A conviction for possession of cocaine can have results that change your life forever, even if you do manage to avoid prison time. For example, federal penalties include forfeiture of personal property and real estate and the loss of federal benefits such as scholarships, school loans, and contracts.
The federal and state criminal justice systems provide cocaine possession penalties such as:
- Jail or prison time
- Mandatory registration as a drug offender
- Steep fines
- Driver's license suspension or revocation
- Mandatory drug counseling
Being arrested for or charged with possession of cocaine can certainly be a life-altering event. If you are facing allegations of cocaine possession, it's a good idea for you to get yourself an experienced and aggressive criminal defense attorney.
A Very Serious Offense
Cocaine is classified as a Schedule II drug, a serious category of drugs that present a high risk of abuse and addiction. If anyone is still thinking that cocaine is essentially just a party drug, they're in for some bad news. The federal war on drugs is not cutting anyone any breaks; prosecutors will do their best to convict you. State district attorneys are no less eager to show that they're tough on drug crimes.
The states each have their own cocaine statutes, and your defense attorney can tell you exactly what kind of potential penalties you're facing if you've been charged with a state violation. In both the state and federal systems, a few of the factors that can affect the severity of your charges are:
- how much cocaine you are alleged to have been in possession of
- whether that amount was enough to add intent to distribute to the charges (in the federal system, possession of more than 5 grams of cocaine can do it ─ with a possible sentence of 10 to 15 years in prison)
- whether a minor (person under 18 years old) was involved in any way
- whether any person was hurt or killed in an incident involving you and the cocaine
- your history of criminal activity, if any, particularly regarding drugs
These factors will also affect your chances of dismissal of charges, conviction, and probation. Your defense lawyer will strive to minimize the negative consequences of your particular circumstances.