Currently, it is illegal to possess or distribute cocaine. Cocaine is considered a Schedule II drug, a classification found in the Controlled Substances Act (CSA). A Schedule II Drug is defined as a drug which:
Typically, the Department of Justice does not prosecute simple, minor possessions, leaving that up to the respective municipality in which the crime occurred. Federal prosecutions normally focus on the sale, cultivation, manufacture, and distribution of illicit drugs.
Federal laws hinge on a set of guidelines. For cocaine possession, when the amount is 500-4999 grams (mixed), the following is the extent of penalties:
State law typically penalizes for a wider variety of offenses than the federal system, ranging from minor possession to the smuggling and distribution 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:
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. 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.
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.
Last Modified: 09-11-2015 12:51 PM PDTLaw Library Disclaimer
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