Cocaine is classed as a category II drug by the United States Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). Cocaine is a stimulant drug that produces euphoria and is highly addictive. The criminal penalties for possessing and distributing schedule II restricted substances vary by state and are mostly determined by the amount of the substance in a person’s possession at the time of arrest.
State-level criminal sanctions for cocaine differ depending on the amount in a person’s possession, how the substance was obtained, and the demonstrated intent of possession. Misdemeanor charges for little amounts and significant criminal charges for large amounts, intent to distribute, and trafficking are among the penalties. Probation, court penalties, and brief terms of jail are common punishments for misdemeanor offenses. Depending on the seriousness of the offense, felony convictions can result in up to 20 years in jail.
Specific cocaine offenses, such as trafficking, are punished as federal felony offenses under the Federal Controlled Substances Act. These infractions can result in fines ranging from $1 million to $50 million, as well as jail sentences ranging from 20 years to life. Individuals who have been convicted of at least one prior trafficking offense face extra penalties ranging from $2 million to $75 million, as well as concurrent life sentences.
Possession of Cocaine Is Legal
Cocaine has a few medical applications as a Schedule II banned substance. Cocaine’s limited medicinal applications, however, do not include its usage as a prescription medicine. As a result, possessing cocaine for non-medical purposes is prohibited. Furthermore, every state in the United States considers the distribution, manufacturing, trafficking, or any other interaction with cocaine to be a criminal felony.
If you’re caught with cocaine in your possession, you could be charged with a state misdemeanor, felony, or federal felony, all of which carry substantial legal and financial consequences.
Cocaine Quantity Possessed
The amount of cocaine in a person’s possession impacts the categorization and severity of the charges that will be brought against him or her if they are detected. While state-level cocaine possession penalties are based on the amount of cocaine in possession, federal offenses are based on the nature of the criminal act and the individual’s criminal history. Each state has its own set of rules for the use, possession, and punishment of restricted substances. If you have any questions about specific state laws, you should see an attorney.
Prior Criminal Records
The severity of the legal and financial penalties that an individual faces is heavily influenced by their criminal history, as well as the amount of cocaine and intent of possession. For persons with a history of drug-related offenses, the penalties for each charge of possession are harsher than for first-time offenders. Individuals with a history of non-drug-related offenses are likewise susceptible to harsher punishments in possession instances. At the federal level, a person’s criminal past has a compounding effect in cocaine possession prosecutions. A first conviction for any amount of cocaine possession brings a $1,000 minimum fine and up to a year in prison, while a second conviction carries a $2,500 minimum fine and two years in prison.
Cocaine-related offenses carry harsh punishments under the law. Individuals can have their charges and punishments reduced or eliminated as part of pretrial intervention programs if they volunteer to participate in and complete court-ordered rehabilitation programs. Drug treatment courts, according to the National Association of Drug Court Professionals, are the “…single most successful intervention in our nation’s history for leading people living with substance use and mental health disorders out of the justice system and into lives of recovery and stability.”
Getting Caught With Cocaine In Your System
There are a number of charges associated to the illicit use of cocaine, in addition to the statutory prohibitions on possession, trafficking, and distribution of cocaine. Furthermore, if random drug testing programs identify cocaine usage among people on probation, in pretrial diversion, or in other drug-related situations, they are likely to face far harsher punishments than for the original offense. Cocaine can be detected in people using urine, blood, and hair follicle testing, despite its short half-life of about an hour. Cocaine remains detectable in urine for two to four days after usage, in blood for up to ten days, and in hair follicle tests for up to 90 days.
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*This information is not intended to be legal advice. Please contact Canterbury Law Group today to learn more about your personal legal needs.