What affects the severity of a drug charge?

On Behalf of | May 10, 2024 | Drug Charges |

Each year, many people are convicted of drug-related charges. Some get off lightly, and some receive very severe penalties. Understanding the factors that affect the severity is crucial if you face charges.

Here are some of the main ones:

What the drug was

Not all drugs are equal in the eyes of the law. Some are considered much more dangerous than others and as a result, convictions involving those will likely result in more severe penalties.

The United States Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) classifies drugs into five categories. The official term for each category is a “schedule”. Where a drug fits depends on two things – its acceptable medical use and its potential for abuse or dependency.

Schedule I drugs have the highest risk of abuse or dependency and Schedule V the least. Hence a conviction involving Schedule I drugs would usually carry the most severe penalties.

How much of the drug there was

If the police catch you with a tiny amount of a drug they should consider it was for your personal use only. If they find you with slightly more they may assume you are dealing. If they encounter you with a warehouse full of the stuff, they’ll assume you are manufacturing or distributing. Bigger quantities tend to result in more severe charges and punishments.

Your previous record

Are you a first-time offender or have you been to prison for numerous drug-related offenses before? If the prosecution feels you have a long history of drug-related offenses then they will likely seek a much harsher sentence than if it’s clear you made a one-off error.

Sentences for drug offenses can range wildly from probation up to life imprisonment. Learning more about how drug charges work and the defense options available will be crucial if you wish to avoid a drug charge ruining your life.



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