Conviction of a drug crime can carry serious consequences; not only the potential of jail or prison time and fines, but disqualification from employment, loss of reputation and more. With the police and prosecutors working toward your conviction, you need someone who is working to protect your interests: drug crime lawyer Eric Derleth.

Known as “the Trial Guy” because of his intensive trial preparation and courtroom skill, Eric is also effective at getting drug charges dismissed or reduced before trial. For drug-related cases that go to trial, Eric has a strong track record of success on behalf of his clients.

Drug Possession in Alaska

Alaska categorizes controlled dangerous substances (CDS drugs) into six schedules based on each drug’s potential for harm to the user. These categories range from VIA (least dangerous) to IA (most dangerous). The penalty for possession of a controlled substance increases with the potential danger of the drug.

  • Schedule VIA: This is considered the least lethal category of drug. Marijuana is the only drug classified as Schedule VIA.
  • Schedule VA: Steroids, codeine, and certain opiates are Schedule VA drugs.
  • Schedule IVA: This category includes drugs such as barbiturates and diazepam (Valium).
  • Schedule IIIA: Schedule IIIA includes hashish, tetrahydrocannabinol, and parahexyl.
  • Schedule IIA: PCP, peyote, amphetamines, and methamphetamine are Schedule IIA drugs.
  • Schedule IA: Opiate derivatives such as heroin, and synthetic opiates such as fentanyl, are Schedule IA drugs.

It’s important to remember that Alaska law and federal law may treat possession of certain drugs differently. For instance, while Alaska treats marijuana as a Schedule VIA controlled substance, federal law punishes possession of marijuana more seriously because the drug does not have approved medical application.

A first offense for possession of CDS is generally charged as a misdemeanor. Subsequent offenses may be charged as felonies.

Penalties for Selling Drugs in Alaska

In Alaska, penalties for distribution of controlled substances are more severe than penalties for possession. Distribution crimes are divided into five degrees, with . The sale or distribution of CDS involves all 5 degrees, which all result in felonies except for transgression of the 5th degree.

The following are the five degrees of misconduct, the corresponding penalties, and the actions that warrant each conviction:

1st degree: An unclassified felony, punishable by jail time of 5 to 99 years and a maximum fine of half-million dollars.

  • The sale of any amount of a Schedule IA substance to a person under 19 who is at least three years younger than the defendant.
  • Sale of any amount of a Schedule IIA substance to a person under 19, three years younger than the defendant.
  • Involvement in a continuing criminal enterprise with at least five other people and gaining substantial income due to felony distribution of drugs.

2nd Degree: Class A felony, punishable by jail time up to 20 years and a maximum fine of $250,000

  • Sale of any amount of a Schedule IA substance.
  • Sale of prohibited chemicals to another individual with reckless disregard that the product will be used to produce methamphetamine, its salts, and isomers, etc.

3rd Degree: Class B felony, punishable by jail time of up to 10 years and a maximum fine of $100,000.

  • Sale of any amount of a Schedule IIA or IIIA substance.
  • Sale of any amount of a Schedule IVA, VA, or VIA substance to a person under 19 who is at least three years younger than the defendant.

4th Degree: Class C felony, punishable by a maximum five-year jail time and a maximum fine of up to $50,000.

  • Sale of any amount of a Schedule IVA or VA substance.
  • Sale of any preparation, compound, or substance with a total weight of one ounce or more containing a Schedule VIA substance.

5th Degree: Class A misdemeanor, punishable by a maximum jail sentence of one year and a fine of up to $10,000.

  • Sale of any preparation, compound, or substance with a total weight of less than one ounce which contains a Schedule VIA substance.

Habitual Drug Offenders in Alaska

Alaska imposes increasingly severe sentences on individuals with any prior felony convictions.

For example, if you have one prior felony conviction, then a second Class B felony conviction will result in four to seven years’ imprisonment. A second Class C felony conviction carries imprisonment of two to four years. If you have two prior felony convictions, then a third Class B felony conviction will result in a prison term of six to 10 years. A third Class C felony conviction carries a penalty of three to five years.

Hire an Experienced Alaska Drug Crime Lawyer

If you’ve been arrested for a drug crime in Alaska, your choice of attorney could mean the difference between prison time and freedom. Don’t try to talk your way out of charges on your own. The police aren’t on your side, and neither are the prosecutors; the only person who stands between you and serious, life-changing consequences is your attorney—so you should hire the most effective drug crime lawyer you can find, as quickly as you can.

Drug crime attorney Eric Derleth has over 25 years’ experience successfully defending clients against drug charges throughout Alaska. From his office in Soldotna, he serves Anchorage, the Kenai Peninsula, the Mat-Su Valley, Juneau, and Fairbanks. Contact us today to learn how Eric can protect your interests if you are charged with a state or federal drug crime.