Possession v. distribution in Oklahoma

Simple drug possession — a nonviolent offense in which the defendant is only accused of possessing illegal drugs — was long a felony in Oklahoma until voters took decisive action in 2016. 

That’s when voters checked their ballots in favor of making simple possession a misdemeanor in Oklahoma instead of a felony. It was a bold move that’s been championed as a way to reduce the state’s growing prison population and relinquish Oklahoma’s title as the “prison capital of the world.”

But what about all the people who were already in jail or had already served time for simple possession before 2016? It took the Oklahoma legislature and the governor three years to address that problem after voters approved making simple possession a misdemeanor. 

HB 1269, passed by the legislature and signed into law in 2019, makes simple possession as a misdemeanor retroactive, meaning that people who are serving jail time for simple possession or have previous felony convictions for simple possession can have their sentences commuted or their records expunged. 

Felony convictions often make it harder for people to start over and succeed at life after incarceration, as it’s more difficult to find gainful employment and solid housing with a felony conviction on your record.

The law will take effect in November, and commutations for prison sentences could begin by December 2019 or January 2020. There are about 1,000 prisoners who could be eligible to have their sentences commuted when the new law takes effect, and about 60,000 people who could apply for expungement to have their felony convictions removed from their criminal records. 

What HB 1269 doesn’t address: 

  • As noted by the Oklahoma Policy Institute, the new law does not fix issues like sentence enhancements, which means a lot of Oklahoma residents are serving longer sentences than they would have if they didn’t have a prior drug possession felony. 

How does the expungement process work? 

Lawmakers have said that the goal of the new legislation is to lessen the fines and burdens associated with expungements, but it’s still a good idea to hire a lawyer to make sure you’ve got all your bases covered. 

There’s a ton of paperwork, legal notice and other requirements to successfully have your record expunged. One wrong move could jeopardize having your record wiped clean. 

Jacqui Ford’s law firm is highly skilled at handling misdemeanor drug possession cases and expungements that follow. Contact her office today for a consultation. 

Drug possession penalties in Oklahoma

If you’re caught simply possessing illegal drugs in Oklahoma, you’re facing a misdemeanor charge, but that doesn’t mean the consequences aren’t serious. 

Oklahoma is known for its “tough on drugs” stance, despite measures in recent years to change the record-high incarceration rates in the state. A report by The Oklahoman says almost 900 people got time behind bars for drug possession in the last half of 2017. That’s even after voters approved lessening drug possession from a felony to a misdemeanor. 

You could end up with hefty fines and prison time, not to mention having a criminal drug conviction on your record.

Here’s a breakdown of drug possession laws in Oklahoma: 


Possession of Schedule I and Schedule II drugs

Schedule I drugs are defined as narcotics with no accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse. These drugs include: 

  • Ecstasy (MDMA)
  • Acid (LSD)
  • Magic mushrooms
  • Heroin 
  • Peyote and mescaline 

**Marijuana is also considered a Schedule I drug by the DEA, but it’s punished as a lesser offense (More on that below)**

Schedule II drugs are defined as drugs having a high potential for abuse, such as: 

  • Cocaine
  • Vicodin
  • Methamphetamine 
  • PCP
  • Fentanyl
  • Adderall 
  • Ritalin

Schedule III drugs are defined as drugs with a moderate to low potential for physical and psychological dependence, according to the DEA. Examples include: 

  • Products containing less than 90 milligrams of codeine per dosage unit (Tylenol with codeine)
  • ketamine 
  • anabolic steroids
  • Testosterone

Schedule IV drugs are defined as drugs with a low potential for abuse and low risk of dependence, including: 

  • Xanax
  • Soma
  • Darvon
  • Darvocet
  • Valium
  • Ativan
  • Talwin
  • Ambien
  • Tramadol

Schedule V drugs are drugs with even lower potential for abuse than Schedule IV drugs, including: 

  • cough preparations with less than 200 milligrams of codeine or per 100 milliliters (Robitussin AC)
  • Lomotil
  • Motofen
  • Lyrica
  • Parepectolin

If you’re convicted of possessing any schedule of drugs and it’s your first offense, you could be sentenced to up to one year in prison and a fine of up to $1,000. It doesn’t matter how many times you’re caught with the same illegal drug: Each offense will still be a misdemeanor, as long as you’re not charged with any enhanced crimes like possession with intent to distribute or drug trafficking. 

Weaving through the web of misdemeanor drug charges isn’t something you want to face alone. It’s important for you to hire an experienced criminal defense attorney for help.

