Tag: sentencing

Sentencing Enhancement for Felony Possession Within “Drug Free Zones”

Felony drug offenses committed within “drug free zones” risk more time in prison. A “drug free zone” can be in, on or within 1000 feet of certain property.  This property includes schools, parks, swimming pools and rec centers as well as the contiguous land surrounding any buildings. Offenses committed on a marked school bus also count. Felonies include manufacturing, distributing or possessing with the intent to distribute a controlled substance listed in schedule I, II or III (simulated and imitation drugs included). The five-year enhancement applies only to adults (18 or older) who commit the offense involving another adult.  The […]

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Possession Does Not Merge With Eluding While Carrying Marijuana

A unanimous Iowa Supreme Court ruled on October 16, 2020 that certain marijuana possession-related convictions do not merge for purposes of double jeopardy protections against cumulative punishments. In State v. Johnson, the defendant argued his possession of marijuana conviction, a serious misdemeanor, should merge with his felony conviction for eluding while possessing marijuana.  The State did not dispute that a driver cannot violate the particular eluding subsection without also violating the prohibition against possessing marijuana.  Under the legal-elements test that compares two offenses to determine whether it is possible to commit the greater offense without committing the lesser, the crimes […]

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Defending the Sentencing Enhancement for Firearms in Felony Marijuana Possession Cases

All too often, inexperienced attorneys defending felony marijuana cases fail to fully appreciate the incredibly significant impact that evidence of a firearm can have on sentencing. How significant, you ask? Under Iowa Code section 124.401(1)(e), a person in the immediate possession or control of a firearm while possessing marijuana for delivery shall be sentenced to twice the term provided.  As a result, the nickel for a few ounces of bud may be enhanced to a dime simply because of a gun.  In other words, the Glock 19 seized by the task force now earns the unsuspecting person 10 years behind […]

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