The Different Types of Drug Charges: What You Need to Know
There are many different types of drug crimes, some of which come with very serious repercussions. Unfortunately, drug crimes are a very common occurrence in the United States and many people find themselves faced with prosecution for a wide range of allegations.
It is important to note that drugs are broken up and classified into different categories based on a handful of factors. In some serious cases, drug charges can make it all the way up to the federal level, whereas other crimes are less serious and prosecuted at the state level.
Drug Charges Explained
Every state in the U.S. regulates drug use and has their own specific laws pertaining to the issue, which is why it is important to retain the services of a criminal lawyer if you find yourself being charged with a drug offense.
One of the most common charges, possession of drug paraphernalia, includes pipes, rolling papers, syringes, spoons, etc. This type of charge may also include items that seem like they may be related to drug activity, such as scales, bags, and lighters.
Drug possession charges may also be pressed against individuals who possess a drug with the intent to distribute. This is usually determined based on the overall weight and packaging of the illegal drug at the time of arrest. Additionally, any other evidence that may cause law enforcement officials to think that the person is intending to sell the drugs (such as scales, bags, or lighters) can be used as well.
Drug distribution is defined as “the crime of smuggling, transporting, or delivering illegal narcotics”. This may be an exchange of money for drugs or sharing of drugs amongst friends.
Drug trafficking, under Oklahoma State law, is defined simply by possessing a certain amount of a drug. There does not need to be any other evidence that you were trying to sell, share or distribute the drug. The only difference between distribution and trafficking is the overall weight of the drug.
This is the crime of illegally producing controlled substances.
A drug conspiracy is an agreement to violate the narcotics laws. To convict a person of a drug conspiracy requires a prosecutor to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that there was an agreement by two or more persons to distribute an illegal drug. A conviction for a drug conspiracy requires proof that:
- Two or more persons come to a mutual understanding to accomplish an unlawful plan (a drug offense);
- The accused knew the unlawful purpose and willfully joined it.
- There must be some overt act that shows a person helped move the plan forward.
Proving an agreement exists can be done by circumstantial evidence. A person does not have to be a part of the conspiracy from the beginning to be found guilty of drug conspiracy. No matter how small a person’s role in the conspiracy, they can still be found guilty.
A person can also be found guilty even if he made no money in the scheme. A person participating only has to have knowledge of the nature of the conspiracy to be guilty. It is not necessary to know the exact scope of the conspiracy or to know all the players.
The prosecutor does not have to prove any drugs actually existed; they only have to prove there was the intent to distribute drugs, even if the person accused had no drugs to deliver.
Contact an Experienced Criminal Defense Attorney
It is important to note that punishments for drug crimes vary from case to case and can result in a broad range of consequences, including imprisonment, hefty fines, rehabilitative programs, probation, drug offender registration, and community service.
To learn more about Oklahoma’s drug crime laws or to meet with an experienced criminal defense attorney, contact Angela Singleton today to schedule a free consultation.