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Whether you are well-versed in the subject or not, it’s common knowledge for most people that the creation, distribution and possession of certain illicit substances is illegal in the United States. The real question is: do you understand the consequences if you are caught engaging in any of these activities?

In this blog post, we will take a deeper dive into the world of drug crimes.

What is drug possession?

Drug possession is the intentional possession of illicit substances on — this is important — or near the defendant. While some people believe you must be seen consuming the substance or caught exhibiting extreme symptoms to be suspected of engaging, this is not true. The substance has to be on the defendant’s person, in the defendant’s car or any other place the defendant would have access to for legal officers to have reasonable suspicion. 

The charge for simple possession can range between a misdemeanor and up to a year in prison for a first-time offense. Drug possession coupled with proven intent to distribute is considered a felony crime and will ensure the defendant faces a much harsher sentencing.

What is the difference between drug distribution and drug trafficking?

Drug distribution is defined as the selling, transporting and/or exchange of illicit substances to another party. It is considered a felony offense and can lead to a sentence from a few years to a life sentence depending on the quantity of drugs distributed.

In comparison, drug trafficking is the importing, transporting, sale or exchange of illicit substances. It is similar to drug distribution but, usually, is conducted on a much larger-scaled operation with large volumes of unlawful substances. Drug trafficking is also considered a felony offense and can lead to a range of sentencing from a couple years to life.

What is drug manufacturing? 

In the United States, it is a crime to knowingly possess materials with the intention of making illicit substances without proper clearance. In other words, it is a crime to concoct drugs in any place that is not a certified drug producer. Having a hand in any part of the process to create unlawful materials can lead to legal ramifications. This can mean anything from buying the materials, creating the drug or simply allowing someone to do it in your home. Drug manufacturing is a felony crime and can lead to a sentence of a year to multiple years with the potential of hefty fines.

How are illicit drugs categorized?  

The Controlled Substances Act, signed into law in 1970, established a universal method of regulating the drug industry in the United States. It is the overarching law that classifies the severity of every illicit drug in the country. The act divides drugs into five categories or “schedules” depending on the severity of the drug, what use it serves in the medical field, how addictive the drug is and the potential danger the substance poses. Certain schedules hold greater punishments because of their serious potential for harm upon consumption or distribution.

What are the categories of drugs? 

Schedule I Drugs: These are among the most hazardous illicit substances. They lack medical value and are deemed unsafe for legal consumption. Examples include heroin, LSD, marijuana, and others.

Schedule II Drugs: While permitted for medical use under various restrictions, these substances are highly addictive and prone to abuse. Examples are oxycodone, fentanyl, and methadone.

Schedule III Drugs: These drugs, with lower addictive potential than those in Schedules I and II, still find medical use. An example is codeine with less than 90 milligrams per dose.

Schedule IV and V Drugs: These substances have a minimal risk of addiction and are allowed for medical use. Examples include Valium, Xanax, and Robitussin.

What should I do if I am caught engaging in any of these offenses?

If you are facing the legal repercussions of a drug-related crime, contact Amy Pietrowski today by calling (662) 372-1622.

If you have additional questions about drug-related charges in the states of Mississippi or Tennessee, contact attorney Amy Pietrowski.  


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