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What are the penalties for drug possession?

There is no denying the fact that drug possession is one of the most common crimes in the United States, especially in large cities such as New York City.

If a person is charged with drug possession, he or she will be faced with many questions, with one of the most important is as follows: What are the penalties for this type of crime? Not knowing the answer to this question can make it even more difficult to deal with the future.

Unfortunately, there is no simple answer to this question. Those convicted of drug possession can face a variety of penalties. This is based on many factors, including the state in which sentencing is taking place, as well as the severity of the crime and whether it was the person's first offense.

For example, a simple drug possession sentence is typically the lightest. On the flipside, if a person is convicted of manufacturing or cultivating drugs, the penalty is likely to be much more severe.

As noted by FindLaw, federal lawmakers made a big change in 1986, which was later matched by many states:

"Federal lawmakers enacted mandatory minimum sentencing guidelines for drug offenses in 1986 in an attempt to target high-level distributors, although they also impact lower-level drug defendants. Most states have adopted a similar approach to drug sentencing."

From prison time to a fine to community service, there are many penalties that can be handed down for drug possession. If a person is charged with such a crime, regardless of the circumstances, he or she may want to consult with a criminal defense attorney.

Source: FindLaw, "Drug Possession Penalties and Sentencing" accessed Jan. 26, 2015

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Robert D. DiDio
& Associates

8002 Kew Gardens Road
Suite 307
Kew Gardens, NY 11415

Phone: 917-300-0984
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