Contact Jacqui Ford’s office today for more information. 

Will pot breathalyzers work?

Medical marijuana has been a reality for thousands of Oklahomans since voters approved one of the most progessive medical marijuana laws in the nation in 2018. In Oklahoma, if you have a medical marijuana license, you can legally possess: 

  • Up to three ounces of marijuana on your person
  • Six marijuana plants
  • Six seeding plants
  • One ounce of concentrated marijuana
  • 72 ounces of edible marijuana
  • Up to eight ounces of marijuana at home

With so many people able to legally consume and possess medical marijuana, law enforcement agencies across the state are scrambling to find a way to bust people for driving under the influence of pot. 

Alcohol can be detected in a traffic stop if the suspected impaired driver blows into a breathalyzer, but even breathalyzers can prove faulty. Marijuana is more complicated. 

Without a breathalyzer or some other way to measure marijuana levels during a traffic stop, police have to rely on urine, blood or hair samples. None of those testing methods are an accurate measure of driving under the influence, because they can only tell you if there’s THC in your system. They can’t prove that you have consumed marijuana right before or while you were driving.

In Michigan, a medical marijuana user was acquitted of a DUI after a judge found that the trace amounts of THC found in a blood test weren’t enough to impair his ability to drive.  

Companies and research institutions are quickly coming up with their own versions of pot breathalyzers, but how would they work? And how will law enforcement and judges determine how much THC constitutes driving under the influence? 

Marijuana has many different forms and affects people in many different ways. Unlike alcohol impairment, which is measured by a .08 blood alcohol concentration (BAC), there’s no set number on THC levels that police and courts use to charge you with DUI. In California, it’s been found that many marijuana users are able to pass field sobriety tests when pulled over for suspicion of driving while high. 

At the University of Pittsburgh, researchers have developed a marijuana breathalyzer that would identify THC molecules in your breath. Scientists are also looking at ways to find marijuana in your saliva. 

Because the products are still being tested, it’s not clear how — or if — they’ll work on the streets. It’s worth noting that pot breathalyzers wouldn’t be able to detect marijuana edibles, creating a large loophole for medical marijuana users who don’t inhale. But the biggest legal question to be answered in coming months and years — as marijuana laws become more lax and more and more states are approving recreational use — will be how much THC constitutes driving impaired. 

Do you have a court case involving marijuana in Oklahoma? Contact Jacqui Ford’s office today for a consultation.

3 strikes law for drug offenses changed by new Oklahoma law

It’s been more than four years since Oklahoma lawmakers partially repealed the state’s draconian three strikes law that sent people to prison for life for having three drug-related convictions. But has the law made a dent in criminal justice reform? 

In the years following the partial repeal, Oklahoma has surpassed Louisiana as the “prison capital of the world,” and it doesn’t look like it’s a title Oklahoma will lose anytime soon. 

As Mother Jones reports, the number of state prisoners in Oklahoma is expected to grow by 14 percent over the next 10 years. And despite the repeal of the three strikes drug law in 2015, you can still be sent to prison for life if you have three drug-trafficking felonies in Oklahoma. 

In the year or so since Oklahoma earned its new rank as the global incarceration capital, high-ranking officials, including the governor and the state’s chief of prisons, have called for sentencing reform to reduce the prison population. 

The Legislature, however, wrapped up its 2019 session with only one new criminal justice bill that will decrease the prison population. The law allows some low-level drug offenders to be released from prison and have their records cleared. It’s a move could free up to 1,000 inmates, in a state that locks up 1,079 people for every 100,000 Oklahomans. 

There was a package of criminal justice reform bills that had bipartisan support, but those measures were derailed by the law enforcement and bail bond lobbies, both of which oppose prison reform. 

According to the ACLU, roughly one out of every five prisoners in Oklahoma was serving time for drug possession as of 2015. Many of those offenders serve their sentences in private prisons that the state relies on heavily due to overcrowding. 

“Many more Oklahomans held onto a chance they too would be able to access a more just criminal legal system only to watch their legislature fall short,” ACLU Oklahoma policy and advocacy director Nicole McAfee said in response to the  “Oklahomans are, again, forced to wait another year for the chance to adopt these and other meaningful reforms.” 

Will next year be the year that Oklahoma makes worthwhile progress in reducing the prison population? Or will lawmakers remain complacent and allow the Sooner State to remain the prison capital of the world? Only time will tell, and in that time, thousands will remain behind bars, and thousands more will end up there. 

