Oxford Criminal Defense Blog

Constructive Possession

Many people wonder if they can be charged with “possession of a controlled substance” if they were merely a passenger in a vehicle where such items were found.  The short answer is yes you can be.  Even when you are a passenger in a vehicle and no illegal substances or items are found on you, you can still be charged with and convicted of possession under the theory of “constructive possession.”

In order for the prosecution to show that you were in “constructive possession” of the prohibited item they will attempt to show three (3) things: 1. That you were aware of the presence of, as well as the character of the prohibited item. Meaning that you knew drugs were present in the vehicle and that you knew that they were a controlled substance.  2. The prosecution must also prove that you exercised dominion or control over the substance.  A couple of ways the prosecution may go about proving this is by showing your fingerprints were on the prohibited substance or its container, or perhaps the vehicle in which they were found was in your name.  3. Lastly, the prosecution will attempt to show that you were in close proximity to the prohibited substance, close enough to exercise control over it.

Read More

Mississippi Getting Tough On DUI/DWI

The advocacy group Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) ranks the states in an annual report concerning how strict the DUI laws are in various states. MADD in determining the rankings considers a number of factors, including the amount of special training officers receive in detecting signs and behaviors of drunk drivers, the required use of interlock systems, the frequency of sobriety check points and the severity of punishments for those convicted of Driving While Impaired (DWI). All factors considered, Mothers Against Drunk Driving concluded that Mississippi has instituted policies which MADD finds to be the most beneficial in cracking-down on DUI/DWI offenders.

Read More

Various Levels of a DUI Offense

Generally speaking, Mississippi has several forms or types of DUI’s or Driving Under the Influence crimes, including: DUI/DWI First Offense, this is driving while over the legal blood alcohol content level which is 0.08.  There is also what is referred to as DUI Other and is similar to alcohol related DUI offenses but applies when the substance a driver is under the influence of is other than alcohol.  A DUI Second Offense refers to a situation in which you receive a DUI and you have received a previous DUI within the past 5 years.  A DUI Third Offense, as you can imagine, is what you face is you receive a DUI after previously having two DUI’s within the prior 5 years.   When you reach DUI Third Offense you have crossed over into the real of felonies and can face up to 5 years in prison.

Read More

Expunge a Felony?

While having a conviction or plea of guilty expunged from your record is one of the great second chances provided by our criminal justice system, it is not always an available option. In Mississippi not only are misdemeanors eligible to be expunged, but some felonies are as well. However, there is a very limited number of felonies which may be expunged, they include: shoplifting, larceny, possession of controlled substances, malicious mischief, bad check offenses, and false pretenses. Some DUI offenses can also be expunged.

Read More

Like it Never Even Happened

In Mississippi if you are convicted of or plead guilty to a misdemeanor there is a good chance you will have the opportunity to have that conviction expunged from your record. Having a conviction expunged from your record is essentially a reset button, it gives you the opportunity to truthfully state, on a job application, that you do not have a criminal record. As you can imagine this will benefit you for the rest of your life and open doors which would otherwise remained closed due to having a conviction on your record.

Read More

Expungement

In its most simple terms an expungement is the process by which certain convictions, guilty pleas, arrests, and records can be effectively erased and/or be hidden from the public. Having your record expunged allows you to truthfully and legally to state that you have no criminal record on most applications.

Read More

Possession of Paraphernalia Defined

When dealing with possession of paraphernalia, Miss. Code Ann. § 41-29-139(d) states in pertinent part: (1) It is unlawful for a person who is not authorized by the State Board of Medical Licensure, State Board of Pharmacy, or other lawful authority to use, or to possess with intent to use, paraphernalia to plant, propagate, cultivate, grow, harvest, manufacture, compound, convert, produce, process, prepare, test, analyze, pack, repack, store, contain, conceal, inject, ingest, inhale or otherwise introduce into the human body a controlled substance in violation of the Uniform Controlled Substances Law. Any person who violates this subsection (d)(1) is guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction, may be confined in the county jail for not more than six (6) months, or fined not more than Five Hundred Dollars ($ 500.00), or both; however, no person shall be charged with a violation of this subsection when such person is also charged with the possession of thirty (30) grams or less of marijuana under subsection (c)(2)(A) of this section. (2) It is unlawful for any person to deliver, sell, possess with intent to deliver or sell, or manufacture with intent to deliver or sell, paraphernalia, knowing, or under circumstances where one reasonably should know, that it will be used to plant, propagate, cultivate, grow, harvest, manufacture, compound, convert, produce, process, prepare, test, analyze, pack, repack, store, contain, conceal, inject, ingest, inhale, or otherwise introduce into the human body a controlled substance in violation of the Uniform Controlled Substances Law. Except as provided in subsection (d)(3), a person who violates this subsection (d)(2) is guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction, may be confined in the county jail for not more than six (6) months, or fined not more than Five Hundred Dollars ($ 500.00), or both. (3) Any person eighteen (18) years of age or over who violates subsection (d)(2) of this section by delivering or selling paraphernalia to a person under eighteen (18) years of age who is at least three (3) years his junior is guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction, may be confined in the county jail for not more than one (1) year, or fined not more than One Thousand Dollars ($ 1,000.00), or both. (4) It is unlawful for any person to place in any newspaper, magazine, handbill, or other publication any advertisement, knowing, or under circumstances where one reasonably should know, that the purpose of the advertisement, in whole or in part, is to promote the sale of objects designed or intended for use as paraphernalia. Any person who violates this subsection is guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction, may be confined in the county jail for not more than six (6) months, or fined not more than Five Hundred Dollars ($ 500.00), or both. (e) It shall be unlawful for any physician practicing medicine in this state to prescribe, dispense or administer any amphetamine or amphetamine-like anorectics and/or central nervous system stimulants classified in Schedule II, pursuant to Section 41-29-115, for the exclusive treatment of obesity, weight control or weight loss. Any person who violates this subsection, upon conviction, is guilty of a misdemeanor and may be confined for a period not to exceed six (6) months, or fined not more than One Thousand Dollars ($1,000.00), or both.

Read More

Penalties for Possession of Paraphernalia

In Mississippi, possession of paraphernalia is a misdemeanor. If convicted of possession of paraphernalia, a misdemeanor, you could face up to six (6) months in a local jail and be required to pay a $500.00 fine. One thing to keep in mind is that the penalties for possession of paraphernalia, in many instances, are even greater than those for possession of marijuana.

Read More

Possession of Paraphernalia a Broad Term

It is easily understood that being caught in possession of drugs such as marijuana and/or controlled substances is a crime which can carry severe legal consequences. What many do not realize is that being in possession of paraphernalia, even in the absence of drugs or controlled substances, is a crime. Paraphernalia is defined as anything used to “plant, propagate, cultivate, grow, harvest, manufacture, compound, convert, produce, process, prepare, test, analyze, pack, repack, store, contain, conceal, inject, ingest, inhale or otherwise introduce into the human body a controlled substance….” As you can see, this is a broad definition leaving law enforcement with the authority to determine if they believe some of the items are being used for illegal purposes.

Read More

From Minor to Major

In the event a driver is pulled over, even due to a minor traffic violation, this may give the officer the opportunity to discover more serious circumstances, such as a driver being under the influence. As is a fairly common occurrence, a driver is pulled over for a minor traffic violation but when the police officer comes to the driver’s window they smell marijuana or perhaps alcohol. At that point, the officer has the requisite probable cause to search the vehicle. Suddenly something as seemingly minor as rolling through a stop sign has evolved into something far more serious.

Read More