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Drug possession is a crime involving the possession of an illegal substance. There are two different types of drug possession: actual possession and constructive possession.
Actual possession means having the substance in their physical possession or control. An example of actual drug possession would be having the substance in one's pocket or directly in hand.
Constructive possession means that the person has the power to knowingly possess the illegal substance; for example, if there are drugs in the center console of a car and all occupants could potentially open the console. Constructive drug possession can lead to multiple individuals being charged in the same instance, as multiple individuals may have the ability to exercise control of the substance at the same time.
The possession of precursors (substances or tools used to cultivate or manufacture illegal substances) is also illegal. Along with precursors, the devices, accessories, and products that are used to consume illegal drugs will also lead one to be charged with possession; this is called drug paraphernalia. Examples of paraphernalia would be marijuana pipes, rolling papers, or syringes.
One can be in possession of drugs for multiple reasons: personal use, sales, distribution/transportation, etc. Possession of small quantities of illegal drugs for personal use is commonly referred to as "simple" possession, while possession of larger amounts of illegal drugs typically results in the charge of possession "with intent to distribute." There are some cases where one found in possession of a small amount of illegal substance will be charged with intent to distribute. If a person is found in possession of a small amount of an illegal substance, but is also found to be in possession of common materials used to distribute or sell drugs, such as digital scales or plastic bags, that person will more than likely be charged with possession with intent to distribute.
There is more than one class of illegal drugs, with a different possible penalty for each class. Some states consider the "simple" possession of marijuana to be a "petty" offense, which results in lighter sentencing than the possession of "controlled substances" such as cocaine, heroin, methamphetamine, ecstasy or legal (prescription) drugs possessed illegally. Possession of these types of substances often results in harsher sentencing and penalties.
If you or a loved one is facing drug possession charges, let the qualified criminal law attorneys at Jacoby & Meyers Criminal Defense help you. We will aggressively defend your legal rights, collect evidence in your favor, and devise an optimal defense. Don't risk your rights and freedom.
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