When faced with a drug charge there are a lot of things that you need to understand quickly. While the laws may vary from state to state there is one thing that you can always be sure of when it comes to drug charges; they are a serious matter. The possession of any controlled substance could end up with you facing charges regardless of the amount, type, or quantity. According to the Law Offices of Izquierdo & Marin,
If you are found to have a controlled substance on your person or if you have knowledge and control of the substance then you run the risk of being arrested and charged with this offense. The types of charges you face are dependent on the circumstances of the case.
Your first order of business is to understand the charges that are leveled against you and to determine a specific course of action.
What Factors Impact the Severity of Drug Charges?
The severity of the charges against you will be determined by two different factors; the type of drug found in your possession and/or the quantity of the drug.
Some drugs may only be considered a misdemeanor offense while others may be considered a felony. Marijuana is probably one of the drugs that will carry the lowest offense; those found with less than 20 grams of it in their possession may be only charged with a first-degree misdemeanor. This could land you with up to 1 year in prison and up to a $1,000 fine. On the other hand, if you are found with heroin in your possession the punishment and fine could be much more severe.
This does not mean that if you are found with marijuana in your possession that it will always be a misdemeanor. If the quantity in your possession exceeds the legal 20-gram limit you could still be charged with a third-degree felony. If that were to happen you’d need to understand that you are potentially facing as much as 30 years behind bars with fines reaching into the thousands of dollars.
Understand that if the drugs are found in your possession you will be facing these charges no matter what. The courts will also be looking to levy even more serious charges. If the court is able to determine that you intended to sell the drugs in your possession you will be faced with even more severe penalties if you’re found guilty. There will be the need for the prosecutor to provide a certain amount of proof to get a guilty verdict. Note what is said at Find Law,
Prosecutors must be able to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant knew the drug in question was a controlled substance, and that he or she knowingly had possession of, or control over, the drug.
These charges could also be included in something called “constructive possession,” where you may not have direct access to the drug and it is not found on your person but you will still be charged with possession just the same. For example, if an individual is arrested with drugs in his vehicle but not on him directly, he could be charged with “constructive possession” along with anyone who held a set of keys to the vehicle. This is construed to mean that they all had access to the drugs so they all could be charged with “constructive possession.”
How Drug Paraphernalia Affect Possession Charges
You could also face drug possession charges if you are found with drug paraphernalia with you. Paraphernalia could be any number of devices that may be utilized during drug use. Just about anything could be considered drug paraphernalia but you can consider obvious items such as bongs, roach clips, glass pipes, or syringes the most likely to fall under these types of charges. Regardless of the state you are in at the time of your arrest, a possession of drug paraphernalia charge can be applied in any number of situations.
Several factors are taken into consideration before a paraphernalia charge can be made. These could include how the object may have been used with the drugs, the circumstances surrounding the use of the drugs, whether or not it was in their possession or if it was constructive possession, or the intent to sell among other things. According to the Federal Drug Paraphernalia Statute, the determination of whether or not an object is considered paraphernalia depends largely on its primary use.
Penalties for drug related charges could be affected by a number of different factors. These could range from as little as 90 days in jail to as much as 30 years. Some have even received life terms because of the quantity of drugs in their possession or the intent to sell or traffic the illegal substances. If you are facing any number of these charges you will probably need to have professional help to protect your right to freedom.
There is a wide number of charges that can be imposed on an individual related to drugs. Whether you’re a user or not you can still be charged with possession, manufacturing, and distribution of illegal substances of all kinds. According to Pelley Law, PLLC,
You can also be charged for drug offenses regarding prescription drugs if you did not have a valid prescription at the time the drugs were found in your possession, you obtained the drugs by use of a forged prescription, or you attempted to forge a prescription for the drugs.
Dealing with drug charges can be a very complicated affair. Finding yourself on the other side of the law can leave you facing some very serious circumstances that will require your immediate attention. Regardless of the charges against you, it is important that you become extremely knowledgeable about what they all mean and start preparing a defense right away. With charges leading to an ultimate loss of your freedom and other liberties it is no time to take shortcuts to protect yourself. The better you understand what’s in store for you the better your chances of launching a formidable defense. If you’re facing drug charges it is important that you address these issues head on so that you can ensure that you can maintain your rights for as long as possible.