In 2016, there were 1,500,000 arrests for drug crimes. 85% of those were drug possession charges.
With those numbers, it’s not uncommon for people to find themselves in jail with possession charges. Courts and criminal charges can be pretty complicated, so it’s important to know what you’re up against.
This article will show the breakdown of different types of charges as well as factors in sentencing and penalties.
Drug Possession Charges
There are two main differences in actual drug possession charges.
The first is actual possession. If a bag of marijuana is found in your pocket or a bottle of pills is in your backpack while you’re wearing it, that’s actual possession.
There is also constructive possession. This happens when a drug is found in your car or your room. It’s not actually on you, but it’s in a place that belongs to you.
Constructive possession is a harder charge for the prosecution to make. Actual possession is a much worse charge for you as a defendant.
Factors in Drug Charge Sentencing
There are a few different things courts consider before deciding the actual charges and penalties.
First, they’ll look at your criminal record. Is this the first time you’ve been caught with drugs? Is this a regular behavior for you or a one-time bad decision?
Second, they’ll consider the type of drug you had. The federal government ranks drugs on a schedule scale. Drugs that are a higher schedule like marijuana, heroin, and cocaine get higher charges than other drugs like cough syrup and Xanax.
Next, they’ll look at where you were found with the drug. It’s much worse to be caught with drugs near a school, park, or church than it is to have them in your home.
Finally, they’ll look at the amount of the drug you had. If you only had a few grams, you’ll probably only be charged with possession. However, if you had a couple of pounds, the prosecution will assume you were indenting to distribute. That is a much worse charge.
Penalties for Drug Possession
There are many different penalties for drug possessions.
The first penalty for drug possession is obviously an arrest. Once you’re arrested, you’ll be in jail unless you’re able to make bond. Then your court proceedings start.
Some states have drug courts for drug possession charges. These courts don’t usually give jail time for drug charges. Instead, people go to rehab, have random drug tests, and are monitored by the court.
If a drug case is in regular court, the penalties are more severe.
Average jail time for drug possession can be anywhere from 15-180 days or 2-10 years depending on your state.
Another typical penalty for a drug charge is a fine or community service. Fines can range between $30-$20,000. Again, this depends on your state.
In Trouble for Drug Possession?
Are you already in trouble with a drug possession charge? If so, you don’t need to spend the nights in jail while waiting to appear in court. Bail bonds can help you stay out of jail. At Amistad Bail and Immigration Bonds, we offer 24-hour bail bond services for all drug-related charges.
If you have any question, feel free to reach out to us any time.