Lawmakers may be complacent, but defense attorneys like Jacqui Ford are not. Everyone deserves the best legal defense possible. If you or someone you love has been accused of a drug crime in Oklahoma, contact Jacqui Ford’s office today. 

What to do if Your Home is Searched for Drugs?

If your home is searched for drugs, do not panic.  The assistance of a savvy attorney will make this unfortunate event that much less dramatic and worrisome.  Let’s take a quick look at the nuances of such searches and your best course of action.

The Basics of Property Searches for Drugs

Police officers are typically limited to searching the homes of those who consent to such a search.  However, there is a chance someone else on the property will give consent for the police to look around.  In general, police officers must have a warrant to search a property for drugs. Otherwise, most courts will decide the search is illegal.  For the most part, evidence obtained through an unreasonable search will not be admissible in court.  However, there are some exceptions to the requirement of a warrant for a home search.  As an example, an individual who appears to have authority and provides consent for a search to be conducted creates a legal loophole for police to take a look around the property without a warrant.

The 4th Amendment

The United States Constitution’s 4th Amendment provides protection against unreasonable search and seizure.  The language of this amendment specifically points out United States citizens are provided the right to privacy unless there is probable cause of illegal activity and police obtain a warrant.  The warrant must describe the area to be searched and what is to be seized. This means the police are required to obtain written permission from the court in order for the search of a property or person to be legal.  Furthermore, no evidence can be seized unless the warrant is obtained.

Though most people are aware of the general protections provided by the Constitution, many are unaware that police and other authorities are not permitted to search their property unless they have a search warrant as detailed above.

The Definition of a Warrant

In order to fully understand the rules for search and seizure, it will help to define what a warrant is.  Warrants are legal orders provided by judges to authorize police to search a specific property or person and seize certain items at a specific time.  As an example, a warrant might specify police are allowed to search 4050 Jefferson St. in New Orleans, Louisiana for cocaine between the hours of 9 AM and 7 PM.

It is up to the police to persuade the judge through sworn statements that there is probable cause or at least a reasonable belief that a crime has occurred.  Otherwise, the police will not have solid legal footing to obtain a warrant and conduct a search of a specific place for evidence of a crime. The police are required to provide their own evidence in order to obtain the warrant.  The targeted suspect will not be aware of the warrant at the time of the issue. Furthermore, the police are limited to searching the exact location noted in the warrant, be it a house, a vehicle or an exact outdoor location. As an example, if the warrant specifies police are to search a home’s front yard, they cannot also search the interior of the home or the suspect’s automobile.  Only the specific items noted in the warrant can be searched for.

Exceptions of Note

As noted above, if someone on the property who appears to have authority consents to the search, the police might be able to get away with searching the property detailed in the warrant and seizing the items noted in the warrant.  There are some instances in which police can conduct a search without a warrant. If police have probable cause in the form of something like a gunshot ringing out from a room in the home, a suspect’s sudden movement or a suspect who flees, an ensuing search can be legal even without a warrant.  Furthermore, if a property owner freely consents to such a search without coercion, the police can look through the space without a warrant.

If there is an arrest, police are not required to obtain a warrant to conduct a search.  The police will perform such a search as it is a means of self-protection.  They will search for weapons, criminal accomplices and evidence. The Plain View Doctrine states police officers are allowed to legally search a space and take evidence if it is in plain sight.  As an example, if a police officer who observes an illegal act taking place outside of a home, he or she is empowered to conduct a search and seize evidence from the space without a warrant.

Contact Our Attorney

If your home has been searched for drugs or anything else, do not attempt to fight the legal battle on your own.  Reach out to our legal team right away. We will explain your rights, develop a legal strategy and do everything in our power to clear your name.

What Does Smurfing Mean?

There’s Papa, Smurfette, Hefty, Brainy and a long list of others little blue creatures. Movies, songs and TV shows have all been made about this odd family we know as the Smurfs. As cute as the smurfs are, the term smurfing has a meaning that is far from cute.

What Does Smurfing Mean?

There’s Papa, Smurfette, Hefty, Brainy and a long list of others little blue creatures. Movies, songs and TV shows have all been made about this odd family we know as the Smurfs. As cute as the smurfs are, the term smurfing has a meaning that is far from cute.

What Does Smurfing Mean?

Smurfing is purchasing cold and allergy medications containing pseudoephedrine and knowingly or unknowingly selling or trading them to those who cook meth. This practice started happening when states became concerned about the meth outbreaks that were happening. To stop the spread of meth addiction Oklahoma imposed restrictions on the sale of medicine with pseudoephedrine (a key ingredient in cooking meth).

