Defining Possession, Manufacture, Use and Distribution of Drugs

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What Does It Mean to Possess an Illegal Substance?

Although state and federal laws may vary, a person has possession of an illegal substance when that person knows of its presence and has physical control of it. A person also has possession of an illegal substance such as a narcotic if that person has the power and intention to control it. Criminal possession is the holding of property that is illegal to possess. The police can find possession in two ways:

What Does It Mean to Manufacture a Drug?

Although state laws may vary, a person is generally guilty of manufacturing a drug when they produce an illegal substance by means of a chemical synthesis or a natural extraction. The manufacturing of drugs can also include the packaging or repacking of the substance or the labeling and re-labeling of its container. Often, this is not done by a single person acting alone. Since there are often multiple people involved in the manufacturing process, anyone who is involved but was not physically manufacturing the drugs at the time that they were arrested may be charged with conspiracy.

Use of Drugs

State laws can vary on the meaning of "use" in drug related crimes. Typically, this entails using an illegal controlled substance not prescribed by a licensed physician or practitioner.

Distribution of Drugs

While state laws may vary, a person is generally guilty of "distribution" when he transfers a controlled substance to another person. The transfer can be:

Distribution can carry the harshest penalties out of all the drug crimes because it involves enabling the drug use of others and the perpetuation of drug problems plaguing society.

What Can You Do If You Are Accused of a Drug Crime?

If you are accused of a drug crime, you should speak to a criminal lawyer to learn more about your rights, your defenses and the complicated legal system.

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Last Modified: 11-10-2015 02:42 PM PST

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