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Is Drug Possession a Serious Crime?

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By Tyrrell Sampson
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Is drug possession a serious crime

The answer to the question “Is drug possession a serious crime?” depends on many factors. In most cases, the amount and class of drugs are relevant factors, as is the location of the drug’s possession. If the drug was found near a school or youth club, the punishment may be more serious. Drugs also have a broader range of consequences, and a sentence for possession can be more serious than for possession of a single gram.

Possession with intent to distribute is even more serious. Possession of small quantities can result in a misdemeanor charge, but possession with the intent to sell or distribute is a felony. The amount of drugs is important, as large amounts suggest that the drug was intended to be shared or sold. Various evidence may indicate that the drug was intended to be distributed, including scales, plastic baggies, a business card, and a statement from a witness.

To be convicted of drug possession, a defendant must have knowledge that the drug was a controlled substance. The amount of drugs must be significant enough for a police officer to detect by sight. If the drugs were hidden, no one would have known they were there. For example, if the drugs were not in plain view, the defendant would not have been charged with drug possession. Furthermore, possession of a controlled substance can be joint or constructive. If two people share possession of an item, joint possession is presumed. The latter is possible if both people carry the drug.

The legal consequences of drug possession vary based on the type of drugs and the person’s age. In the most severe cases, a defendant faces a felony conviction. A judge may choose a misdemeanor based on the type of drug in question. Some drugs are automatically a felony, but others are less likely to be prosecuted. Additionally, the circumstances of the crime may play a role in whether the crime should be classified as a misdemeanor or a felony.

Simple possession of marijuana is considered a misdemeanor, and can carry penalties as low as a $100 fine. But if a person intends to distribute drugs, he or she could face a more serious charge with a felony conviction. Further, possession of a controlled substance with intent to distribute can bring a fine of up to $100,000 and incarceration for up to ten years.

Possession of a controlled substance can be classified as constructive or actual. Actual possession means that the person had control over the drugs when arrested. It can even mean someone simply kept the keys to a car or van that was filled with narcotics. In these cases, the individual is liable if they were in the vehicle. It is important to hire an attorney who is experienced in criminal defense. The Law Offices of Stephen Bilkis & Associates has the resources to fight drug charges effectively.

The first-time offender will be charged with a misdemeanor for possession of illegal drugs. The first-time offender will receive a fine and non-reporting probation. For the second-time offender, however, the punishment is more severe: up to six months in jail. The more dangerous offenses, such as selling drugs, may require a felony conviction. So, what are the penalties for possession of a controlled substance?

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