Wisconsin's drug laws are comprehensive and thorough; sometimes causing overlapping criminal charges. For instance, someone who smokes marijuana usually does so using a pipe or a bong. If he gets caught by police, they may charge him both with possession of marijuana and possession of drug paraphernalia.
Many view these multiple drug charges as duplicative; and it often allows prosecutors to punish drug crimes more harshly than they otherwise could. Recently, one Wisconsin man learned this lesson the hard way when law enforcement officers raided his residence and found an alleged marijuana growing operation.
Earlier this month, law enforcement officers executed a search warrant at the 51-year-old Shawano man's home. During the search, they allegedly discovered a growing operation in the basement with approximately 31 marijuana plants.
The defendant now faces multiple criminal charges, including:
- Manufacture and delivery of marijuana (felony)
- Maintaining a drug trafficking place (felony)
- Possession of marijuana (misdemeanor)
- Possession of drug paraphernalia (misdemeanor)
If convicted of the two felonies alone, the man could face up to 13.5 years in prison and approximately $35,000 in fines. This is in addition to whatever sentence he would face if convicted of the misdemeanor offenses.
This Wisconsin resident could spend more than a decade in prison and tens of thousands of dollars as punishment for growing, selling and possessing a substance that is legal in some states. Because of these duplicative charges, prosecutors can charge a drug-crimes defendant with a variety of offenses and wait to see what sticks.
Even though they are usually non-violent offenders, individuals facing drug crimes charges have a lot to lose if convicted. For this and other reasons, drug crime defendants should seek the help of an experienced criminal defense attorney.
Source: Shawano Leader, "City, county police bust alleged pot growing operation," Mar. 20, 2013