Understanding the Differences Between Misdemeanor & Felony Drug Charges

In the state of Missouri, possessing a controlled substance can be a misdemeanor or felony. The precise charges and potential penalties they carry depend on the circumstances of the arrest. If you’re facing drug possession charges and are wondering what may be at stake, this guide should help.

Misdemeanor Drug Charges

Generally speaking, misdemeanors are lesser offenses carrying lighter penalties. Whether a drug crime is considered a misdemeanor or felony depends on the substance in question and the amount that was found on the defendant at the time of the arrest.

Missouri has some of the toughest drug laws in the country, and most drug crimes are considered felonies. The one offense that’s not is the possession of marijuana. Possessing less than 35 grams of marijuana or synthetic cannabinoids is a misdemeanor. For first-time offenders, potential penalties include up to one year in jail and a fine of up to $2,000.

Felony Drug Charges

The unlawful possession of a controlled substance—or more than 35 grams of marijuana—in Missouri is usually a class D felony. As such, those found guilty face up to seven years in prison and fines of up to $10,000.

It’s important to note that the charge can increase to a class A or B felony if the defendant is accused of trafficking. Trafficking charges are usually determined by the amount found in the suspect’s possession. Should a conviction result, a class B felony carries up to 15 years in prison, while a class A offense can result in a life sentence.


If you were charged with a drug crime, turn to Traffic Law Firm of Missouri for help building a strong defense. Located in Troy, this practice is equipped to fight both misdemeanor and felony charges. With more than a decade of experience, attorney Peter Lassiter spends his time helping protect the rights of clients. Learn more about their work with drug possession cases online or call (636) 462-7867 to request a consultation.