2015 Connecticut General Statutes
Title 21a - Consumer Protection
Chapter 420b - Dependency-Producing Drugs
Section 21a-279 - (Formerly Sec. 19-481). Penalty for illegal possession. Alternative sentences. Immunity.

CT Gen Stat § 21a-279 (2015) What's This?

(a)(1) Any person who possesses or has under such person’s control any quantity of any controlled substance, except less than one-half ounce of a cannabis-type substance and except as authorized in this chapter, shall be guilty of a class A misdemeanor.

(2) For a second offense of subdivision (1) of this subsection, the court shall evaluate such person and, if the court determines such person is a drug-dependent person, the court may suspend prosecution of such person and order such person to undergo a substance abuse treatment program.

(3) For any subsequent offense of subdivision (1) of this subsection, the court may find such person to be a persistent offender for possession of a controlled substance in accordance with section 53a-40.

(b) Any person who violates subsection (a) of this section in or on, or within one thousand five hundred feet of, the real property comprising a public or private elementary or secondary school and who is not enrolled as a student in such school or a licensed child care center, as defined in section 19a-77, that is identified as a child care center by a sign posted in a conspicuous place shall be guilty of a class A misdemeanor and shall be sentenced to a term of imprisonment and a period of probation during which such person shall perform community service as a condition of such probation, in a manner ordered by the court.

(c) To the extent that it is possible, medical treatment rather than criminal sanctions shall be afforded individuals who breathe, inhale, sniff or drink the volatile substances described in subdivision (49) of section 21a-240.

(d) The provisions of subsection (a) of this section shall not apply to any person (1) who in good faith, seeks medical assistance for another person who such person reasonably believes is experiencing an overdose from the ingestion, inhalation or injection of intoxicating liquor or any drug or substance, (2) for whom another person, in good faith, seeks medical assistance, reasonably believing such person is experiencing an overdose from the ingestion, inhalation or injection of intoxicating liquor or any drug or substance, or (3) who reasonably believes he or she is experiencing an overdose from the ingestion, inhalation or injection of intoxicating liquor or any drug or substance and, in good faith, seeks medical assistance for himself or herself, if evidence of the possession or control of a controlled substance in violation of subsection (a) of this section was obtained as a result of the seeking of such medical assistance. For the purposes of this subsection, “good faith” does not include seeking medical assistance during the course of the execution of an arrest warrant or search warrant or a lawful search.

(e) No provision of this section shall be construed to alter or modify the meaning of the provisions of section 21a-278.

(1967, P.A. 555, S. 37; 1969, P.A. 391, S. 4; 753, S. 19; 1972, P.A. 278, S. 26; P.A. 74-332, S. 3, 6; P.A. 83-141; P.A. 85-613, S. 62, 154; P.A. 89-256, S. 2; June Sp. Sess. P.A. 92-1, S. 4; P.A. 94-233, S. 2; P.A. 11-71, S. 2; 11-210, S. 1; P.A. 13-258, S. 88; P.A. 15-227, S. 25; June Sp. Sess. P.A. 15-2, S. 1.)

History: 1969 acts made imposition of imprisonment optional rather than mandatory, added $10,000 fine for third or more offense thus allowing imposition of fine and/or imprisonment and added Subsecs. (c) and (d) re indeterminate terms and medical treatment; 1972 act substituted “substance” for “drug” and corrected reference to Sec. 19-443 in Subsec. (d); P.A. 74-332 increased maximum term for first offense in Subsec. (a) from five to seven years, inserted new Subsec. (b) re hallucinogenic substances other than marijuana and cannabis-type substances, relettering remaining Subsecs. and revising them to reflect new Subsec. provisions, and imposed fine and imprisonment for subsequent offenses in Subsec. (c), formerly (b); Sec. 19-481 transferred to Sec. 21a-279 in 1983; P.A. 83-141 amended Subsec. (a) by increasing the maximum fine from $3,000 to $50,000 for a first offense, from $5,000 to $100,000 for a second offense and from $10,000 to $250,000 for a subsequent offense; P.A. 85-613 made technical change; P.A. 89-256 inserted a new Subsec. (d) re an additional, nonsuspendable term of imprisonment of two years for any person who violates Subsecs. (a), (b) or (c) near a school and is not enrolled as a student in such school, relettered the remaining Subsecs. accordingly and made technical changes to Subsecs. (c) and (e); June Sp. Sess. P.A. 92-1 amended Subsec. (d) to increase the proximity distance to school property from 1,000 to 1,500 feet; P.A. 94-233 amended Subsec. (d) to make enhanced penalty applicable to a person who possesses controlled substances in or near a licensed child day care center that is identified as a child day care center by a sign posted in a conspicuous place; P.A. 11-71 amended Subsec. (c) to make provisions applicable to possession or control of “one-half ounce or more but less than four ounces” of a cannabis-type substance, rather than “less than four ounces”, and insert Subdiv. designators, effective July 1, 2011; P.A. 11-210 added Subsec. (g) re inapplicability of Subsecs. (a) to (c) when medical assistance is sought in good faith for person reasonably believed to be experiencing an overdose from the ingestion, inhalation or injection of intoxicating liquor or any drug or substance and evidence of possession or control of a controlled substance was obtained as result of the seeking of such medical assistance; P.A. 13-258 amended Subsec. (b) to change penalty for first offense from fine of not more than $2,000 or imprisonment of not more than 5 years to a class D felony, and for a subsequent offense from fine of not more than $5,000 or imprisonment of not more than 10 years to a class C felony, and amended Subsec. (c)(2) to change penalty for a subsequent offense from fine of not more than $3,000 or imprisonment of not more than 5 years to a class D felony; pursuant to P.A. 15-227, “child day care center” was changed editorially by the Revisors to “child care center” in Subsec. (d), effective July 1, 2015; June Sp. Sess. P.A. 15-2 amended Subsec. (a) to designate existing provisions re person who possesses or controls substance as Subdiv. (1) and amend same to add exception for less than one-half ounce of cannabis-type substance and replace provisions re penalties for first, second and subsequent offense with provision re penalty of class A misdemeanor, add Subdiv. (2) re substance abuse treatment program and add Subdiv. (3) re persistent offender, deleted former Subsecs. (b) and (c) re possession or control of certain substances, redesignated existing Subsec. (d) as Subsec. (b) and amended same to replace provision re imprisonment for term of 2 years with provision re class A misdemeanor and sentence, deleted former Subsec. (e) re alternative sentence, redesignated existing Subsecs. (f) and (g) as Subsecs. (c) and (d), added new Subsec. (e) re prohibition against construing, altering or modifying meaning of Sec. 21a-278, and made technical and conforming changes.

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