Rhode Island Criminal Defense Lawyer S. Joshua Macktaz, Esq.

Rhode Island Drug Possession Lawyer

Rhode Island Criminal Defense Lawyer S. Joshua Macktaz, Esq.

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Aggressive, effective, experienced drug possession defense attorney in RI

As a former prosecutor for the Rhode Island Department of Attorney General, and now Drug Possession Defense Lawyer and Rhode Island criminal lawyer for 30 years, my law firm has successfully provided legal advice, legal representation, and legal services in thousands of criminal cases including:

  • simple drug possession
  • obtaining prescription drugs with a false prescription
  • possession of narcotics with the intent to distribute
  • delivery of drugs 

My experience, knowledge, and long-term relationships with prosecutors and judges have saved many deserving criminal clients from the harsh penalties provided under Rhode Island criminal law for drug or narcotics related criminal offenses.  

Check out a few of the hundreds of 5-star reviews and testimonials from former clients.

Rhode Island Drug Possession Lawyer Testimonials

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My goal as your drug possession defense attorney

My goal in all simple drug possession, obtaining prescription drugs with a false prescription, possession of narcotics with the intent to distribute, and delivery of drugs cases is DISMISSAL of all criminal charges and EXPUNGEMENT of your criminal record. 

If you have been charged with simple drug possession, obtaining prescription drugs with a false prescription, possession of narcotics with the intent to distribute, or delivery of drugs, it is critical that you hire the best criminal defense attorney in Rhode Island for legal advice and legal representation. 

The court system is complicated and intimidating, but an experienced, aggressive and skilled Rhode Island drug possession attorney can make the criminal court process understandable and get you the best results in your criminal drug case.

Call Rhode Island Criminal Defense Lawyer S. Joshua Macktaz, Esquire today at 401.861.1155 if you have been arrested and charged with simple drug possession, obtaining prescription drugs with a false prescription, possession of narcotics with the intent to distribute, or delivery of drugs

Drug offenses in Rhode Island

Each state and the federal government have laws against the unlawful use, manufacture, and distribution of drugs. The purpose of these laws is to reduce the unlawful consumption of drugs, reduce drug-related crimes, and severely punish repeat offenders and major drug dealers. Rhode Island drug laws and statutes classify controlled substances according to “schedules.”

The Attorney General has the authority to delete, add or reschedule controlled substances. State schedules refer to or are based on federal schedules. Drugs included on these schedules are referred to as “Controlled Dangerous Substances” (“CDSs”). 

My law office is intimately familiar with these drug crimes and drug charges.  Check drug possession laws for the Rhode Island drug law.

Punishment for drug and narcotic offenses generally depends on:

  • The quantity of the drug
  • It’s classification under the schedules.  The most serious criminal charges and cases involve the simple possession or distribution of:
    • Cocaine
    • Heroin
    • Prescription Medications.  Under Rhode Island drug laws, possession of drugs for personal use (without a prescription) is a felony and thus a serious crime. But in Rhode Island, simple possession of drugs for personal use is punished less severely than distribution crimes.
    • MDMA (Ecstasy)
    • Methamphetamines (Crystal Meth)
    • LSD
    • Mushrooms
  • The purpose of the drug possession. The most serious drug crimes are:
    • Manufacturing or producing illegal drugs
    • Cultivation of marijuana.  
    • Selling drugs — For example, a person “dealing” (selling) five or more ounces of heroin or cocaine can be jailed for more than 10 years.  Possession of drugs with the intent to distribute is also a serious crime. Prosecutors can prove your intent to distribute drugs just by showing the quantity of the drug, without any evidence that you actually distributed the drug.  

This is the Rhode Island law concerning drug crimes, drug charges and drug offenses:

§ 21-28-4.01 Prohibited acts A – Penalties. – (a)

(1) Except as authorized by this chapter, it shall be unlawful for any person to manufacture, deliver, or possess with intent to manufacture or deliver a controlled substance.

