Being convicted of a drug charge is a serious situation that can cause effects for the rest of your life. Some drug charges have minimal penalties, while others can be very extreme. It can range from a small fee all the way to spending many years in prison. Your existing criminal record, previous offenses, and the leniency of the judge can all influence the sentencing. However, drug charge is what matters the most.
You may be charged with one or all the following drug crimes:
- Possession – One of the most common drug charges is possession and assumes that you have a controlled substance in your possession or have kept a significant amount for sale. Possession charges can be actual or constructive possession. Constructive means the drugs were not on your person but items like syringes or a pipe were found.
- Distribution or Trafficking – Drug distribution is also a common crime that relates to selling, providing, or delivering controlled substances. In many cases, these charges result from selling drugs to an undercover DEA agent or police officer. Your criminal record, the type of drug, and the amount of the substance will also be considered when choosing the consequence for distribution.
- Manufacturing – The third most common drug charge is manufacturing, which means being involved with producing or growing illegal substances. Cultivating an unlawful marijuana garden or creating substances through chemicals are both considered manufacturing.
What Is a Serious Drug Offense? When compared to the possession of a drug or paraphernalia for a drum, trafficking drugs or manufacturing drugs are more serious crimes. Delivering an illegal drug is a crime under both state and federal laws. Manufacturing a drug can result in both fines and prison time. The reason trafficking is more serious is because it typically involves transporting a large amount of substances.
Drug dealing typically isn’t considered as dangerous as trafficking since it involves the sale of drugs on a smaller scale. Since drug dealing is generally associated with a single person selling a small amount, the punishment is often less severe than for those selling significant amounts.
For example, selling a small amount of a drug might hold fines of up to $250,000 and a prison sentence of five years, but selling much more could lead to 10 or more years in prison and a steeper fine.
It can also make a drug crime more serious based on where you and the drugs are located. If you are in an environment with vulnerable people, such as a daycare, a school, or an assisted living facility, this can lead to more serious charges than if you were at home.
You may also find yourself with a charge of possession with intent to sell based on other factors. You do not have to be selling drugs to end up in this situation. If you have a large amount of drugs, tools for measuring and packaging drugs, a large amount of cash in small denominations, firearms, and lots of foot traffic, this charge can result.