An individual accused of possessing, selling, or trafficking an illegal drug can face a drug charge. Illegal drugs include all legally defined controlled dangerous substances, including those that may be prescribed legally. If an individual does not have a valid prescription for a controlled substance, such as Vicodin or medical marijuana, he or she may be charged with drug possession.
Drug crimes can be charged at the state or federal level. Federal charges are handled by federal courts and often have different penalties than state-level charges.
At both levels, there are numerous types of drug charges. These include:
- Possession of an illegal drug;
- Trafficking illegal drugs. This can include manufacturing, transporting, or selling illegal drugs;
- Possessing drug paraphernalia; and
- Committing prescription fraud to obtain controlled substances.
Controlled dangerous substances include:
- MDMA; and
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How an alleged drug offense is charged depends on a few factors, such as:
- The type of drug involved;
- The quantity of the drug involved;
- Whether the defendant is charged with merely possessing a drug or if he or she allegedly sold or trafficked it; and
- The defendant’s criminal history.
Drug-related offenses can be charged as anything from a Class B misdemeanor to a first degree felony. Penalties include fines from $4,000 to $250,000 and incarceration for 180 days to life.
Some defendants facing drug charges qualify for drug court programs. These programs provide an alternative to conviction for non-violent offenders by focusing on rehabilitation. If you are facing a drug charge, talk to your lawyer about your eligibility for a deferred adjudication or a program like STEP or CARD.
Speak with your lawyer to determine the most effective defense strategy for your case. Ideally, your defense strategy will prove your innocence to the court and result in your charge’s dismissal. In some cases, the best possible outcome for a defendant is a plea bargain or referral to drug court.
Potential defense strategies for your case include:
- A lack of evidence linking you to the offense;
- Drugs or paraphernalia were obtained through an illegal search;
- You have a valid prescription to possess and use the drug;
- You did not know the drugs were in your home or vehicle;
- You were holding, transporting or selling drugs under duress; and
- You did not have a sufficient quantity of the drug to qualify you for the charge you are facing.
A drug-related conviction can change your life forever. When you are facing a drug charge, invest in your future liberty and reputation by working with an experienced criminal defense lawyer to fight the charge. Contact our team at Scott M. Brown & Associates today to set up your initial legal consultation to determine the most effective course of action for your case.