(2) Any person who is not a drug-addicted person, as defined in § 21-28-1.02(18), who violates this subsection with respect to a controlled substance classified in schedule I or II, except the substance classified as marijuana, is guilty of a crime and upon conviction may be imprisoned to a term up to life or fined not more than five hundred thousand dollars ($500,000) nor less than ten thousand dollars ($10,000), or both.

(3) Where the deliverance as prohibited in this subsection shall be the proximate cause of death to the person to whom the controlled substance is delivered, it shall not be a defense that the person delivering the substance was at the time of delivery, a drug-addicted person as defined in § 21-28-1.02(18).

(4) Any person, except as provided for in subdivision (2) of this subsection, who violates this subsection with respect to:

(i) A controlled substance, classified in schedule I or II, is guilty of a crime and upon conviction may be imprisoned for not more than thirty (30) years, or fined not more than one hundred thousand dollars ($100,000) nor less than three thousand dollars ($3,000), or both.

As you can see, Rhode Island drug law is complicated.  If you have been charged with any drug crime or drug charge in Rhode Island, you will want an experienced and aggressive Rhode Island drug possession defense lawyer on your side defending your life and your reputation.  Contact my law firm today at 401.861.1155 for the best legal advice, legal services and legal representation in Rhode Island.

Is possession of marijuana in Rhode Island still a criminal offense?

The answer is, it depends.  Rhode Island and the rest of the country have begun to recognize the use of marijuana for medical purposes.  Many states (including Rhode Island) have decriminalized possession of small amounts of marijuana for personal use.  Go to Rhode Island marijuana laws and offenses, to see detailed information.

Operating a motor vehicle while in possession of drugs

If Rhode Island police or law enforcement stop a motor vehicle and discover drugs or narcotics in the motor vehicle, the driver can also be charged with DUI. 

Under Rhode Island DUI law, it is a crime to operate a motor vehicle while under the influence of either alcohol or drugs.  As a Rhode Island DUI attorney, I have provided legal representation, legal services and legal advice in countless drunk driving charges brought by police based on drug possession. 

These DUI cases are particularly difficult for police and law enforcement to prove in court, and having the best Rhode Island criminal lawyer defending your DUI drug case gives you the best chance at beating the criminal case against you. 

My law office has an unbeaten record of success with these crimes.  Go to Rhode Island DUI Defense for more information about Rhode Island DUI Defense or RI DUI law.

Defenses for Rhode Island drug possession charges

There are many ways a skilled and experienced Rhode Island drug lawyer can defend your simple drug crime, obtaining prescription drugs with a false prescription, possession of narcotics with the intent to distribute, or delivery of drugs charges. 

All criminal defense attorneys are NOT the same, and the outcome in your drug possession case can vary greatly depending on the effectiveness, or ineffectiveness, of your criminal defense lawyer. 

My law office has been giving legal advice on RI drug cases for 30 years as both a prosecutor and a criminal defense attorney, and this experience has allowed me a wealth of information, knowledge and strategies simply unavailable to most defense attorneys.

Search warrants

Many Rhode Island drug crimes and drug charges begin with law enforcement obtaining a search warrant from a judge for a location, motor vehicle or person whom they suspect of drug possession. 

The police must present a sworn affidavit to a judge which details their investigation and reasons why they are seeking the warrant in order to obtain the search warrant. 

An experienced and aggressive drug lawyer knows how to attack search warrant requests, the structure and inconsistencies of the warrant, and the execution of the warrant.  

RI criminal law provides many strategies for a Rhode Island drug possession attorney to defend your criminal case by attacking the validity of the search warrant.

Automobile search and seizure law 

Rhode Island law enforcement officials also make numerous drug possession arrests after stopping motor vehicles for traffic infractions. 

An experienced and knowledgeable criminal defense attorney knows the ins and outs of RI search and seizure criminal law and can successfully have the narcotics suppressed (thrown out of court) as a result of an illegal stop or an illegal search of the motor vehicle by police. 

In fact, Rhode Island law enforcement is well-known for setting up surveillance posts on route 95 in order to try and catch out-of-state drug distributors.  

As a criminal defense lawyer with 30 years of experience with RI drug possession law and associated criminal charges, there is nothing I have not seen or defended in District Court or Superior Court. 

