Even as some states are rethinking their laws on narcotics, the charges related to these drugs continue to be one of the most common criminal complaints in the nation. A narcotics charge can be very serious and may saddle you with hefty fines as well as jail time, depending on the charge. A narcotics charge may also be placed on your permanent record, making it difficult to get a job or apply for certain benefits.
Degrees of Narcotics Charges
One thing that makes the discussion of narcotics charges so difficult is that there is not just one rule but many laws regarding narcotics. For example, there is a distinction made between the person who has a small amount of a drug for personal use and one who has a large amount that is obviously intended for distribution and sale. Another important distinction that can affect the severity of the charges is how the drugs came into the person’s possession and whether the crime involved crossing state lines.
Marijuana is a narcotic but is often treated differently from “heavier” drugs. Some states have now passed laws making the consumption of marijuana for medical purposes legal, but the restrictions surrounding this type of use are numerous. In general, anyone who does not possess a legal medical marijuana card is forbidden from possessing or using the drug.
Penalties for Narcotics Possession
Those who have a narcotic in their possession for personal use often face a misdemeanor or a Class 4 felony with a maximum prison sentence of three years. For first-time offenders, it is common to see probation rather than jail time. On the other hand, someone who is caught actively transporting marijuana into the state for sale may be charged with a Class 2 felony and face up to 10 years in prison.
In addition to jail time, fines can be very high for convictions of drug charges. A minimum charge is often as much as $2,000 and may be more depending on the circumstances. It is not unheard of for those convicted of trafficking to be assessed tens of thousands of dollars in fines.
Along with jail time, fines and possible community service, the most important impact of a drug conviction is its presence on your record. If you are convicted of a felony, it may never disappear from your record and you will be forced to explain it every time you apply for a job or for benefits.
Alex Lane, an attorney in Phoenix, Arizona, has many years of experience in representing those charged with drug possession. Along with years of experience, Alex Lane offers compassionate support during this stressful time and may be able to help you minimize the impact of a drug charge. Call Alex Lane today for a consultation.