In 2012 more restrictions came out that limited how much medicine an individual could buy in a certain time. To get around this law, meth makers started paying people (known as smurfs) to go buy the medicine they needed. Police were quick to catch on.


According to Oklahoma law it is illegal to “knowingly and unlawfully possess a drug product containing ephedrine, pseudoephedrine or phenylpropanolamine, or their salts, isomers or salts of isomers with intent to use the product as a precursor to manufacture methamphetamine or another controlled substance.”

While possession of a precursor with intent to manufacture isn’t technically the same charge as manufacturing a controlled dangerous substance (CDS), the penalties can be just as serious and severe. Police are very aware of smurfing and they’re very aggressive in pursuing anyone caught smurfing.


If you’ve been charged with smurfing or manufacturing any CDS in Oklahoma call the Oklahoma City criminal defense lawyer who fights for her clients, call Jacqui Ford.  


Understanding prescription fraud in Oklahoma

Prescription fraud has become a prevalent problem for both the health care profession and law enforcement nationwide. It’s becoming increasingly problematic as the country continues to fight an opioid epidemic that kills people every day.  

Prescription fraud is defined as obtaining – or trying to obtain – prescription drugs by deceiving someone, misrepresenting yourself, or engaging in other types of fraud. In Oklahoma, prescription fraud is a criminal charge that can be prosecuted as a felony – even if fail to obtain the prescription that you were trying to fraudulently obtain.

What are the elements of prescription fraud?

Prescription fraud involves many factors, including:

  • Forging the name of a doctor or pharmacist
  • Changing or hiding prescription information
  • Changing or hiding names, addresses, names of drugs, or other material things that are relevant when obtaining a prescription
  • Convincing other people to alter prescriptions or issue counterfeit prescriptions to you.

People who commit prescription fraud often resort to the following actions:

  • Doctor shopping, or going to multiple doctors for the same prescription
  • Stealing prescription medications from friends or strangers
  • Stealing prescription pads from doctor’s offices
  • Robbing pharmacies
  • Buying stolen drugs

It’s important to note that if you see a doctor in order to try and obtain a fraudulent prescription, the doctor-patient communication privilege that is normally applied in law goes out the window.

What happens if you are convicted of prescription fraud?

In Oklahoma, prescription fraud is punishable by:

  • A maximum of 10 years in state prison
  • A maximum fine of $10,000
  • Both prison time and a fine

If you get more than one conviction for prescription fraud, the law does not all for suspended sentences or probation in lieu of prison.

How is Oklahoma making it harder to commit prescription fraud?

In 2015, Oklahoma was named the Number One state in the United States of America for prescription painkiller abuse, which means using painkillers for nonmedical purposes. A report done in 2012 concluded that there were an average of two drug overdoses per day in Oklahoma, making drug overdoses the Number One cause of accidental deaths in the entire state.  

Because of that distinction, Oklahoma government responded with a number of measures to curb prescription painkiller abuse, particularly with the Prescription Monitoring Program that was expanded in 2006.

The Prescription Monitoring Program does the following:

  • Collects and reports the names and telephone numbers of prescription users.
  • Requires all prescriptions to be reported to the PMP database within five minutes of being delivered to a patient.
  • Requires that doctors check patient PMP records to make sure the patient doesn’t have a habit of abusing opioids and “benzos,” or mild tranquilizers that are used to treat anxiety.


Charges and penalties for pot in Oklahoma

It’s no secret that Oklahoma has some of the toughest – if not the toughest – penalties for marijuana possession in the country. A quick Google search will show headlines like, “5 worst states to get busted with pot,” or “Oklahoma’s harsh marijuana possession law has its critics.”

It’s said that more than 12,000 Oklahoma residents are arrested for marijuana possession every year. Twelve other states arrest a higher percentage of their residents for marijuana possession, though it’s likely that no other state punishes more severely for pot.

So, what is it about Oklahoma’s marijuana laws that give Oklahoma such a reputation?

What is the punishment for a marijuana possession conviction?   

In Oklahoma, if you get busted with any amount of marijuana – even if it is just a small amount – it is a crime, punishable by:

  • A fine
  • Up to one year in jail for a first offense
  • Two – ten years in prison for second and subsequent offenses

What are the punishments for growing and selling marijuana?

