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The different types of drug crimes

Drug crimes are increasingly being prosecuted as severely as possible, especially in states that are experiencing a crisis related to opioid use.

To make sure that you understand exactly what constitutes a drug crime, review the following:

Drug trafficking and dealing

You probably know that importing and selling drugs are serious crimes. Did you also know that you could end up charged with drug trafficking for giving your medication to someone else? What about buying marijuana in a state where it's legal and transporting somewhere else for friends?

Even if you aren't making a profit on the drugs you sell or give away, illegal drug distribution can land you in serious trouble. If you aren't dealing with large amounts, a trafficking charge might be added to a dealing charge. Either way, it's serious business.

Manufacturing drugs

Involvement in any phase of drug can get you charged with manufacturing -- even if your role was minimal. This means that if you're just involved in procuring the raw supplies to cook a batch of methamphetamine, you're as culpable as the person who did the actual work.

Possession of drug paraphernalia

This is one of those charges that often confuses people. While it covers items obviously designed to make ingesting drugs easier, like a bong, it also includes items that could be for legitimate use as well, like rolling papers and syringes.

The things to remember is that the prosecution can use every item in your possession to rack up the charges against you. For example, a hundred rolling papers could equal a hundred drug paraphernalia charges -- or maybe just one charge for all of them. Prosecutors have a lot of discretion, and they often use it to scare people into a plea bargain.

Drug possession

Possession is probably the simplest drug charge there is. However, the drug you have determines your potential sentence. If you're caught with a small bag of marijuana, the penalty you risk is a lot less severe than if you are caught with a small, unlabeled bottle of prescription pills, which often contain high-powered narcotics.

If you're charged with any drug offense, seek legal assistance. Don't assume that the prosecution will listen to your explanation -- even if you think it is reasonable.

Source: FindLaw, "Types of Drug Crimes," accessed March 09, 2018

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