DEFENDING AGAINST DRUG POSSESSION CHARGES
May 10, 2018
The opioid epidemic and the prevalence of drug use and abuse of prescription drugs are constant topics covered by the media today. Texas law enforcement, politicians and local and national leaders work to address these issues and growing concerns over drug abuse in this nation. With the rise of opioid addiction and misuse of prescription medications, coupled with the increased attention that these problems are receiving, we naturally see many more drug offenses being prosecuted in our criminal courts.
There are a variety of drug related offenses that a person can be charged with. Possession offenses fall on the lower end of the spectrum, with distribution and trafficking offenses being more serious crimes with more serious penalties. Nevertheless, possession charges are still serious and a conviction can carry some significant penalties.
Federal and state laws make it a crime to knowingly and willfully possess illegal controlled substances, such as cocaine, LSD, methamphetamines, heroin and many other substances that can be found the list of scheduled controlled substances. The specifics of what constitutes unlawful possession may vary state to state and can depend on other factors, such as the amount possessed and the type of drug.
Generally, to prove possession of an illegal drug, the prosecutor must show that the defendant knew the drug in question was an illegal controlled substance and he/she knowingly had possession or control over that substance. There can be different types of possession that would be sufficient to satisfy this charge, including both actual and constructive possession. Many laws also prohibit possession of drug paraphernalia, such as syringes, crack pipes or bongs.
Many states break possession down further into two types of possession: simple possession or possession with intent to distribute. Possession with intent to distribute usually requires a larger amount of drugs and often carries with it stricter penalties. Possession with intent to distribute often requires additional evidence, like money, scales, baggies or other items, that would tend to show that the defendant intended to sell the drugs to other not simply use the drugs himself.
The nuances of drug possession charges can be complicated and can vary widely state to state. There are often a myriad of defenses available or opportunities to reduce these types of charges. It is crucial to consult with an experienced criminal defense attorney to assist with any drug-related charges.
Source: Findlaw.com, “Drug Possession Overview,” accessed on May 8, 2018
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