Possession and Criminal Penalties
In Alabama, the criminal penalties depend on what type of CDS a person is convicted of possessing and whether the individual has a prior conviction.
Possession of marijuana for personal use (possession in the second-degree) is a Class A misdemeanor. Class A misdemeanors are punishable by no more than one year served in either the county jail or in hard labor to the county. For more detail, see Possession of Marijuana in Alabama.
Possession of imitation CDS is a Class C misdemeanor. Class C misdemeanors are punishable by no more than three months in jail.
The court may also impose a fine for misdemeanor convictions. Class A misdemeanors can result in fines of up to $6,000. Fines for Class C misdemeanors can be no more than $500. (Alabama Code 13A-5-7, 5-12.)
Class C felonies are punishable by one to 10 years in prison and a fine up to $15,000. Class C felony possessions include:
- Possession of any CDS listed in Schedules I through V, unless otherwise authorized by law (a second possession of marijuana for personal use conviction elevates the crime to a Class C felony) .
- Obtaining CDS by fraud, deceit, misrepresentation, concealment of a material fact, or by altering a prescription.
- Possessing marijuana for other than personal use, such as sale (called possession in the first degree).
- Class B felony possession convictions result in stiffer penalties. They range from two to 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $30,000. Class B felony possessions include the possession, purchase, transfer, or distribution of anhydrous ammonia if the person knew or should have known that the anhydrous ammonia would be used to manufacture a CDS, namely crystal methamphetamine. (Alabama Code 13A-5-6, 5-11.)
Repeat or Habitual Offenders
Alabama imposes increasingly harsh penalties on individuals with prior felony convictions.
One prior felony conviction:
- A Class C felony possession is sentenced as a Class B felony.
- A Class B felony possession is sentenced as a Class A felony.
Two prior felony convictions:
- A Class C felony possession is sentenced as a Class A felony.
- A Class B felony possession is punishable by 15 years to life.
Three prior felony convictions:
- A Class C felony possession is punishable by 15 years to life.
- A Class B felony possession is punishable by 20 years to life.
(Alabama Code Section 13A-5-9.)