If you’re facing drug charges for the first time, you are probably wondering what to expect. Depending on where you live, drug possession can lead to severe legal consequences.
This might sound scary, but don’t panic! Drug possession is a serious offense, but lucky for you, first time offenders face more relaxed penalties.
Keep reading to learn more about the charges being brought against you, the consequences you might face, and your options for legal defense.
Charges for First Time Offenders
Before you can plan a solid defense, you’ll need to understand the laws you’re charged with violating. This is especially true for first time offenders, who may not know their legal rights.
Drug Use and Possession
Legally, possession means that a person has personal and physical control over an illegal substance. This could include carrying drugs in your pocket or bag or storing them in your vehicle or home.
Substances such as marijuana, cocaine, methamphetamine, and some prescription pills may be considered controlled substances. How much of a substance you are carrying, how heavily controlled it is, and where you are found in possession can determine your charges and sentencing.
In many cases, first time offenders found in simple possession are eligible for reduced sentences, including probation, legal diversion, or rehabilitation.
The right legal defense will work with local prosecutors to drop drug possession charges upon successful completion of these programs.
Possession With Intent to Deliver
Possession with intent to deliver is a more severe charge and one that can come with a wide variety of penalties depending on your specific case. First time offenders may face consequences including fines, extended probation, and even incarceration.
“Delivery” is legally defined as an attempted or successful transfer of a controlled substance from one person to another. Commonly known as drug dealing or sales, delivery is illegal in all 50 states.
Keep in mind that even legal drugs requiring a prescription are often illegal to sell.
If you’re facing serious drug possession charges that also include intent to sell, deliver, or distribute, you’ll need an expert attorney. Prosecutors often push to defendants viewed as drug dealers convicted and harshly punished.
Legal Options for First Time Offenders
No matter what type of possession charge you’re facing, it’s essential to understand your rights as well as federal drug laws.
While each state does have its own drug laws, these are superseded by national policies. This includes the medical and recreational use and sale of marijuana.
Because this is your first offense, the chances are good that you can work with the prosecutor on your case to reduce or defer punishment and charges. But, you’ll need outstanding legal defense if you don’t want to face serious penalties.
Choose an attorney or legal defense team with extensive knowledge of your local laws. These legal experts will work with police, prosecutors, and the court system itself to ensure your rights are respected.
What to Do Next
Now that you know a bit more about your charges, potential punishments, and how to proceed, you’re ready to start building a strong legal defense.
Be sure to research your local and federal rights, and understand the charges against you before moving forward. And, remember that the right lawyer can make or break your case. This is especially true for first time offenders.
Keep in mind that you have the right to speak with an attorney before answering questions in police custody. This is a handy phone number to keep with you at all times!