It is illegal to grow or sell marijuana, or even to possess marijuana with the intent to sell it. Your punishment depends on how much marijuana you were caught growing, selling, or possessing with the intent to sell.

Penalties include:

  • A fine of up to $20,000, between two years and life in prison – or both – if you are convicted of growing up to 1,000 plants or selling 25 pounds or less.
  • A maximum $50,000 fine, twenty years to life in prison – or both – if you are convicted of growing 1,000 or more plants.
  • A fine no lower than $25,000 and no higher than $100,000, between four years and life in prison – or both – if you are convicted of selling between 25 and 1,000 pounds of marijuana.
  • A fine of no less than $100,000 and no more than $500,000, four years to life in prison – or both – if you are convicted of selling 1,000 pounds or more of marijuana.


If you get caught selling marijuana to a minor or caught selling it within 2,000 feet of a school, park or public housing, your penalties can double.

What are the penalties for drug paraphernalia?

Not only is it illegal for you to possess marijuana, it’s also against the law for you to possess paraphernalia – or items used to grow, process, sell, store, smoke or consume pot. Examples include bongs, pipes, roach clips, and more.

Penalties for drug paraphernalia are:

  • Up to one year in jail
  • A maximum $1,000 fine for your first conviction
  • A maximum $5,000 fine for the second offense
  • A maximum $10,000 for third or subsequent convictions

In 2011, lawmakers made the manufacturing of hash – a purified preparation of marijuana resin glands – punishable by a minimum of two years in prison and a maximum of life. If you’re arrested for marijuana in Oklahoma, make sure you hire an experienced defense attorney to help weave you through the web of strict marijuana laws.


Prescription Drug Fraud In Oklahoma

Oklahoma sure does have a lot of problems lately. We’re running low on cash, it’s hotter than hades, and our poor schools could use some help. Another problem on the list most Oklahomans aren’t aware of is prescription drug fraud.

We rank at the top of the list when it comes to using prescription painkillers for a nonmedical purpose. To combat this rising tide, Oklahoma lawmakers have made several aggressive legislative moves. The most prominent being the Prescription Monitoring Program.

The program is designed to allow law enforcement and doctors to monitor who has been prescribed what and when that prescription was filled. Doctors are required to register any prescription that was filled and check the database before prescribing painkillers.

Prescription drug fraud in Oklahoma comes with a $10,000 fine and up to ten years in jail. Judges can award this sentence to anyone caught with unprescribed drugs as well as those attempting to get drugs with a fraudulent prescription. Meaning if you try to get drugs with a fake or forged prescription, but fail to do so, you can still get fined $10,000 and 10 years in jail.

If you have contact with a doctor with the sole purpose of getting drugs under false pretenses, doctor patient privilege does not apply.

This is a serious issue that affects thousands of our fellow Oklahomans every year. If you’ve been charged with prescription fraud, call an Oklahoma prescription drug fraud lawyer. At Jacquelyn Ford Law we treat prescription drug fraud cases differently than other firms.

Not only will we help take care of your legal problems, we’ll help find you a treatment program to attend during your trial. We want to do more than be your OKC attorney, we want to help you get your life back.

Difference Between Legalization and Decriminalization of Pot

If you’ve ever been to a Dave Matthews concert, Earth Day rally, or any large public gather, you might have seen people from NORML walking around with clipboards asking for signatures. These people are working to either decriminalize or legalize marijuana.

This has become a bit of hot topic lately, especially after Colorado collected $70 million in pot tax revenue last year. The terms “decriminalization” and “legalization” are sometimes used interchangeably, which is incorrect.

To set the record straight, here’s the difference.



Decriminalization- When a state decriminalizes pot it means possessing small amounts of pot is now a non-criminal offense. So instead of getting arrested and a criminal record, you’ll probably get a ticket that you have to pay in court. Think of it like a traffic (not to be confused with trafficking) ticket.  

“Small amounts” means different things in different states, depending on what the laws the state passed.


Legalization- If pot has been legalized then it can be bought, sold, and used without any tickets or arrests. All states that have legalized pot set limits and regulations for buyers and sellers of pot. It’s treated fairly similar to alcohol in these states.

Currently four states (plus DC) have legalized marijuana and 20 states have decriminalized weed. Oklahoma has done neither. In fact, Oklahoma has some of the harshest penalties for drug related charges and weed is no exception.


If you’ve been charged with any kind of drug crime in Oklahoma, you need to get a lawyer as soon as possible. Jacqui Ford is one of the most aggressive drug attorneys in the state and she will fight for you.