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Recent Case Results

RESULT: Criminal Complaint for OUI Drugs & OUI Alcohol – No Charges. "Client with commercial drivers license taken to hospital afte   read more

RESULT: Open Container – Case Dismissed. "Client charged with vandalism.  Dismissed at trial." Result: Case Dismissed at Trial   read more

RESULT: Open Container – Case Dismissed. "Open container case dismissed.  College student arrested, charged with violating the open con   read more

RESULT: Refusing to Submit to Blood Test – Not Guilty. "Client not guilty of refusing to submit to a blood test after trial.  Client ch   read more

RESULT: Driving Under the Influence of Drugs – Charge Reduced. Client charged with driving under the influence of drugs based on opinion   read more

Drug Crimes

According to the Rhode Island State Police Department, there were 4410 total drug violations recorded in 2010 throughout the state. Police and prosecutors aggressively pursue cases involving the illegal use of drugs (“controlled substances”), whether those drugs are illegal by definition or if they are prescription drugs used in an illegal manner (“club drugs”).

Defendants facing drug-related criminal charges need an aggressive defense tailored to their particular situation. The government is always anxious to win a drug conviction. Criminal investigations become a rush to judgment. Often times, constitutional and other legal rights of the defendant are trampled or ignored. Attorney Grasso has successfully defended unlawful searches and seizures.

Many drug-related cases involve three very critical events all involving the police: a STOP, a SEARCH, and an ARREST. If you have been charged with a drug crime, you need a competent attorney skilled in challenging illegal searches and seizures in order to EXCLUDE evidence that the police may have illegally seized from your person, automobile, home, etc.

Rhode Island Penalties for Cocaine and Marijuana Drug-Related Crimes

Possession of Cocaine

  • Nolo contendere pleas: 100 hrs. community service and drug education program;
  • Up to 1 oz.: 3 yrs. in prison and/or $500 to $5000;
  • 1 oz.-1 kg.: 10-50 yrs. in prison and/or $10,000-$50,000;
  • Over 1 kg.: 20 yrs. to life in prison and $25,000 to $1,000,000

Sale of Cocaine

  • Defendant not drug-dependent: life in prison and/or $10,000 to $500,000;
  • Drug-dependent Defendant: 30 yrs. in prison and or $3000 to $100,000;
  • 1 kg.: minimum 10-50 yrs. in prison and/or $10,000 to $500,000;
  • Over 1 kg.: 20 yrs.-life in prison and/or $25,000-$1,000,000;
  • Sale to minor or 3 yrs. junior: minimum 15 yrs. in prison and up to $500,000;

(If any of above cocaine crimes are committed within 300 yards of a school, the penalties are doubled.)

Possession of Marijuana

  • Possession of Less than 1 kilogram of Marijuana in RI: Considered Misdemeanor Possession of Marijuana and is punishable by up to one year in jail and a fine of $200 – $500. If you receive a sentence of probation with no imprisonment, the offender is required to undergo a drug abuse evaluation, attend a drug education course and perform up to 100 hours of community service.
  • Possession 1 kilogram to 5 kilograms of Marijuana in RI: Considered felony marijuana possession and comes with the penalty is a mandatory minimum sentence of ten years (10) in prison with a maximum of 50 years and a fine of $10,000 – $500,000.
  • Possession of More than 5 kilograms of Marijuana in RI: Considered felony marijuana possession and the penalty is a mandatory minimum sentence of twenty years (25) in prison with a maximum of life in prison and a fine of $25,000 – $100,000
  • Sale or possession within 300 yards of a school, public park or playground doubles the possible penalties.

(In addition to these penalties if caught driving while in possession of marijuana this is penalized by automatic suspension of the offender’s driver’s license for six months for the first offense and for one year for subsequent offenses.)

(For sentences of probation with no imprisonment, the offender is required to undergo a drug abuse evaluation, attend a drug education course and perform 100 hours of community service.)

Other Drug Charges and Penalties in Rhode Island


If you are found guilty of any other drug possession charge, schedule I-V, the penalties will vary from substance to substance but are:

  • Fines: $500-$5000
  • Up to 3 years in jail
  • likely drug education classes and community service


The most likely presumptive sentence on a possession of a controlled substance conviction is 0-18 months in jail.

A second (2nd) offense drug possession/simple possession charge in Rhode Island will face doubled penalties, over 100 hours of community service, a possible drug abuse program, drug counseling and education.

On any second (2nd) offense drug charge conviction relating to any narcotic drugs, marijuana, depressant, stimulant, or hallucinogenic substances, the defendant is subject to doubling of the jail sentence, fine, or both.

On any third (3rd) offense drug charge conviction as above, the defendant is subject to 3 times the jail sentence, fine, or both.

Possession of cocaine, heroin, methamphetamine, GHB, or ecstasy, may have mandatory jail times depending on the quantity of the drugs involved. Additional charges may include possession with intent to sell, transport, cultivate, trafficking or manufacture.

There are also substantial increases in penalties if you are charged with distribution within a school zone (within 300 yards of a park, playground, or school), or selling to minor 3 years younger than yourself.

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John Grasso helped me through some tough times. He has the experience and knowledge that makes the whole legal process go smoothly.Nicolas

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Phone | (401) 272-4001
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