Being accused of a drug-related crime can change your future forever. The associated penalties include a variety of details, from jail time to fines. If you find yourself accused of such a crime, understanding the punishments you might face can help you navigate what is yet to come.
1. Community Service
Depending on the severity of your drug crime or if you are a first-time offender and caught with a small amount of marijuana, the local court may give you a suspended sentence along with community service. This may include serving food at a homeless shelter, picking up trash on the street, or cleaning a community building. The number of hours will likely depend on the nature of your offense.
Some drug penalties come with heavy fines, but this may depend on the type of drug you were accused of using or selling. Generally, possession crimes can carry fines up to $1,000. However, if this is not your first offense, the cost could be greater. As a result, even a charge of simple possession could throw your finances into a tailspin. Your attorney can advise you about the exact amount of whatever possible fines you may face.
3. Jail Time
As with fines, a jail sentence can vary depending on the nature of the drug crime. For example, if you get charged with simple possession without intent to sell, Federal law lists this as a misdemeanor, but depending on your state of residence and its drug laws, you still may face jail time. If you were charged with intent to sell, this act is a felony in most states and you could face a serious prison sentence, with some areas imposing punishments of up to 40 years behind bars. Other types of confinement, such as house arrest and monitoring, may be possible as well.
4. A Criminal Record
One punishment that often comes with a drug charge is a criminal record, which lists the nature of your crime and conviction. This record is available to the public and could impact your ability to find employment, rent an apartment or home, or apply to college. Because drug laws vary, the impact of your criminal record may depend greatly on the charge and whether you are a first-time offender.
An arrest and accusation of a drug crime can be a frightening experience, but you do not have to face the future alone. Contact a lawyer, like a criminal defense lawyer from May Law, LLP, today for further assistance and information.