Being charged with a crime can be daunting, particularly when those charges involve drug crimes. Drug possession is one type of drug-related crime that people might face, and it can be generally understood to refer to having any amount of illegal narcotic or substance in one’s possession. This charge is different from other drug crimes like intent-to-distribute or drug manufacturing, but it can still come with hefty legal penalties if one is convicted. A conviction for drug possession might involve penalties like fines up to $25,000, or jail time up to 3 years. The penalties, of course, vary, depending on one’s circumstances, but not everyone is facing a certain conviction if they are charged with drug possession.

Penalty Distinctions

It’s very important to remember that penalties for certain drug possession charges will depend on several key things. These distinctions between crimes are critical for mounting a proper defense against the charges against a person. Penalties may vary based on:

  • The amount of the drug in possession
  • The previous offenses of a defendant (if any)
  • The type of drug in possession
  • Any potential damage that was done because of the possession

Based on the circumstances surrounding a person’s charges, he or she could be facing strikingly different penalties if convicted. But conviction is not a certainty when a person is charged with drug possession, because the burden of proof is on the court. It must prove, beyond reasonable doubt, that a defendant is guilty of drug possession. Even then, sometimes penalties might be lessened significantly through the right legal defense.