Cocaine Possession and Sales Lawyers
Federal Law and Scheduling
Federal drugs typically do not penalize mere users for possession, but are more commonly aimed at the sale, cultivation, manufacture, and distribution of illicit drugs. Currently, cocaine is considered a Schedule II drug, a classification found in the Controlled Substances Act. A Schedule II Drug is defined as a drug which:
- Has a potential for abuse;
- Has a currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States, or a currently accepted medical use with severe restrictions; and
- Abuse of the drug or other substance may lead to severe psychological or physical dependence.
State Law and Scheduling
State law typically penalizes for a wider variety of offenses than the federal system, ranging from minor possession to the sale of large quantities. States for the most part mirror the CSA, and classify most drugs according to federal guidelines. Cocaine is considered a Schedule II in most states, but carries with it a wide variety of fines and prison terms for possession and sale:
- State Possession Penalties - State drug laws have distinct penalties for both the possession and sale of illicit drugs. For cocaine possession, most states do not have a quantity requirement, but most recognize increased penalties for possession over 28.0 g, and then again over 200.0 g. The following figures demonstrate to the extent of penalties for cocaine possession in U.S. states (varies in many states based on quantity):
- Possession fine - $1,000-$500,000
- Possession jail time - 4 months-15 years
- State Sales Penalties - State drug laws have distinct penalties for the sale of illicit drugs, including cocaine. While many incidents of the sale of illicit drugs also have federal penalties, state courts assess fines and prison time that is independent of any federal prosecution.
- Sale fine - $2,500-$1,000,000
- Sale jail time - 1 yr. - Life in Prison
Crack vs. Cocaine
At the federal level, there is a huge disparity between the sentencing penalties for cocaine in powder form and crack cocaine. States, for the most part, do not reflect this federal sentencing disparity. Only 11 states (Connecticut, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Missouri, New Hampshire, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, and Wyoming) have created a separate penalty scheme for crack cocaine; however, it is important to remember that even though states may not have defined different penalties between the different forms of cocaine, this does not mean that judges, juries, and the criminal system deal with offenders equally.
Do I Need a Criminal Defense Attorney for My Arrest Regarding Possession / Sale of Cocaine?
If you have been accused of or arrested for the possession or sale of cocaine, you may want to seek the counsel of a criminal defense attorney in preparation for any phase of the criminal process. If found guilty, there are often many factors a court will take into consideration when assessing whether to impose maximum or minimum penalties, and a criminal defense attorney can aid considerably in explaining and helping in this process.
Consult a Lawyer - Present Your Case Now!
Last Modified: 06-11-2012 03:57 PM PDT