“Drug possession” can include a large a range of plausible violations and potential penalties, like the term “drugs” can refer to a widely varied list of prohibited natural and synthetic substances. This is also determined by which state you are busted in because each has its own laws involving what constitutes drug possession and the potential penalties and sentences that a conviction can bring. But there are a few basic principles that apply in most states.
It is also vital to keep in mind that drug possession can be considered a violation or felony and there are several different factors which will determine that. A number of these factors include your age, your prior criminal history, whether you were on school grounds, the amount you have on you and any whether you also had paraphernalia.
Another thing you should keep in mind is that just because you are accused of possession, it does not mean that this is the only charge they will give you. You can get multiple charges all associating with the same incident, including intent to distribute, possession of paraphernalia and even DUI. Based on where you live, if you have drugs on you and have innocent items, such as a bat, you may even be imposed with a weapons charge.
What else is critical to know when you are dealing with a drug possession charge?
Drug Possession: Quantity Matters
In all drug possession case, commonly some of the most important factors in determining the result is the amount of drugs found on your person. Typically, a few drugs will be considered “simple” possession, or possession for personal use, carrying a light fine that’s equivalent to a traffic violation in states that have decriminalized marijuana. As a matter of fact, a greater quantity of drugs may cause charges of possession with intent to distribute, which generally brings much harsher criminal penalties.
To establish an intent to distribute charge, law enforcement may need additional proof beyond the amount of an illegal substance. To establish an intent to distribute, law enforcement officials will search for things like drug packaging materials, scales or other measuring apparatus, large amounts of cash or even messages on a cellular phone or computer.
Drug Possession: Pot Possession May Be Less Severe
The form of drug you have in your possession can also determine the seriousness of the plausible penalties. In many states, marijuana possession may still be on the same level with other illegal drugs, like methamphetamine, heroin, and ecstasy. And though marijuana is still illegal under federal law, two states– Colorado and Washington– have made the possession of marijuana legal, while a few other states and areas have decriminalized marijuana and turned the simple possession of a small amount of marijuana into a civil infraction, usually punishable by a small fine.
Drug Possession: Potential Punishments
So, taking all that into account– the state you’re in, the drug you’re caught with, the volume of the drug in your possession, the situations surrounding your arrest, and the presence of prior drug possession convictions– the prospective fines for drug conviction range from a small to steep fines and a number of years in state prison.
Drug Possession: Other Potential Punishments
Certainly, not everybody busted for marijuana gets jail time. But that doesn’t mean that they do not cope with a lot of challenges stemming from their arrest– including, but not restricted to: probation and mandatory drug testing, loss of work, loss of child custody, removal from subsidized housing, asset forfeiture, loss of student aid, loss of voting privileges, and the loss of certain federal welfare perks like food stamps.
Drug Possession: Defending a Possession Charge
There are a number of ways that a defense attorney can go about defending your drug related case for you. They can assess your case to know if there is some sort of loophole that you may be able to fit into to have the case dropped. Only a lawyer who is experienced in fighting possession charges and laws should represent you if you want a positive outcome for your charges.
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