When facing a drug possession charge in Wisconsin, the penalties for a conviction can be quite steep depending on the circumstances of your case. Reviewing the potential consequences can help you understand why it is so important to protect your legal rights after this type of arrest.

Read on for information about the general guidelines the state uses for drug sentencing.

Controlled substance schedules

Drug possession charges depend on the specific substance, which Wisconsin categorizes into five schedules as follows:

  • Cannabis, heroin, LSD and PCP are Schedule I substances with the highest potential for abuse
  • Methadone, amphetamines, morphine, cocaine, codeine and opium are Schedule II drugs, with less abuse potential
  • Substances with accepted medical use fall into Schedule III, VI or V depending on their abuse potential

Possession consequences

Marijuana possession in Wisconsin carries a prison sentence of up to six months and/or a fine of up to $1,000 for the first offense. The state charges any subsequent cannabis offense as a Class I felony, resulting in up to 3.5 years in jail and a fine of up to $10,000. These Class I felony penalties also apply to possession of narcotic drugs found in Schedule I or II.

Possession of psilocybin, amphetamine, methamphetamine, LSD or PCP results in one year in jail and up to $5,000 in fines for the first offense. The court treats subsequent offenses involving these substances as Class I felonies.

Actual vs. constructive possession

An officer can arrest you for possession even if the substance is not on your person. This is constructive possession, which means you stored and planned to use or distribute the drug in question. Actual possession occurs when the substance is in your pocket, hand or otherwise on your person.

The circumstances of your case significantly affect the penalties you may receive for a drug possession conviction in Wisconsin. Procedural irregularities, such as a search without cause or a warrant, can sometimes result in dismissal or downgrading of a case.