DRUG / NARCOTICS

Our drug crime practice encompasses all issues from simple drug possession charges to investigations and defense of large-scale, national manufacturing and delivery operations. A criminal investigation or arrest on Iowa or Federal drug charges can be one of the most serious charges we handle because of the potential for harsh mandatory minimum sentences. At Feuerhelm and Kenville we understand the seriousness of the situation and have substantial experience dealing with drug charges. Gerald B. Feuerhelm was a prosecutor in Jasper County and has defended numerous drug cases in over twenty years of private practice.

This experience has given us a broad knowledge of the techniques and tools that police use to investigate drug crimes and the methods the government uses to prosecute their cases. If you are being investigated or charged with a drug offense, we are always ready to meet with you. Our combined experience on these types of cases is second to none and we want to use our knowledge and experience to help you. Contact us to set up a free initial consultation if you have been charged with:

  • Possession of a Controlled Substance (Simple Posssession)
  • Possession with Intent to Deliver
  • Delivery of a Controlled Substance
  • Manufacturing a Controlled Substance
  • Forgery or Alteration of Prescription or Use of Fraud to Obtain a Controlled Substance

Possession of a controlled substance and unlawful possession of prescription drugs

Both the State and Federal government have classified certain street and prescription drugs as "controlled substances", meaning that their possession, distribution, and use are controlled by law. In the case of non-prescription street drugs like "crack" cocaine any possession of the drug is considered illegal and persons found in possession of the substance will be subject to criminal prosecution. In the case of drugs like oxcycontin or hydrocodone, you can posses the drug, but only if it was prescribed by a licensed doctor. If you are found with pills that were not prescribed to you, you can be charged with possession of a controlled substance or unlawful possession of prescription medication.

The penalties for violations of Iowa law regarding possession of controlled substances vary depending on the type of substance possessed and the number of prior convictions for drug crimes that a person has.

In addition to the punishment listed below, a person convicted of a drug charge in Iowa court will be responsible for court costs, surcharges, and a probation supervision fee if placed on probation. If a deferred judgment is not granted the person will also be subject to a 180 day driver's license suspension regardless of whether or not the conviction was related to operating or possessing drugs in a motor vehicle. If you are placed on probation there will be other conditions and responsibilities set by your probation officer.
Minimum and maximum penalties for drug possession in Iowa
(State Law Violation):

    A first offense marijuana possession charge caries the following penalties:
    - Minimum sentence of a $315.00 fine.
    - Maximum sentence of six months in jail and a $1,000.00 fine.

    A first offense possession of any other substance charge carries the following penalties:
    - Minimum sentence of a $315.00 fine.
    - Maximum sentence of one year in jail and a $1,000.00 fine.

    On a second offense where both the prior and current offense are marijuana you face:
    - Minimum sentence of a $315.00 fine.
    - Maximum sentence of one year in jail and a $1,000.00 fine.

    On a second offense where either the prior or current offense are some other substance:
    - Minimum sentence of a $625.00 fine.
    - Maximum sentence of up to two years in prison and a $7,500.00 fine.

    On a third or greater offense where all charges are marijuana related your penalties are:
    - Minimum sentence of a $625.00 fine.
    - Maximum sentence of up to two years in prison and a $6,250.00 fine.

    On a third or greater offense where any of the charges are some other substance you face:
    - Minimum sentence of a $750.00 fine.
    - Maximum sentence of up to five years in prison and a $7,500.00 fine.

Penalties for the manufacture, delivery, possession with the intent to deliver a controlled substance in Iowa (State Law Violation):

Depending on the type of drug and the quantity involved you may be charged with a Class D, C, B felony or the so called "Super" B felony. Although the listed minimum penalties are sometimes just a fine, please continue reading for a discussion about mandatory minimum sentences. Also, understand that generally speaking, almost everyone who does not get sent to prison will be placed on probation and have a prison term "suspended". This means that you will avoid prison if you complete your probation, but if you have your probation revoked you will serve prison time.

