Drug possession is one of the most stigmatized crimes in Indiana, and prosecutors can be especially tough on offenders. If you’ve been arrested for drug possession in Indiana, it is imperative that you know what to expect and the best ways to defend against a conviction.

Indiana drug possession lawyer Allison Chopra will listen to your case without judgment and help you build an effective defense. You deserve an attorney on your side who protects your interests and approaches your case with both passion and compassion. Call Chopra Criminal Defense at (812) 671-0103 for a free consultation.

Indiana Drug Possession Laws

Indiana outlines their drug possession laws in Title 35 of the Indiana Criminal Code. Drug possession is defined as: “knowingly or intentionally” possessing a controlled substance or other drug without a valid prescription. There are two types of possession you can be charged with: actual or constructive.

Actual Possession vs. Constructive Possession

Actual possession is when you literally have the drug on your body, such as in your pocket or hands. Constructive possession is when the drug is not physically on you, but is somewhere you reasonably have control over. For example, if police find drugs in your vehicle, couch cushions, or bedroom closet, it can be argued that you had constructive possession.

Indiana Controlled Substance Schedules

Controlled substances are categorized into schedules based on factors (listed here), including its accepted medical uses and likelihood to cause dependency or drug abuse.

Schedule I drugs are considered the most dangerous, whereas Schedule IV drugs are considered to have the lowest risk. Here are some of the most common drugs involved in possession cases listed by schedule:

  • Schedule I – heroin, LSD, cannabis, ecstasy, methaqualone, peyote
  • Schedule II – cocaine, fentanyl, Adderall, Ritalin, methamphetamine, OxyContin
  • Schedule III – ketamine, anabolic steroids, testosterone
  • Schedule IV – Xanax, Valium, Ativan, Ambien
  • Schedule V – Robitussin AC, Lomotil, Motofen, Parepectolin

It is important to note that this is not a comprehensive list and does not include isomers, salts, and other derivatives of substances.

Drug Possession Charges in Indiana

You might be facing any of the following drug possession charges in Indiana:

  • Possession of marijuana, hash oil, hashish, or salvia
  • Possession of a controlled substance or controlled substance analog
  • Possession of methamphetamine
  • Possession of cocaine or narcotic drug
  • Possession of drug paraphernalia

Regardless of what you’ve been charged with, it is critical to obtain sharp and aggressive legal representation. The courts won’t take your drug possession case lightly. You shouldn’t either.

Possession of Drug Paraphernalia

Indiana Criminal Code 35-48-4-8.3 considers drug paraphernalia “any instrument, device, or other object” that helps introduce a controlled substance into the body, test its strength, purity, or effectiveness, or enhance its effect(s).

Examples of drug paraphernalia in Indiana include:

  • Baggies
  • Syringes
  • Lighters
  • Bongs
  • Pipes
  • Credit cards
  • Razor blades
  • Small mirrors
  • Miniature spoons
  • Lighters
  • Rolled-up paper tubes (i.e., dollar bills)
  • Roach clips
  • Inhalants
  • Tin foil

Because of the explicit wording in this statute, some objects that are commonly used in drug activity are actually not considered “paraphernalia.” For example, rolling papers and grinders do not count as drug paraphernalia in Indiana because they do not technically introduce, test, or enhance a drug.

Indiana Drug Possession Penalties

The penalties for drug possession in Indiana vary based on the type of drug, its amount, and whether there are enhancing circumstances (defined in IC 35-48-1-16.5). Enhancing circumstances include possessing a drug while also in the possession of a firearm, or within 500 feet of a school where minors are reasonably expected to be.

Marijuana Possession Penalties

Marijuana is currently illegal in Indiana for both recreational and medical use. The penalties for possession of marijuana (IC 35-48-4-11) are as follows:

Marijuana Possession Charge Level of Offense Sentence Fines
First offense Class B Misdemeanor Up to 180 days in jail Up to $5,000
Less than 30g (with a prior conviction) Class A Misdemeanor Up to 1 year in jail Up to $5,000
30g or more (with a prior conviction) Level 6 Felony Up to 1.5 years in prison Up to $10,000
More than 5g of Hash Oil, Hashish, or Salvia Level 6 Felony Up to 1.5 years in prison Up to $10,000

If you plead guilty to a first marijuana possession offense, you may be eligible for conditional discharge. This means your charges will get dismissed once you fulfill certain conditions.

Cocaine & Narcotics Possession Penalties

Possession of cocaine or a narcotic drug (IC 35-48-4-6) will have the following legal penalties in Indiana:

Cocaine & Narcotics Possession Charge Level of Offense Sentence Fines
Less than 5g Level 6 Felony Up to 1.5 years in prison Up to $10,000
At least 5 grams but less than 10 grams Level 5 Felony 2 to 8 years in prison Up to $10,000
At least 10 grams but less than 28 grams Level 4 Felony 4 to 12 years in prison Up to $10,000
28g or more Level 3 Felony 6 to 20 years in prison Up to $10,000

Possession of Methamphetamine Penalties

Possession of meth (IC 35-48-4-6.1) in Indiana is penalized as follows:

Possession of Methamphetamine Charge Level of Offense Sentence Fines
Less than 5g Level 6 Felony Up to 1.5 years in prison Up to $10,000
At least 5 grams but less than 10 grams Level 5 Felony 2 to 8 years in prison Up to $10,000
At least 10 grams but less than 28 grams Level 4 Felony 4 to 12 years in prison Up to $10,000
28g or more Level 3 Felony 6 to 20 years in prison Up to $10,000

Possession of a Controlled Substance Penalties

According to IC 35-48-4-7, possession of any other controlled substances or their analogs without a valid prescription will result in the following penalties:

