Federal and Rhode Island law both prohibit the use, possession and sale of cocaine. Possession and sale are both felony charges that could result in significant prison sentences if you’re convicted. However, you may be eligible for diversion programs or a plea agreement depending on the facts of the case as well as your previous criminal record.
Possible sentences for nonviolent crimes
If you are convicted of a nonviolent drug offense involving the use, possession or sale of cocaine, you may be allowed to enter a drug diversion program. After completing the program, the charge will typically be dropped. In the event that you are convicted of possessing or selling less than an ounce of the substance, you may be able to plead nolo contendere. You will be subject to 100 hours of community service as well as enroll in a drug education program.
If you’re dependent on drugs
Rhode Island law imposes lighter penalties for drug charges involving dealers who are dependent on a controlled substance. For instance, if you are dependent on drugs, you could receive a sentence of up to 30 years in prison and/or a fine of up to $100,000. However, if you are not dependent on drugs, you could receive a life sentence in prison and/or a fine of up to $500,000.
Other issues to consider
The amount of cocaine found in your possession as well as where a sale takes place could influence your sentence. Sales involving minors could result in a minimum prison sentence of 15 years in addition to a fine of up to $500,000 while selling within 300 feet of a school will result in double penalties.
If you are charged with possession or the sale of cocaine, you will get a chance to defend yourself in court. It may be possible to contest the charge by claiming that you weren’t in possession of cocaine or that you weren’t trying to sell it to others. You may also claim that your Fourth Amendment rights were violated during an investigation.