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“Drug possession” can consist of a wide range of possible offenses and potential penalties, like the term “drugs” can refer to a widely varied list of prohibited natural and synthetic substances. This is also identified by which state you are busted in because each has its own laws pertaining to what constitutes drug possession and the potential penalties and sentences that a conviction can bring. But there are a few standard principles that apply in most states.

It is also vital to take note that drug possession may be considered a misdemeanor or felony and there are several varying aspects which will determine that. A few of these factors consist of 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.

One more thing you must consider is that just because you are arrested for possession, it does not mean that this is the only charge they will slap you with. You can get multiple charges all pertaining 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?

Drug Possession: Quantity Matters

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 bigger amount of drugs may cause charges of possession with intent to distribute, which basically carries much harsher criminal punishments.

So as to establish an intent to distribute charge, authorities 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, huge amounts of cash or even messages on a cell phone or computer.

Drug Possession: Pot Possession May Be Less Severe

The kind of drug you have in your possession can also identify the seriousness of the possible penalties. In the majority of states, marijuana possession may still be on the same level 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, commonly punishable by a small fine.

Drug Possession: Potential Punishments

So, taking all of that into account– the state you’re in, the drug you’re apprehended with, the quantity of the drug in your possession, the circumstances involving your arrest, and the presence of prior drug possession convictions– the possible penalties for drug conviction runs from a small fine of less than $1,000 to a number of years in state prison.

Drug Possession: Other Potential Punishments

Not everyone apprehended for weed gets jail time. But that of course, does not mean that they don’t deal with a lot of hardships because of their arrest– consisting of, but not restricted to: probation and mandatory drug testing, loss of career, 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 is a variety of techniques that a defense attorney can utilize in defending your case for you. They can analyze your case to determine if there is some sort of loophole that you may be able to wriggle into to have the case dismissed. Only a lawyer who is experienced in attacking possession charges and laws can do this for you.


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