Possession of a Controlled Substance Charge Level of Offense Sentence Fines
No enhancing circumstances Class A Misdemeanor Up to 1 year in jail Up to $5,000
If enhancing circumstances are present Level 6 Felony Up to 1.5 years in prison Up to $10,000

Possession of Drug Paraphernalia Penalties

Possession of drug paraphernalia (IC 35-48-4-8.3) in Indiana is penalized as follows:

Possession of Drug Paraphernalia Charge Level of Offense Sentence Fines
First offense Class C Misdemeanor Up to 60 days in jail Up to $500
If you have a prior conviction Class A Misdemeanor Up to 1 year in jail Up to $5,000

Additional Consequences of a Drug Possession Conviction

In addition to the legal penalties of a drug possession conviction, you may experience personal struggles after being convicted of drug possession in Indiana, such as:

  • Limited job opportunities
  • Strained relationships with friends and family
  • Loss of federal student aid eligibility
  • Diminished Second Amendment rights
  • Loss of child custody rights

Let Allison Chopra Defend Against Your Drug Possession Charges

There are various ways you can defend against a drug possession charge in Indiana. Prosecutors have the burden of proof, which means they must prove your charges beyond reasonable doubt. If the jury has any doubt in the prosecution’s case, they should find you not guilty.

Indiana drug possession lawyer Allison Chopra can help you undermine the prosecution’s argument and craft a custom defense to fight your charges. Allison has years of experience as a former prosecutor, which gives her the ability to anticipate how prosecutors will approach your case and the most effective defenses against their arguments.

Potential defenses against a drug possession charge include the following:

You Did Not Possess the Drug

If you were not in actual or constructive possession of the substance, the offense does not fit the legal definition for drug possession. For example, if prosecutors argue you had constructive possession of the drug, Allison may be able to argue that the drug was not reasonably in your control.

Lack of Evidence

If the prosecution does not have sufficient evidence to prove your charges beyond a reasonable doubt, drug possession defense lawyer Allison Chopra can use this as a defense against your charges. Insufficient evidence can lead to your drug possession charges being dropped. Allison will utilize the discovery process to evaluate the evidence against you and determine if there is sufficient evidence before anything else.

Unlawful Search and Seizure

Additionally, law enforcement may have conducted an unlawful search and seizure. If police lacked probable cause or failed to get a warrant to search your property, it is considered a violation of your Fourth Amendment rights. Any evidence they gathered during an unlawful search and seizure will be removed from your case with the help of Allison’s foresight and dedicated legal assistance.

Lack of Knowledge

Perhaps someone planted the drugs on you, or you borrowed a friend’s car without knowing they had weed in the glovebox. If Bloomington drug possession attorney Allison Chopra can show you had no knowledge of the substance and did not intentionally possess it, your charges could be dismissed or dropped entirely.

Lab Mistakes

While it is unlikely, there might have been discrepancies or errors when investigators tested the substance. A faulty test or procedure may have led to a false positive. Allison can evaluate your drug test results and consult with experts to determine whether or not the test’s efficacy can be disproven.

You Have a Valid Prescription

Suppose you’ve been charged for possession of a controlled substance, but you have a valid prescription for it. Having a prescription is a legitimate defense to a drug possession charge.

Indiana Drug Possession FAQs

Can I possess marijuana in Indiana if I legally purchased it in another state?

If you’re caught with marijuana that you purchased in another state and brought into Indiana, you could be charged with a federal crime. It doesn’t matter if the weed was legally obtained; it is still illegal to cross state lines with cannabis and possess it in Indiana.

The penalties for interstate drug trafficking are much harsher than marijuana possession alone, and you’ll likely be charged with both in this scenario. So, if police ever ask where you got a drug, your best answer is silence—not “Illinois,” “Michigan,” “Colorado,” or wherever else you may have purchased it. Exercise your right to remain silent and hire a defense attorney as soon as possible to avoid a trafficking conviction.

This is my first drug offense. Do I need an attorney?

No matter how many prior drug convictions you have, your best option for defending against a drug possession charge is to seek experienced legal counsel. Some people assume they don’t need an attorney until it’s too late. Drug cases are challenging to tackle alone and defending yourself can result in a maximum sentence and destroy your reputation and future.

Can a drug possession conviction be expunged in Indiana?

Certain offenses like sex crimes and violent crimes do not qualify for expunction in Indiana, but many drug possession charges do. It is best to consult with an experienced criminal defense attorney to learn more about the expungement process and whether or not your drug possession conviction can be expunged.

Can I reduce a felony drug possession charge?

Felonies can be reduced depending on the circumstances of your case. As a former prosecutor, Allison understands the most effective tactics to negotiate with prosecutors in your case on reducing your felony drug possession charge to a lesser offense.

For example, Level 6 felonies in Indiana are also known as “wobblers,” meaning they can either be charged as a felony or misdemeanor depending on the circumstances. As your aggressive defense attorney and legal advocate, Allison Chopra may be able to get your felony 6 possession charges reduced to a Class A misdemeanor if your case meets the conditions listed in IC 35-38-1-1.5.

Is CBD illegal in Indiana?

Yes, cannabidiol (CBD) is legal in Indiana. You cannot be charged with possession for having it. However, if a CBD product contains more than 0.3% THC, you could face marijuana possession charges.

Don’t Wait to Fight a Drug Possession Charge. Call Chopra Criminal Defense Today.

Being charged with drug possession in Indiana can be overwhelmingly frightening. Get ahead of your case by hiring an experienced and dedicated defense attorney. Drug possession lawyer Allison Chopra is committed to helping those charged with crimes in Indiana preserve their futures and avoid the damage of a conviction.

Contact Chopra Criminal Defense, LLC at (812) 671-0103 today for a free, 30-minute virtual consultation.