Possession of a controlled substance occurs when a person is in possession of certain drugs that have been identified under state and federal laws. These are usually substances that are highly addictive, have little medical value, and are also considered dangerous. Depending on state laws and the amount possessed, possession of a controlled substance can result in misdemeanor or felony charges.
 
In some jurisdictions, possessing a controlled substance while armed with a firearm is a separate charge. This is a more serious charge than simple possession of a controlled substance. In most cases, possession of a controlled substance while armed involves possession of “harder” drugs, including:

  • Cocaine
  • Methamphetamine
  • Heroin
  • PCP

To be convicted, the person usually must have knowledge that they are holding both the drugs and the firearm.

What Are the Penalties for Possession While Armed?

Possession of a controlled substance while armed is a very serious crime, and is usually punishable under felony classifications. Penalties may include 2-4 years in a state prison and fines of up to $10,000. Penalties will be more serious depending certain factors, such as:

  • The type and amount of controlled substance possessed
  • The type of firearm involved at the time
  • Whether or not another crime was in commission at the time of arrest

Some states also impose very serious collateral consequences for possession while armed. These can include a lifetime ban on owning firearms, and a requirement that the person disclose their conviction when applying for employment.

Are There Any Defenses to Possession of a Controlled Substance While Armed?

Defenses to possession of a controlled substance while armed may include:

  • The substance involved was not actually a controlled substance
  • The firearm was not actually a firearm or there was no firearm involved, which may result in simple possession charges
  • The drugs and/or firearm were discovered through an illegal search by the police
  • In some states, it may be a defense if the gun was not loaded

Lastly, some states may offer alternative sentencing options for certain offenders. The availability of such programs vary from state to state.

Do I Need a Lawyer for Help with Controlled Substance Charges?

Possession of a controlled substance while armed is a serious offense. You may need to hire a criminal law attorney in your area if you need legal advice, legal research, or representation. Your attorney can provide you with assistance and guidance throughout the process to ensure that you are properly represented in court. Also, if you have any specific questions, your lawyer can address these as well.