Missouri state law prohibits anyone from using, possessing or selling heroin and most other controlled substances. State law stipulates that all charges related to heroin use or possession are classified as felonies. A conviction on a felony charge can carry penalties such as multiple decades in prison or a significant fine. Other penalties may apply depending on the exact details of your case.
Probation may be possible for a first offense
Missouri law does allow those who are convicted of a first drug offense to be sentenced to probation as opposed to prison. To be eligible for a lighter sentence, you must complete a drug rehabilitation program and adhere to other rules imposed by the judge in your case.
Charges are divided among three tiers
Possession of heroin is labeled as a Class C felony, the lowest of the three levels. If convicted of the charge, you will spend at least one year and up to seven years in prison. Selling heroin is classified as a Class B felony and carries a sentence of up to 15 years in prison.
State law saves the harshest punishment for those who engage in drug crimes that involve moving goods across state lines. This is considered a Class A felony and carries a prison sentence of between 10 and 30 years.
You may also be charged with a Class A felony for selling a significant amount of heroin or doing so in a school zone. Attempting to distribute more than 90 grams of the substance is a Class A felony without the possibility of parole.
If you are charged with a drug crime, you may be able to have the charge dismissed or reduced per the terms of a plea deal. A charge may be dropped or reduced by casting doubt on witness testimony, physical evidence or anything else the government uses to justify its actions in your case.