While the list of controlled and illegal substances applies to a variety of drugs, the specific type of drug charges tend to be fairly straightforward.
Depending on the state in question, the U.S. law system tends to stick with five specific charges when it comes to illegal drugs.
Simple Possession Offenses
Having an illegal drug on your person can qualify as simple possession. Anything up to half an ounce of the drug in question can qualify as a misdemeanor; anything else tends to qualify as a felony.
Drug Manufacturing Offenses
The crime of actively making illegal drugs. As has been dramatized in various media representations, the crime of drug manufacturing typically requires the space, planning, and engineering to create the drugs for later distribution.
Drug Trafficking Offenses
This charge refers to the crime of possessing and moving illicit drugs from one place to another with the intent to distribute the items. Generally speaking, drug trafficking comes into play when a law enforcement officer finds the substances on a person in transit.
That means, if the person gets pulled over on the side of the road or gets discovered with the materials while going through an airport security checkpoint, law enforcement officials may accuse the person of engaging in drug trafficking.
Trafficking works on the same concept as smuggling: the person accused of trafficking had something illegal, and they were trying to move it from one place to another. It should be noted here that, as a charge, drug trafficking can include an additional charge for the intention to distribute the material, but even if the accused had no intention of selling the materials, they can still be charged for trafficking.
Possession of a Controlled Substance w/Intent
Speaking of intent, a person found to have a controlled substance on their person might believe they have some wiggle room in terms of charges here, as possession does not automatically confirm intent.
This charge can be complicated based on what qualifies as a controlled substance according to the laws of the state in question. For example, while many states now allow the use of marijuana for medical purposes, those states generally have additional laws spelling out what qualifies as medical use requirements as opposed to recreational usage.
And there’s also the question of what “intent” means on a case-by-case basis. Intent can include the intent to distribute, traffic, and use, and the specific intent could make a big difference in the charge.
Sale of a Controlled Substance
This one round out the question of intent. If the law enforcement official has determined a person had illegal drugs in their possession with the intent of selling them, this charge comes into play. The penalties range from 1 to 30 years in jail since the charge qualifies as a felony regardless of the volume. So it won’t matter if it’s half a pound or a metric ton; this charge will always be a felony.
Want to learn more about specific drug charges? Need help finding professional legal representation regarding a specific charge? Contact The Clarke Law Firm today.