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Tax Stamp Violations And Your Drug Charge Arrest

In addition to penalties for the possession, trafficking or manufacture of various illegal drugs, Iowa state law also allows prosecutors to augment an arrest for drug violations with a charge of failing to pay and affix a tax stamp to the drugs.

If this "drug tax" charge sounds unusual, it is — few other states have taken this approach to punishing those charged with drug crimes. However, the tax stamp charge has but one purpose: to enhance the charges filed against the defendant. Iowa does not expect residents to purchase these stamps before the drugs are (unlawfully) sold, and buying the stamp does not provide the purchaser with any immunity from prosecution.

If you are facing a tax stamp violation or other drug-related charges, you need a legal team experienced with the specific application of this unique state law. Our firm, Spellman Law, P.C., features a brother-and-sister attorney team with more than 20 years of collective experience practicing criminal law in Iowa.

Defenses For Tax Stamp Violation Charges

The tax stamp law is a bit of a "gotcha" law because the defendant would be charged with drug trafficking even if he or she attempted to buy a drug stamp. However, it is possible to challenge this charge in court on the basis of two elements of the law.

  1. The law states that the threshold for imposing the tax is 42.5 grams of marijuana, one live marijuana plant, 7 grams of other types of drugs (including cocaine and heroin) or 10 dosing units of drugs sold in pill form. Your lawyer will insist that the drugs you are accused of possessing are weighed or counted to ensure they meet this minimum standard.
  2. The tax stamp law is focused on drugs intended to be sold in a business transaction. Our firm's attorney will raise the issue of possession versus intent to sell if the drugs in your case were meant for purely personal use.

We Can Answer Your Iowa Criminal Law Questions

We understand state and federal drug laws because we defend clients in drug cases every day. To arrange a free case consultation with one of our lawyers, call our office in West Des Moines, Iowa, at 515-222-4330 or use our online contact form.