  • For a Class D Felony the minimum sentence is a $750 fine, surcharges, and costs.*
  • For a Class D Felony the maximum sentence is 5 years in prison and a $7,500 fine plus fines, surcharges, costs, and as a convicted felon a sample of your DNA would be taken by the State to be put into a database. Additionally, there would be a six month suspension of your privilege to operate a motor vehicle regardless of whether the facts of your case involved a vehicle.
  • For a Class C Drug Felony the minimum sentence is a $1,0000 fine, surcharges, and costs.*
  • For a Class C Drug Felony the maximum sentence is 10 years in prison and a $50,000 fine plus fines, surcharges, costs, and as a convicted felon a sample of your DNA would be taken by the State to be put into a database. Additionally, there would be a six month suspension of your privilege to operate a motor vehicle regardless of whether the facts of your case involved a vehicle.
  • For a Class B Drug Felony the minimum sentence is a $750 fine, surcharges, and costs.*
  • For a Class B Drug Felony the maximum sentence is 25 years in prison and a $7,500 fine plus fines, surcharges, costs, and as a convicted felon a sample of your DNA would be taken by the State to be put into a database. Additionally, there would be a six month suspension of your privilege to operate a motor vehicle regardless of whether the facts of your case involved a vehicle.
  • For a Super B Drug Felony the sentence is a mandatory term of imprisonment of up to 50 years and a fine of up to $1,000,000 plus surcharges, costs, and as a convicted felon a sample of your DNA would be taken by the State to be put into a database. Probation is not available on a "Super" B. Additionally, there would be a six month suspension of your privilege to operate a motor vehicle regardless of whether the facts of your case involved a vehicle (But since you're in prison for quite a while this won't really have much of an impact).

Contact a Iowa criminal defense lawyer representing clients in Newton, Iowa today to schedule your free initial consultation.

A word about potential penalties and Mandatory Minimums. For certain drug offenses in Iowa there are mandatory minimum sentences including mandatory prison terms. For example, although the absolute "minimum" penalty for a general Class B Felony could be a fine, if you are convicted of a violation of 124.401(1)(b)(7) (Class B Methamphetamine violation) you face a mandatory 25 year prison sentence with a mandatory minimum of one-third of that sentence, there is no option for the judge other than prison. Additionally, there are potential enhancements for possession of weapons or for second or subsequent drug offenses that can make a huge impact on whether you go to prison and how much time you will serve. A "run of the mill" class C felony carrying a potential ten year sentence could suddenly have enhancements for Habitual Offender, Offensive Weapon, and Second or Subsequent Offense, with a potential maximum term of one hundred thirty five years! (Ten Years is enhanced to 15 as a result of the habitual offender, tripled due to the offensive weapon, and up to tripled again due to the second or subsequent offense). There are many different code sections that can impact a particular case and it takes an experienced and knowledgeable criminal defense attorney to be able to understand exactly what you are charged with and all of the potential enhancements, mandatory minimums, or other factors that make your case unique. Attorneys Gerald B. Feuerhelm has the experience and knowledge to help you understand what you've been charged with and all of the potential criminal penalties.

Forgery or Alteration of Prescription or Use of Fraud to Obtain a Controlled Substance

People are sometimes shocked to learn that altering a doctor's prescription can be charged as a felony and carry up to a ten year prison sentence. The law in Iowa prohibits any person from altering a prescription or obtaining or attempting to obtain a prescription medication through fraud, deceit, misrepresentation, or subterfuge. If the medication at issues is a controlled substance such as morphine or hydrocodone the case will be charged as a Class C felony with a maximum term of imprisonment not to exceed ten years. Most of the cases that arise in this area involve rewriting prescriptions, stolen prescription pads, or calling in phony prescriptions to pharmacies. Doctors offices, pharmacies, and the police are all aware of the potential for abuse that prescription narcotics present and we have seen more people charged with this crime in recent years. If you are facing accusations of altering a prescription or otherwise wrongfully obtaining prescription drugs contact us to set up an appointment to discuss your case.

Federal Drug Sentences:

As with any federal crime, the Federal Sentencing Guidelines are the key to determining what the potential penalties are in a federal drug case. The guidelines are no longer considered mandatory but they are the starting point for all sentencing decisions a judge will make. Because of the complexity of determining a sentencing range it is impossible to explain it in a few short paragraphs what any potential sentence would be, other than to say that the more drugs involved the greater the sentence. There are a number of factors that can increase a person's sentence or dictate a lengthy "mandatory minimum" sentence, but there are also a variety of "mitigating" factors that can lessen a person's sentence. Each case is unique and making sure the guideline range is calculated correctly is one of the most important functions your attorney will do. If you are facing a federal prosecution for drug charges you can call us to set up an appointment to discuss your case. Our initial consultation is always free of charge and we can make an appointment around your schedule.


If you would like to schedule a free initial consultation contact an Iowa criminal defense accident attorney, representing clients in Newton, Iowa at the Feuerhelm Law Office, P.C. Give us a call at (515) 266-5552.