds alcohol and drug abuse prevention programs through the Wisconsin Department of Health and Family Services. With the surcharge, fines can range from $15,000 to $75,000 per drug offense.

If you’re being charged with possession of drug paraphernalia in Milwaukee or elsewhere in Wisconsin you may face additional fines ranging from $500 and $10,000, plus surcharges and 30 days to 9 months imprisonment.

If you are caught distributing or selling marijuana to a minor in Wisconsin, or if you are charged with possession of marijuana in Wisconsin with intent to distribute/sell within 1,000 feet of a school, school bus, public park or other protected property you may have an additional 5 years added to your prison sentence.

In Wisconsin, possession of drug paraphernalia charges are commonly added to charges of possession of THC with intent to distribute/sell. Prosecutors often issue separate charges for each individual item which could be used in the growth, production or consumption of marijuana.

Furthermore, the prosecutor may decide your residence constitutes a drug house, which would add an additional Class I felony charge.

Milwaukee Criminal Defense Law Firm Produces the Powerful, Strategic Defense to Win Your Case

Many drug convictions are pinned on illegal search-and-seizures, warrantless wiretaps, insufficient probable cause and a host of other violations of your Constitutional rights. As a former state prosecutor, no one knows this better than award-winning Milwaukee criminal defense attorney, Tom Grieve.

Whether you’re being charged with a felony first-time offense drug charge in Milwaukee or you’re being charged with a marijuana misdemeanor in Waukesha, Tom Grieve is the drug defense attorney Wisconsin trusts to produce the powerful, strategic defenses to win their case.

Our lawyers can fight charges from all areas of criminal law, including DUI charges and firearm possession. We fight OWI penalties paired with THC possession changes. No other drug possession lawyers in Milwaukee have a better track record for getting drug charges reduced or dropped entirely.

Contact our Milwaukee criminal defense law firm today for a FREE review of your case.


Could You be Facing a Felony Marijuana Charge in Wisconsin?

It all depends on the severity of the marijuana-related crime, however, a big chunk of "intent to sell" marijuana charges can result in a felony charge stamped on your record. If you hire the right criminal defense attorney you may be able to get out of a maximum penalty.

  • Marijuana Possession with Intent to Distribute If you're facing a Class E Felony charge for Marijuana possession with intent to Distribute, you could be incarcerated for 15 years and face a max fine of $50,000.
  • Possession of Schedule I or II narcotics with intent to sell - If you're caught trying to sell schedule I or II narcotics, you'll be facing a class E felony charge that results in $50,000 in fines and at least 15 years in prison.
  • Possession of 2.5 to 10kg. of marijuana with intent to sell it - Getting charged with possession of 2.5 to 10kg of marijuana with intent to sell would be seen as a Class F felony in most cases. This type of crime would result in 12 years of prison time and $25,000 in fines (in Wisconsin).
  • Possession of 200g or 1kg of marijuana with intent to sell it Possessing 200g or 1Kg of marijuana in Wisconsin will result in a Class H felony charge. A class H felony in Wisconsin is punishable by up to $10,000 in fines and 6 years in state prison.
  • Possession of 200 g. or less of marijuana with intent to sell it If you're caught possessing 200g or less of marijuana with the intent to sell, you could be facing up to 3.5 years in state prison and fines up to $10,000. This type of crime is typically classified as a Class I Felony.

In Wisconsin, how long does a drug trafficking charge stay on your record?

Selling drugs, even one prescription pill, can be a felony that will stay on your record for over 75 years, or the rest of your life.

How to Beat Intent To Distribute THC

If you’ve been charged with intent to distribute THC, it is best to find a knowledgeable criminal defense lawyer who has knowledge and experience in this field.

Tom Grieve is a criminal defense attorney recognized among the top Milwaukee lawyers. Chosen as a “Top 100 Trial Lawyer” in Wisconsin by the National Trial Lawyers Association and inducted into the “Wisconsin Rising Star” category by Super Lawyers, Tom Grieve is a lawyer you can trust. 

Grieve Law has an impressive record of dropping or reducing intent to distribute charges in Wisconsin. With years of experience in representing clients facing similar charges, we’re proud to flex our success.

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