A drug crime is a violation of state or federal drug laws. The difference between a legal and illegal drug is the way it is used. For example, some states have legalized the use of marijuana for recreational purposes, but others still require a prescription for medicinal use.
Drug crimes typically include:
- Possession: Drug possession is the most common drug charge and requires the individual to knowingly and intentionally possess a drug without a valid prescription, and in an amount that would be for sale or personal use.
- Manufacture: Drug manufacturing involves creating a synthetic chemical substance or extracting a natural drug. Manufacturing also includes the packaging of a drug.
- Use: This means a person consumed or took an illegal drug. A drug is usually illegal if there is no prescription from a doctor.
- Distribution: This includes the sale, smuggling, or delivery of an illegal substance.
Different Types of Illegal Drugs
Marijuana is the most commonly used illegal drug in the United States. A recent survey reveals that nearly 15 million people abuse marijuana. Marijuana laws vary greatly between the states. A number of states have recently allowed for the medical or even recreational use of marijuana. Other commonly abused drugs include:
Drug Crime Convictions and Punishments
Federal drug charges are typically more severe in punishment than state charges. Punishment varies and is based on:
- Drug type
- Purpose of the possession (e.g. personal use or distribution purposes)
- Prior convictions
- Probation or parole status
If an individual is convicted for a drug crime, then the consequences may be:
- Probation or parole
- Loss of custody of children
- Court ordered counseling
- Significant fines
- Community service
- Loss of residency
Should I Contact a Criminal Defense Attorney?
Yes. If you are accused of a drug crime, you should speak to an experienced criminal defense lawyer to learn more about your rights, your defenses and the complicated legal system.