Will I Have to Go to Prison If I’m Convicted of Drug Possession?


Will I Have to Go to Prison If I’m Convicted of Drug Possession?

Many crimes have rather predictable sentences. However, that’s not the case with drug possession. Depending on the circumstances, you could be looking at a $100 fine and a few days’ jail time or thousands of dollars in fines and a lengthy prison sentence. There are many factors that determine the punishment you’ll receive for drug possession. Each case is different, and only a qualified defense lawyer in your state can help you make the best decision. However, here are some common factors that may influence what kind of consequences you have to endure for a drug possession conviction.

The State You Live In

Where the drug possession occurred makes a big difference. State laws vary on many topics, but they vary more on drug possession laws than they do on many other topics. Some states are extremely harsh. Kentucky has some of the harshest drug laws. For your first drug possession offense in Kentucky, you’ll be looking at two to ten years in prison and up to $20,000 in fines. California, alternatively, has some of the lightest punishments. For your first offense, you’ll be looking at around $30-$500 in fines and/or five to 180 days in jail.

The Type of Drug

The type of drug you had in your possession also matters quite a bit. There are various “schedules” of drugs, five being the least serious to one, which is the most serious. Schedule five drugs include things like cough suppressants and Lyrica. Schedule one includes things like heroin, LSD, and E. Marijuana is actually classified as Schedule 1 even though most would consider it far less dangerous than many Schedule 2 drugs, like cocaine. Many attorneys will use this apparent discrepancy to defend their clients in court, so it’s critical to hire a defense attorney if you’ve been charged with drug possession.

The Weight of the Drug

How much of the drug you had in your possession is also important. In fact, the weight, or amount, of drugs that you had in your possession at the time of arrest can play a big factor in what kind of punishments you get and even how you’re charged. If you only had enough for you to use for a few days, you’ll probably get off with a misdemeanor possession charge and some fines, depending on the type of drug. But if you have a lot of it, that can indicate an intent to distribute, which can lead down the road of some serious charges and harsh penalties. Selling, distributing, or intend to do either are always punished more severely.

Prior Convictions

How many convictions do you already have? If it’s your first one, you will usually receive punishments that aren’t so harsh. But if you’re a repeat offender, you’ll probably be punished more severely. First-time offenders may get off with just a small fine and mandatory drug education courses or treatment. If you’re willing to submit to voluntary drug tests over 12 to 15 months, you may also be able to negotiate for reduced penalties. If you’re habitually found to have drugs in your possession, though, jail time and/or lengthy prison sentences are almost certain, as are hefty fines.

Aggravating and Mitigating Circumstances

The court will also consider aggravating and mitigating factors, or circumstances, in your case. Aggravating factors are things that make the situation worse for you. Mitigating factors make things better for you. For example, an aggravating factor may be that you were acting violently while in possession of the drug in question. A mitigating factor or circumstance might be that you were merely an accomplice to a main perpetrator and/or you’ve never done anything like this before.

Drug charges are nothing to mess around with. Contact an attorney to either help you in court or help you craft your appeal if you’ve already been convicted. Criminal defense attorneys have the knowledge and experience necessary to help you obtain the best possible outcome through a well-crafted defense that’s tailored to the specifics of your case. Don’t go it alone. Find a qualified criminal defense attorney in your state today and protect your future and your freedom.


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