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Drug Crimes Defense Lawyer in Rhode Island

Drug crimes are serious criminal offenses in Rhode Island. Depending on the offense, charges can be filed as misdemeanors or felonies. Prosecutors throw the book at alleged drug crime offenders and try to get the worst possible sentence if convicted. Oftentimes, your best option is to fight the charge. Other times, a entering plea agreement may be in your best interests. Regardless of what the best outcome is, you will only get that result if you have an experienced, effective defense attorney working hard to defend you against allegations of drug crimes in Rhode Island.

Melissa Larsen, Esq., is a defense attorney experienced with all types of drug crimes. Melissa is based in RI and will alway work to ensure you get the best outcome possible in your unique situation. If you have questions about your specific drug crimes case or want to know how Melissa will work hard to defend you, contact us at 401-218-0862 to schedule a free initial consultation.

Understanding Drug Crimes in Rhode Island

Drug crimes refer to a broad category of acts involving illegal drugs. They include the use, possession of an illegal substance, manufacturing, and distribution of unlawful controlled substances as well as unauthorized prescriptions and drug paraphernalia.

Common Prescription Drugs involved in Drug Crimes

Prescription drugs are legal only when lawfully prescribed and used. They become unlawful when unlawfully prescribed, used, possessed, or distributed.

  • Oxycodone (OxyContin)
  • Hydrocodone (Vicodin)
  • Meperidine (Demerol)
  • Phenobarbital (Luminal)
  • Diazepam (Valium)
  • Alprazolam (Xanax)
  • Methylphenidate (Ritalin)
  • Amphetamine/dextroamphetamine (Adderall)

Common Drug Paraphernalia involved in Drug Crimes

Drug paraphernalia can be items that are obviously needed for drug use but also items that have everyday uses in the home.

  • ledgers
  • syringes, needs, or small spoons
  • straws or paper tubes
  • razorblades 


It is illegal to possess a controlled substance. This also includes prescriptions without authorization and drug paraphernalia.


You can be charged with various offenses for participating in any step of the production of an illegal drug. This includes the creation of a synthetic drug, such as amphetamines, or the extraction of a naturally occurring drug, for example, cannabis. 


It is against the law to sell, transport, or import a controlled substance. Trafficking is one of the most serious drug crimes, attracting harsh penalties. Federal law applies and a trafficking conviction can result in life imprisonment. 

Understanding Federal Drug Crime Classifications

Controlled substances are classified by the federal government into five classes. These classes are organized according to the drug's potential for abuse balanced with its potential medical use.

  • Class 1: These drugs have no medical benefits but a high potential for abuse. These are no safe methods of use even if supervised by a medical professional. Examples include heroin, hallucinogens (like LSD), and even marijuana even though marijuana is not illegal for recreational and can be used for medical purposes (with a valid medical marijuana card) in Rhode Island. 
  • Class 2: These drugs have some medical use but a high potential for abuse and addiction. examples include morphine and other stimulants and painkillers. This category also includes cocaine.
  • Class 3: These drugs also have some medical use but the potential for abuse and addiction is lower. Examples include anabolic steroids, ketamine, and painkillers that combine opiates with non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs.
  • Class 4: These drugs have significant medical use and low potential for abuse and addiction. examples include barbiturates like Phenobarbital and sedatives like Valium and Xanax.
  • Class 5: These drugs also have significant medical use and lower risk of abuse or addiction. Examples include cough syrup, anti-diarrheal drugs, and other household drugs.

Rhode Island Penalties for Drug Crime Convictions

A range of penalties is available to the court when sentencing drug offenders, including:

  • Fines
  • Probation or community supervision
  • Court-ordered drug counseling sessions or rehabilitation
  • Community service
  • Incarceration, including life imprisonment

When sentencing for a drug crime, the court usually takes into account:

  • the type and amount of drugs involved
  • whether possession was for personal use or distribution
  • the offender's previous convictions, especially for drug offenses

There are also mandatory minimum sentences attached to some drug offenses or for repeat offenders. 

Why Fight a Drug Crime Allegation in Rhode Island

A conviction for a drug crime can have serious, long-lasting consequences. 

Aside from any penalty you receive, a conviction for a drug offense usually stays on your criminal history for the rest of your life. This can negatively impact your ability to find work, maintain personal relationships, hold a driver's license, secure a loan, enlist in the military, or own a gun. 

For these reasons, you should immediately speak to a drug crime defense lawyer at Melissa Larsen, Esq. if you've been charged with a drug crime.

How Melissa Larsen, Esq., an Experienced Drug Crime Defense Attorney in RI Can Help

Even minor drug offenses can attract harsh penalties and affect your future. The law around drug offenses is complex and can involve both state and federal authorities. So, it's important to find a defense lawyer who is well-versed in these types of offenses. 

They can explain the process, your rights, and any defenses available to you to fight the charges. They can also advocate on your behalf when negotiating with the prosecution or representing you in court. This is why you should contact Melissa Larsen, Esq. if you or someone you love is facing drug charges.

Contact Attorney Melissa Larsen

With the help of a lawyer experienced in defending drug crimes, you can minimize the potential effects of a drug conviction on your future or even avoid a conviction in the first place. Get started on your defense by contacting Melissa Larsen, Esq. either by calling 401-218-0862, texting or filling out an online form today to schedule a free initial consultation.

Attorney Larsen Is Here for You

Attorney Larsen handles all types of Criminal, Family Law, and Personal Injury cases. Attorney Larsen will help you successfully navigate your case.

Contact Attorney Larsen Today

Melissa Larsen is prepared to answer your questions regarding DUI/Chemical Test Refusals, Criminal Defense, Family Law, and Personal Injury cases in all four Rhode Island counties. Attorney Larsen is eager to discuss your case, contact her today for a free consultation.