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Drug Stamp Tax Violations

Not only does Iowa have strict laws related to the possession or distribution of illegal drugs, but it also has separate crimes for violating the Iowa Drug Stamp Tax law. Passed in 1996, these laws for drug stamp tax violations are found in Iowa Code section 453B.12 and 453B.1(3).

The Iowa Department of Revenue grants the tax stamps for illegal drugs after an application is submitted. In Iowa, the drug tax stamps come in four colors:

Failing to place the stamp on the illegal drug can lead to a separate criminal charged being filed against you. Do drug dealers ever buy the colorful stamps and affix them to their illegal drugs? Of course not. 

Nevertheless, the failure to affix the required stamp to the illegal drugs can be charged as a D felony. The crime is punishable by up to five (5) years prison term. 

Attorney for Drug Stamp Tax Violation Crimes in Iowa

The attorneys at McCarthy & Hamrock, P.C. also represent clients on related charges such as Possession of a Controlled Substance, Delivery of a Controlled Substance, or Manufacture of a Controlled Substance. We fight for the dismissal of drug tax stamp charge based upon all of the available defenses.

Those defenses can include a showing that the drugs do not meet the minimum weight threshold. Other common defenses involve a showing that the defendant wanted the drugs for his own personal consumption and didn't intend to deliver the drugs to another person.

If you were charged with a drug crime in Des Moines, Iowa, then contact an experienced criminal defense attorney at McCarthy & Hamrock, P.C.. Our drug crimes attorneys represent clients throughout the City of Des Moines or the surrounding areas of West Des Moines, Windsor Heights, Waukee, Urbandale, Pleasant Hill, Norwalk, Johnston, Grimes, Clive, Carlisle, Bondurant, Ankeny, or Altoona.

We represent clients throughout the greater Des Moines area including Polk County, Dallas County, Warren County, Madison County, Jasper County and Marion County. If you were arrested by an officer with the Des Moines Police Department or another local law enforcement officer for any type of drug offense, then call (515) 279-9700 today.


Elements of Drug Stamp Tax Crimes

The elements of a Drug Stamp Tax Violation that must be proven at trial beyond all reasonable doubt include:

  1. the defendant knowingly possessed, distributed, or offered to sell a taxable substance;
  2. the defendant shipped, transported, imported into the State of Iowa or acquired, purchased, possessed, manufactured or produced in the State of Iowa;
    • Seven or more grams of a taxable substance;
    • Forty-two and one-half grams or more of a substance consisting of or containing marijuana;
    • One or more unprocessed marijuana plants;
    • Ten or more dosage units of a taxable substance not sold by weight; 
  3. the taxable substance that the defendant possessed, distributed or offered to sell did not have permanently affixed to it a stamp, label or other official indication of payment of the state tax imposed on the substance.

For more information about the elements of crimes related to failing to affix a drug tax stamp, read the standard jury instructions for this offense found at 2310.1.


Definition of a Taxable Substance

Under Iowa Code section 453B.1(6), the definition of “Dosage Unit” is the unit of measurement in which a substance is dispensed to the ultimate user. It includes, but is not limited to a pill, capsule or microdot.

Iowa Code section 453B.1(9), the definition of "Taxable Substance" means a controlled substance, a counterfeit substance, a simulated controlled substance, or marijuana, or a mixture of materials that contains a controlled substance, counterfeit substance, simulated controlled substance or marijuana.


Additional Resources

Iowa Drug Stamp Tax Law - Visit the website of the Iowa Department of Revenue to learn more about Section 37. 453B.1 to find definitions used in the sentencing scheme for drug stamp tax law. Find the administrative rules, when payment is required for possession, measurement requirements, defenses, immunity, pharmaceuticals, the rates of taxes applied, and the confidential nature of the information provided. The entire statute scheme targets drug dealers that are profiting from drug sales. 

Marijuana Tax Stamp Laws in Iowa - Visit the website of NORML, the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws to learn more about legal issues related to the marijuana tax stamp. Find out more about the criminal statutes in each state that prohibit the possession and sale of controlled substances. Learn why drug tax stamp laws primarily assess financial penalties but can also be used in criminal prosecutions.


Finding Lawyers for Drug Tax Stamp Crimes in Iowa

If you were accused of knowingly possessing, distributing, or offering to sell a taxable substance without a tax stamp, then contact an experienced criminal defense attorney to discuss your case. We can help you understand important defenses that can be used to fight the case for an outright dismissal.

We can also help you understand the elements of the offense that must be proven at trial and ways to show problems in the prosecutor's case.

Let us put our experience to work for you. Call (515) 279-9700 today.


This article was last updated on Friday, July 7, 2017.

Tell Us About Your Case

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