Drug crimes can lead to high fines and jail terms. And like other offenses, drug crimes have classes, and one of them is simple drug possession – the possession of a small amount of a controlled substance for consumption/ personal use without the intent to sell or distribute.
So, is drug possession really a minor offense? This is what you need to know:
It may become a felony
Simple drug possession is a misdemeanor that can lead to imprisonment and a fine. However, if you are convicted of this crime, and have a prior drug-related case, this may turn into a felony and be charged as so.
Further, if the police arrest you with drugs for personal use, but they can establish you cannot reasonably consume the quantity you have, you may be charged with possession with intent to distribute.
It may go on your record
A simple drug possession charge may go on your record and affect your life in several ways, including limiting your education, employment and housing opportunities. Therefore, despite being a misdemeanor, it can lead to significant effects.
How can you defend against a simple drug possession charge?
Despite being known as a “minor offense,” with the aspects discussed above, you can and should defend a simple drug possession charge. The prosecution may need to prove some elements, including knowledge of the drug in possession, knowledge of its presence and right of control over it. Thus, you need to challenge these elements.
Examples of defense strategies that can be employed include:
- Unwitting possession: You were tricked into holding the drugs.
- Unlawful searches: The police violated your rights to get evidence against you.
- Operating under duress: You were forced into carrying the drugs by a third party.
If you are charged with simple drug possession, it will help to learn more about your case so that you can more fully participate in your own defense.