Drug Possession Overview
Being arrested and convicted for drug possession can lead to a prison sentence lasting years or even decades. Knowing the consequences of conviction for drug possession can serve as a strong deterrent against committing these offenses. Unfortunately, many people feel societal and financial pressures to get involved with drug possession.
People who distribute and sell drugs will often use people known as “mules” to carry drugs through areas of heavy law enforcement scrutiny, such as through airports or across national borders. Mules are chosen because they look like tourists or someone who law enforcement would not likely expect to be carrying drugs. Sometimes, drug distributors may place drugs on an unsuspecting person to carry through law enforcement checkpoints.
Law enforcement will often focus on mules and other persons transporting drugs as a means of identifying the people actually in charge of a drug distribution operation.
Explaining Drug Possession
A person is usually charged with drug possession when law enforcement believes he or she was carrying or was in possession of some quantity of illegal substances. The police may obtain evidence leading them to believe a person was in possession of drugs through finding suspected drugs during a search of the person, through a sting operation, or through surveillance of the person.
Under the law, a person may be in actual possession of drugs or may be considered to be in “constructive” possession. If a person is in actual possession, then the drugs are usually in a person’s pockets, bags, or vehicle. When a person is in constructive possession of drugs, then the person may not have the drugs physically on their person but may be considered to be in possession because he or she still has control over the drugs. For example, when drugs are found in a person’s bedroom or in a locker to which a person has a key, that may be sufficient to establish that the person had control over the drugs.
The Consequences of a Drug Possession Arrest & Conviction
Criminal charges for drug possession can range in varying degrees of severity, with the penalties for conviction similarly varying depending on the severity of the charges. The least severe drug possession charges may only have a sentence of a fine of several hundred dollars and/or several days in county jail. The severity of drug possession charges increases with the amount of drugs involved and the types of drugs involved — drugs that are considered to be more dangerous, such as cocaine or heroin, usually result in more severe criminal charges than possession of other kinds of drugs, such as marijuana. The severity of charges can also increase if a person is found to be cultivating or manufacturing drugs or in possession of drugs with the intent to sell them.
Possession of significant quantities of drugs, possessing drugs with intent to sell them, or cultivating or manufacturing drugs usually leads to felony drug possession charges, conviction for which usually leads to sentences of multiple years in prison and tens of thousands of dollars in fines.
Contact an Experienced Haddon Township Drug Defense Attorney About Your Drug Crime Charges in New Jersey
Have you been charged with a drug-related offense in New Jersey? A drug crime conviction can carry with it heavy fines, jail time, and driver’s license suspension! That is why it is imperative that you speak with a qualified criminal defense lawyer about your case. The Law Office of Jill R. Cohen represents clients charged with use, possession, production, distribution, and related drug offenses in Camden, Cherry Hill, Winslow, Pennsauken, and throughout New Jersey. Call (856) 858-1500 or fill out our confidential online contact form to schedule a consultation about your case. We have an office located at 210 Haddon Ave., Haddon Township, NJ 08108.
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.