Frequently asked questions about drug charges

How serious is a drug possession charge?

A drug possession charge in Rhode Island can become quite serious depending on a few different factors. For instance, the quantity of a drug in your possession can determine the severity of your case. If a controlled substance is found in your possession for personal use, the consequences are typically less serious. Suppose law enforcement believes that there’s an intent to distribute the drug, your penalties will be more severe. Contact our law firm today to understand how serious your drug case is to speak with a drug possession lawyer. 

Will I go to jail for a drug possession charge?

A jail sentence is a potential penalty for a serious drug possession charge. For instance, those arrested with possession of 1-5 kg of marijuana with an intent to distribute can face extensive jail time (10 years is the minimum). However, with the right criminal defense attorney, you’re less likely to face time in jail. Our law firm has a long history of successfully helping clients avoid a jail sentence for drug possession. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation. 

What are the drug paraphernalia possession laws?

In the state of Rhode Island, drug paraphernalia possession is against the law. 

§ 21-28.5-1 “Drug paraphernalia” defined. – (a) As used in this chapter, “drug paraphernalia” means all equipment, products, and materials of any kind which are intended for use or designed for use in planting, propagating, cultivating, growing, harvesting, manufacturing, compounding, converting, producing, processing, preparing, testing, analyzing, packing, repackaging, storing, containing, concealing, ingesting, inhaling, or introducing into the human body a controlled substance in violation of chapter 28 of this title.

You can face up to 2 years in jail and up to $5,000 in fines for possession with intent to sell or deliver drug paraphernalia. If you’re accused of delivering drug paraphernalia to a minor, the consequences will be harsher. 

What should I do if there’s a warrant out for my arrest for drug possession?

Call our law firm immediately if you’ve learned that there’s a warrant out for your arrest for drug possession. Law enforcement believes they have enough evidence to prove that you’ve committed a drug possession crime when a warrant is issued. Do not speak to the police, friends, family, or neighbors about your drug crime case until you’ve talked to a criminal defense attorney first. Call our law firm as soon as possible, and a drug possession lawyer will guide you on how to proceed. 

How can you fight a drug possession charge?

There are several ways to fight a drug possession charge. As mentioned above, there may be an issue or inconsistency with how your search warrant was obtained by law enforcement. Or a law enforcement officer may have conducted an illegal search and seizure of your home or vehicle. To discuss more potential defense strategies for a drug possession charge, contact our law firm today. 

What can a criminal defense attorney do for me? 

A wide array of benefits come along with hiring a criminal defense attorney for a drug possession charge. First, and most importantly, a skilled drug crime lawyer can help you avoid time in jail, negotiate towards a lesser sentence, or even get your case dismissed. When you hire S. Joshua S. Macktaz, Esq., you know that you’re working with Rhode Island’s top drug crime defense attorney and taking every possible step towards a successful outcome.


  • Former Rhode Island State Prosecutor
  • Judges, Lawyers and Police Officers refer family and friends
  • 30 years of experience in Rhode Island criminal law, handling all drug crimes, drug charges and drug offenses.
  • 300+ Five Star online reviews across all platforms
  • Aggressive, experienced and personal representation of all clients in criminal cases.
  • My law office has strong and long-standing relationships with all Rhode Island Judges, law enforcement and prosecutors 
  • I will be the criminal defense attorney reviewing and overseeing your case and I will be the criminal attorney standing next to you in District Court and Superior Court.  Unlike so many other Rhode Island criminal defense firms, I do NOT send associates to do my job.  I am in criminal court every day of the week, and I strongly believe each expungement client deserves this personal service.
  • I copy every drug possession client on every single document coming into the law office, or leaving the office, regarding their charges.  I think it is critical for every client to be well-informed and fully engaged in the process.  Defending your Rhode Island drug crime, drug charge or drug offense is truly a team effort.
  • All calls and emails will be returned by me, not an associate, within a few hours of receiving the email or call.  
  • I provide a free and comprehensive initial consultation in all new criminal cases.
  • I am available 24/7/365
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