Drug Crime Sentencing
When you get convicted of a drug crime, you will find yourself at the mercy of the court. Even with the assistance of a criminal defense attorney, the judge will have a final say in your sentence. Learn more about drug crime sentencing to get a realistic idea of what to expect during sentencing.
Your sentence will largely depend on the crime you get charged with. Some of the common drug offenses include:
- Possession w/ intent to distribute
Your crime will fall into one of two categories: misdemeanor or felony. Misdemeanors are minor crimes that rarely involve jail time, especially for a first offense. Felonies will come with much harsher sentences.
Federal crimes come with even stiffer punishments and go through federal court instead of your local court.
Different states have different laws regarding drugs and each state sentences criminals differently. Marijuana charges are generally infrequent in these states, although people can still be charged with having more than allowed or illegally growing weed. Other states actively charge citizens with possession of marijuana. Marijuana-related charges made up 42.5% of drug charges in New Mexico in 2017.
Drug crimes may end up in drug court. Drug court aims to rehabilitate offenders and get them off of drugs in order to stay out of the jail system, which can turn into a vicious cycle. Drug courts may require a person to go to rehab instead of jail, but the process continues from there. Every state has at least one drug court. Only certain offenders will get the opportunity to go through drug court. If accepted, offenders will need to undergo regular drug tests. Failing a drug test can disqualify someone, leaving them to proceed through the less forgiving traditional criminal court.
Optics in Court
Offenders should show contrition in front of the judge by acting respectfully and professionally. Offenders should not argue with the judge or downplay the charge. The offender should also be careful about what they say and do online. Inappropriate social media posts and rants can come back to bite the offender in court.
Your drug crime lawyer will present your case to the judge for you. They have the legal knowledge to use the law to your advantage in a way that actually works. They can also advocate for you to get you a lesser sentence. For more information, contact a drug crime attorney near you.