“Drug possession” can include a wide a range of possible violations and potential penalties, just like the term “drugs” can describe 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 concerning what constitutes as drug possession and the potential penalties and sentences that a conviction can bring. But there are a few general principles that apply in most states.
It is also important to note that drug possession can be considered a misdemeanor or felony and there are several different factors which will determine that. Some of these factors include your age, your previous criminal history, whether you were on school grounds, the amount you have on you and any whether you also had paraphernalia.
One more thing you should remember is that just because you are charged with possession, it does not mean that this is the only charge they will give you. You can get multiple charges all relating to 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?
In every 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. On the contrary, a larger amount of drugs may result to charges of possession with intent to distribute, which basically carries much harsher criminal penalties.
In order to establish an intent to distribute charge, law enforcement may require additional evidence 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 cell phone or computer.
Pot Possession May Be Less Severe
The type of drug you have in your possession can also determine the severity of the possible penalties. In many states, marijuana possession may still be on par with other illegal drugs, such as methamphetamine, heroin, and ecstasy. And although 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, typically punishable by a small fine.
So, taking all of that into account– the state you’re in, the drug you’re caught with, the amount of the drug in your possession, the circumstances bordering your arrest, and the presence of prior drug possession convictions– the prospective fines for drug conviction range from a small fine of less than $100 to several years in state prison.
Other Potential Punishments
Of course, not everyone busted for weed gets jail time. But that doesn’t mean that they don’t endure considerable hardships coming from their arrest– including, but not restricted to: probation and mandatory drug testing, loss of employment, 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 benefits like food stamps.
Defending a Possession Charge
There is a variety of ways that a defense attorney can go about defending your case for you. They can review your case to see if there is some sort of loophole that you may be able to fit into to have the case dropped. Only an attorney who is experienced in fighting possession charges and laws should represent you.Categories: