Classifying Drug Crimes
The potential penalties for convictions of drug crimes can vary widely in severity, depending on the specifics of the case. Typically, the defendant’s criminal history, and the type and amount of the drug in question are significant factors during sentencing. However, there are ways of mitigating the potential penalties. If you’ve been charged with possession or another drug crime, talk to a criminal attorney in La Plata about your legal options. Your criminal lawyer may be able to have your case transferred to drug court.
One of the most common types of drug charges handled by a criminal attorney is unlawful possession. Some drugs are illegal to possess under both federal and state criminal law, such as heroin, cocaine, and ecstasy. Some drugs such as marijuana may be legal for medical or recreational purposes under state law, but illegal under federal law. Other drugs, such as oxycodone and codeine, are legal to possess and use with a valid doctor’s prescription. However, you could still be charged with unlawful possession if you do not have a prescription for the drug. Your criminal lawyer may defend you from a simple possession charge for a small amount or possession with intent to distribute if you allegedly had a larger amount of the drug. Additionally, you could be convicted of possession of drug paraphernalia, depending on whether the prosecutor can prove certain elements of the case.
You’ll need a veteran criminal defense lawyer if you’ve been accused of illegally manufacturing a controlled substance. You could be charged with manufacturing even if you didn’t take part in the actual production of an illegal drug. This charge also applies to those who are alleged to sell or possess precursor chemicals or specialized equipment.
Drug dealing is generally charged as a separate crime from drug trafficking. The former involves small amounts of an illegal drug, whereas the latter typically involves a very large amount. For example, under federal law, a person convicted of selling 1,000 kilograms or more of marijuana faces 10 years to life in prison. A person convicted of selling less than 50 grams of the same drug may face up to five years behind bars.