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Simple possession is the term used to describe the possession of controlled substances for personal use. For instance, a person who is arrested with an eighth-ounce bag of marijuana in their jacket pocket will probably be charged with simple possession unless there is evidence that the person intended to sell that marijuana to someone else.
If simple possession is the only crime for which a person is arrested, it will usually be prosecuted in state court rather than federal court, and a Lubbock drug possession lawyer should be contacted. However, if the defendant was found with a small quantity of drugs at the time of arrest and other federal crimes are being charged, a charge of simple possession might be added to the federal indictment.
Simple possession might also be charged in federal court if the drugs were possessed on federal property. For instance, in a federal building or national park. To properly combat such charges, it is imperative that an individual consult with a Lubbock drug lawyer as soon as possible.
Possession vs. Distribution
In the case of marijuana, the distribution of a small amount to another person is penalized as simple possession rather than distribution, provided that no money or other compensation changed hands. Marijuana is the only controlled substance that qualifies for this reduced penalty.
Possession with Intent to Distribute
In most instances, a first offense of simple possession is a federal misdemeanor. Since the consequences of a misdemeanor conviction are less severe than the consequences of a felony conviction, an argument that the defendant was guilty of simple possession rather than possession with intent to distribute can be raised by a drug possession lawyer in Lubbock to some felony charges.
Whether a defendant will be charged with simple possession or possession with intent to distribute often depends upon the quantity of drugs seized and how they were packaged. A heavy user of marijuana might buy a pound at a time, but prosecutors might believe that anyone who possesses a pound of marijuana is a dealer.
In that case, the defense against possession with intent to distribute might involve proof that the defendant uses the drug regularly and buys it in bulk to get a price break or to avoid the danger of making frequent purchases. The defense might also focus on the absence of proof that the defendant has ever sold drugs.
Even if smaller quantities are involved, a defendant might be charged with possession with intent to distribute based on how the drugs are packaged. For instance, a defendant who is arrested with one ounce of marijuana that is divided into eight bags, each containing one-eighth ounce, might be charged with possession with intent because prosecutors will assume that the drugs were packaged for sale.
In that case, the defense of simple possession might be based on the argument that the defendant purchased one ounce for personal use but had to buy eight one-eighth-ounce bags because that is what the dealer had. An experienced drug possession attorney can aid an individual in defending against any sort of allegation an individual may be up against.
In most cases, the penalty for simple possession is the same regardless of the controlled substance that is possessed. The penalties include:
- First offense: A maximum sentence of one year.
- Second offense: A mandatory minimum sentence of 15 days, maximum of two years.
- Third or subsequent offense: A mandatory minimum sentence of 90 days, maximum of three years.
Additional fines and costs can be imposed as well as a term of supervised release, all of which make it important a Lubbock drug possession attorney is contacted.
If they are found guilty, a person will have a conviction for that drug offense on their record for the rest of their life. There is not much an individual can do to get that removed unless they get a pardon from the governor assuming that they serve any jail time. There is a provision relevant to the charge, but it is not used much. A client must qualify for their own probation to be able to withdraw their plea. An experienced drug possession attorney in Lubbock can help an individual understand the specifics of their potential consequences.
If a person is on a deferred adjudication, which is when an individual tells the judge there is enough evidence to find them guilty but the judge withholds the finding of evidence, then they can put the person on probation. If the person lives out that probation, that case is dismissed and the person does not have a felony conviction on their record. Oftentimes, however, people can still see the fact that the person was convicted of a crime.
Alternative Sentencing Programs
There may be diversion programs or alternative sentencing available for people who have been charged with drug possession for the first time. If a person is charged with a low-level crime, such as possession of less than a gram, and they do not have any other criminal history, then they may be mandated to get probation even if they lost at trial. They may not serve jail or prison time. There are also the issues surrounding the potential reduction of the case. Maybe, an individual can plead to something that is not a felony conviction.
There may also be a deferred adjudication. If a person lives it out, they will not get the conviction. Sometimes, an individual can do things that are considered pretrial diversions, which are agreements between the Lubbock drug possession lawyer’s office and the district attorney’s office. If the person lives out that pretrial, then the case itself is dismissed. This is better than the deferred adjudication, because the individual can go back and try to get it expunged or removed from a person’s record.
Contact an Attorney
If you are facing drug charges, even for just simple possession, make sure your rights are defended by securing the services of an experienced Lubbock drug possession lawyer as soon as possible. Possession of a controlled substance is a serious crime in Texas, as it can be nearly as serious as delivery or possession with intent to deliver, but a drug possession attorney in Lubbock can help mitigate the damage done.