Drug possession charges are serious. They carry serious consequences, including a criminal record that can follow you for life. However, drug trafficking charges are even more significant. A conviction could result in a lengthy prison term. It’s important to understand how a possible misdemeanor charge could turn into a serious felony charge.
Factors that can influence drug charges
There is no hard and fast rule for when a possession charge crosses the line into drug trafficking. However, several factors can come into play when a prosecutor considers their charging decisions. Significant quantities of a drug or large amounts of cash may point to situations where a drug involves more than personal use.
Other factors that can influence a charging decision include how the drug is classified or scheduled. A schedule 1 drug is considered to be the most serious and may result in lengthy prison terms. Other factors include the area where the alleged offense took place. You could face more significant penalties if you were arrested near a school or daycare. You might be charged with a more serious offense if there’s evidence you sold drugs to a minor. Association with a criminal organization or the presence of weapons can also lead to charges beyond misdemeanor drug possession.
You might think of drug trafficking as a federal crime. However, you will only face federal charges if you crossed state lines. If the alleged criminal activity was confined to New York, you could be charged with drug trafficking at the state level.
Any criminal charge carries significant potential consequences. Whether you are facing drug possession charges or drug trafficking charges, you need to take your case seriously. You should discuss your defense options with a skilled legal professional.