Different Types of Drug Charges
Although many drug offenses are often tied to crimes like assault and robbery, just as many do not involve violent crimes at all. And though people may assume that non-violent drug offenses carry an inherently lighter punishment threshold, the fact is that there are a wide range of drug offenses that can be relatively minor to major felonies that carry long prison sentences. So what makes a drug offense serious, and how are the various crimes classified? Here is a short guide to non-violent drug offenses.
Amount And Type
When it comes to how drug charges are levied, the two biggest factors in determining what charge is appropriate usually comes down to what kind of illegal substance was possessed and how much. The federal government regulates addictive substances like illegal drugs and prescription drugs on a scale of I to V. Schedule I substances involve many of the illegal drugs like heroin and marijuana that people are commonly arrested for. But a substance’s federal schedule does not always mean they carry the same punishments. Recent changes regarding societal attitudes towards marijuana have made a big impact on the laws governing drug charges, for example. Some states have even decriminalized or even legalized pot use. Even in states where it is still illegal, laws punishing marijuana use and possession are often far less serious than for other drugs, like cocaine and heroin.
How much of an illegal substance law enforcement finds also plays a huge role in how someone is charged. Small amounts normally mean smaller punishment, as this is usually classified as personal use. Possession of small amounts also allows a person the opportunity to enter into rehabilitative programs like drug courts in some places if they qualify. Larger amounts, however, take you into another category completely. These charges include possession with intent to sell (dealing drugs) or drug trafficking. These charges are far more serious, with serious prison time a possibility if convicted.
There are a few other things that are important to consider with non-violent drug charges. Possession of certain items like scales, baggies, and other items can jump a drug charge right into the realm of possession with intent to sell or trafficking. And just because a drug offense isn’t charged in conjunction with a violent crime, doesn’t mean another can’t be attached. Property crimes like robbery, theft, burglary, and shoplifting can also be attached to a non-violent drug offense, due to the nature of addiction and poverty.
Seek An Attorney’s Help
If you are arrested or charged with a non-violent drug offense, you should call a criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. They will help you navigate the criminal justice system and help you get the best outcome possible. Sometimes that is drug court, rehab, or deferred prosecution. In other cases it might mean negotiating a plea deal for a lesser charge if you can help law enforcement find more serious offenders. It might even mean dismissal if law enforcement or prosecutors didn’t do their job properly. But don’t tackle the process alone, consequences for convictions can be serious and life-changing.
Contact An Experienced Criminal Defense Lawyer About Your Drug Charges In NJ Today!
Were you arrested or charged with a crime in NJ? The consequences of a conviction could be severe, leaving you with a permanent criminal record and possibly even sending you to jail. That is why you need to speak with a qualified criminal defense attorney as soon as possible about your case. The attorneys at Zegas Law have successfully represented clients in criminal matters throughout New Jersey. Call us at (973) 379-1999 or fill out the online contact form to schedule a consultation with a member of our legal team. We have an office conveniently located at 60 Morris Turnpike, Summit, NJ 07901.
The articles on this blog are for informative purposes only and are no substitute for legal advice or an attorney-client relationship. If you are seeking legal advice, please contact our law firm directly.