Today, drug charges can have vastly different interpretations and penalties depending on the state you live in. As these laws have and have not changed throughout the years, some people have learned or retained misconceptions about how they work.

Here are four myths about Wisconsin drug charges that you shouldn’t believe.

1. Drug “possession” means the substance was on your person

Many people operate under the presumption that “possessing” something means it is in your pocket or otherwise attached to your person. In Wisconsin, this is not necessarily true for drug charges.

You could be charged with drug possession if a controlled substance is within your reach, in your car, in your home.

While a common defense may be that the drug didn’t belong to you, you can still face drug charges for knowingly possessing a controlled substance.

2. You can’t be charged for drug paraphernalia

According to Wisconsin law, a judge or court can make several considerations to determine if an object should be considered drug paraphernalia, such as:

  • How close the object is to a controlled substance
  • Whether that are other objects or substances nearby that explain its use
  • If there is residue of a controlled substance on the object
  • If an expert can testify as to how the object is intended to be used
  • If the object has instructions for use

In Wisconsin, a defendant could face a maximum penalty of 30 days in jail and a $500 fine for possessing drug paraphernalia.

3. Possessing a small amount of marijuana makes charges minor

Those who are found in possession of any amount of marijuana can be charged with a misdemeanor. While misdemeanor charges are often thought of as “minor,” a defendant could face up to 6 months of jail time and a fine up to $1,000.

Those who are found in possession of marijuana for a subsequent time can face felony charges that are punishable with a minimum 6-month jail sentence or up to 3 years in jail and a fine up to $10,000.

However, in light of changing opinions, laws and studies concerning the substance, Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers has proposed to decriminalize marijuana possession and legalize its medical use.

4. There’s no coming back from drug charges

There are many drug charge defenses an attorney may provide you with to avoid harsh penalties. Further, those who are facing charges may be able to attend a drug or alternative treatment court that would allow the defendant to enroll in a rehab program in place of jail time.