Drug crimes are a relatively broad category of crimes that involve drugs or other controlled substances. Controlled substances are drugs or chemicals regulated by the government. This includes illegal drugs and also prescription drugs.

Drug crimes could include possession, sale, transportation, or even possession of paraphernalia. Different drugs also have different penalties. For instance, heroin tends to have higher penalties attached to it than Xanax or other prescription drugs. Law enforcement and prosecutors will consider the circumstance of the arrest, the type of drug or paraphernalia that was found, and your criminal background when deciding whether or not to place you under arrest.

How Common Are Drug Arrests?

In 2019, about 1,000,000 people were arrested because of drug crimes. This includes misdemeanors and felony drug crimes. Since 2014, Prop 47 has reduced many felony drug crimes to misdemeanors. This law is responsible for an 80% decrease in felony drug arrests.

Despite the new laws, drug arrests are still common. When you’re arrested for a drug crime, the penalties that you face may vary. For instance, if you have a history of drug crimes, it could change the sentence or charge. Likewise, the circumstance of the crime could change the outcome. If you were arrested for a drug-related crime, you must talk to a lawyer about your options.

What Are the Penalties for Drug Arrests?

As said before, the penalties vary widely. If you are in possession of a controlled substance, you may face a year in jail, a fine up to $1,000, or both. If you intended to sell the substance, the penalties increase to a year to four years in prison. If charged with possession of paraphernalia, you may face around six months in county jail or you might be eligible for a diversion program. You could go through a treatment or education program instead of facing other penalties.

Drug crimes can be complicated. If you were arrested for a drug crime and aren’t sure what happens next, you need a lawyer who is willing and able to fight for you. Your best option is to speak with a lawyer, like a criminal defense lawyer from May Law, LLP, as soon as possible to plan your defense. There are options available to you.