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Drug Possession Charges: How a Drug Charge Becomes a Felony and When Illegal Drugs Become More Dangerous

— June 3, 2020

If a person is charged with drug possession, it is important that he or she works with a reputable and experienced drug defense attorney. A lawyer can determine the right defenses that can be applied to the case.

A drug-related crime is a legal offense that involves drug possession charges, manufacturing, or distribution of drugs that are classified as potentially abused. Drugs such as heroin, cocaine, amphetamines, and morphine are controlled substances that can be abused by people illegally possessing it. Other drug cases, like drug production and trafficking, are most likely controlled by gangs, organized crime groups, and drug cartels.

Drug addiction and abuse are issues that are often linked to drug-related crimes. The drug epidemic has been rising due to the rampant illegal activity of selling and distributing illicit substances. CNN reported that the United States is suffering from an opioid epidemic. An opioid is a type of drug that is formulated to replicate opium properties to reduce pain. Prescription painkillers such as hydrocodone, oxycodone, and morphine are opioids. Illegal substances like heroin and fentanyl are also considered as opioids. Research in 2018 saw an estimate that 10.3 million Americans who are ages 12 and older would misuse opioids. Another 9.9 million people abuse prescription pain relievers, while there are an estimated 808,000 heroin users.

There are several jurisdictions in the United States where benzodiazepines are often misused by criminal detainees. The rise of misapplications of benzodiazepines by criminal detainees has passed the numbers of misused opiates.

Are Drug Possession Charges a Felony?

A drug crime can be charged either as misdemeanor or felony. The type of charge is dependent on the type and amount of drugs involved. Other considerations, such as the intent, are also considered. Felony drug convictions have harsher penalties and sentences compared to misdemeanors. Felony drug charges include probation, hefty fines, and prison time.

What are the determining factors of a drug possession?

Anyone facing criminal charges must know the determining factors for a drug possession charge might come out to equal a misdemeanor, but can turn into a felony. If the possession crime only includes a small quantity or less dangerous drugs, the charges can be a simple misdemeanor. However, the charges can be raised to felony if the drug type is more dangerous with heavier implications, huge quantity in possession, and the intent to sell the drugs. Other factors can be considered depending on the mandate of the state laws.

When does an illicit substance become dangerous aside from addiction and drug abuse?

Research has identified that drug crimes are often linked to drug misuse which is associated with other violent crimes. Certain drugs provide the feeling of being invincible. There are other problematic crimes that a drug abuser can commit. It includes drug dealing, violence, driving under the influence, property crime, and shoplifting. Illicit drugs can be more dangerous when they become related to violent crimes or other felony offenses.

Image of Prescription Drugs
Prescription Drugs; Image Courtesy of via Unsplash,

Certain drug types have a more negative effect on a person. Some drugs can make a person more violent or lose their ability to deduce right and wrong. Benzodiazepine users may become more violent and have more contact with the police compared to opiate users. Illegal benzodiazepine originated from medical practitioners but leaked to the illicit trade through doctor shopping and diversion. Doctor shopping is not an illegal practice as people would use this method to get more medical opinions from various doctors. It becomes problematic if a person visits multiple doctors to obtain prescriptions that will be used for illegal drugs.

Drug abuse of certain substances can lead to a person committing crimes as heavy as murder and rape. This is the reason why the state and the federal laws are ensuring the safety of the public by mandating legal restrictions on controlled substances.

Drug Defense Lawyers

If a person is charged with drug possession, it is important that he or she works with a reputable and experienced drug defense attorney. A lawyer can determine the right defenses that can be applied to the case. Lawyers will use procedural errors, statements, evidence, and many more.

The defense lawyer serves two functions during the investigation phase of the legal process. The defense lawyer is set to assist the defendant in gaining exonerating evidence that will also protect him or her from any violations of his rights at the hands of police officers or law enforcers. The legal system grants the defendant to be assisted by an attorney. It is a right that the defendant can have a lawyer before any police interrogation takes place.

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