The United States legal system is a marvelously complex, in-depth process that involves so much more than just a black and white set of rules that can be used to charge individuals with crimes such as drug possession and delivery. The laws regarding this and other drug charges have many different definitions of such acts that can vary from state to state – look at the recent changes to marijuana possession and delivery in Colorado. Drug law is a large segment of the legal system – and certainly one that a criminal defense lawyer must know in order to effectively defend a client facing illegal drug use accusations.
Drug Possession – A Definition
Drug possession obviously means having an illegal substance, precursors (items required to actually make the substance), or paraphernalia (items used to consume the substance). Examples of these could include operation of a methamphetamine lab or owning marijuana smoking pipes.
There are many different types of possession in Bryan and College Station, each with its own definitions and affect on penalties; it is important to know the different classifications as this affects which charges and punishments may be involved in illegal substance cases such as marijuana possession and delivery.
Actual Possession – Someone having an illegal substance on his or her person without anyone else having equal or similar access.
Constructive Possession – This can involve being at a location where more than one person has access to drugs. Charging under this type of possession would involve having primary control in such a situation, knowing that such drugs were there, and knowing that possession was illegal.
Drug Possession – A Misdemeanor or Felony?
Since circumstances can be different, certain factors must be determined before charges can be accurately examined. Other details about drug use such as marijuana possession and delivery help criminal defense lawyers get a better picture of the crime that has been committed in Bryan or College Station TX to advise a client what charges and potential penalties may be faced.
Substance in Possession – Drug penalties usually reflect the schedule of pharmaceutical and illegal substances, something that is unique for each state. This schedule documents different legal and illegal substances; their makeup and potency or danger; use and misuse; and many other details. The more dangerous a drug, the harsher any charges and punishments may be.
Amount in Possession – As common sense would dictate, possessing more of a drug is going to face more significant charges and steeper penalties – and vice-versa. Larger amounts can bring felony charges; smaller amounts may be charged as misdemeanors. In some states, first-time apprehension with a small amount of marijuana may be considered petty and only face a fine or lesser punishment. In Texas, even possession of a minor amount of pot is enough for a misdemeanor or felony charge
Intent of Possession – There are generally two reasons to have drugs – personal use or helping others use them. Substances intended for personal use usually face lower charges; those intended for distribution to someone else are looking at more serious drug charges.
In a drug hearing involving something like marijuana possession or delivery, it is the court’s duty to determine all of the above in order to know how an individual should be charged and what penalties may be given. Because each case can be very detailed and carry serious, life-altering punishment, anyone facing drug charges such as marijuana possession and delivery needs to hire a dedicated and experienced criminal defense attorney who knows drug crime law in that state and can build the best legal defense!