Drug possession and and drug distribution are two different types of offenses connected with controlled substances. Controlled substances are certain drugs listed by either the federal or state government as requiring government approval before an individual or company can engage in its production or distribution. These drugs are categorized from schedule I to Schedule V, according to how dangerous they are. Schedule I drugs are the most dangerous and include Heroine, LSD and Fentanyl Analogue. Schedule II drugs include PCP, Methamphetamine, Fentanyl and Cocaine. Anabolic steroids for example, are listed under Schedule III.
It is a crime to be found in the possession of a controlled substance without legal permission, both in the state and in the federal levels. In order to be charged with drug possession, the prosecution has to prove that the defendant:
a, Understood that the substance was controlled.
b, Knowingly had physical control over the substance.
c, Had easy access to wherever the drug was stored.
The type of drug in question, the quantity and even the geographical area in question will determine what exactly could be charged as drug possession. Marijuana possession is for example, no more an offense in certain states. The penalty for drug possession can also vary widely, beginning with a fine of less than $100, with or without a few days in jail, up to thousands of dollars in fine and many years of jail time.
Drug distribution, or drug trafficking, refers to the production, transportation, importation and selling of controlled substances without the necessary permit from the government. As long as you are found with drugs on you, and in a quantity above the minimum for that particular drug, you can be charged for drug distribution. Drug distribution is a more serious crime than drug possession and sentences are usually over a year long, and can reach up to 30 years, with about 3 to 5 years being the average.
In order to be charged with drug trafficking, the prosecutor has to be able to prove certain preconditions, which include that the defendant:
a, Had possession of the drugs, and the intention to sell them.
b, Had a certain amount of the particular drug, which was above a certain state or federal limit.
c, Was in possession of both drugs and cash, especially in small bills.
Factors that Influence The Penalties
If you are concerned about the severity of a case that you are either involved in, or know someone who is, you can always learn more from a criminal defense lawyer. You will have to explain what exactly happened in detail, so that the lawyer can outline the penalty possibilities for you. There are certain factors that influence the severity of both drug possession and drug distribution penalties, and they include:
The type of drug involved determines how severe a penalty can be. Some drugs are considered more dangerous than others. These more dangerous drugs also carry longer sentences.
The quantity of drugs that an individual is found with will determine whether it is for personal use, or for personal use with an intent to distribute, or purely for distribution. This in turn will also help to determine the severity of the penalty. The federal government and each state have their minimum defined quantities.
If an individual is found with lots of cash, especially in small bills, this in turn will act as evidence for drug distribution.
• Minors Involved
If there are minors involved, for example, if the distribution of the substance to minors can be proven, then the punishment will be much more harsh.
• Previous Records
Having previous criminal records usually results in a more serious punishment.
Drugs can be very detrimental to your health, especially when abused. This is the major reason for the governmental control of such substances. Remember that if you are unsure about the possible consequences of any event, especially one related to drugs, you should always seek a clarification from an attorney.
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