What are Drug Offenses?
Drug offenses vary in seriousness depending on the drug in question and the amount. Probably the most common drug charge is “simple possession” of marijuana (defined as an amount less than 20 grams). This is a first degree misdemeanor carrying a maximum penalty of one year in the county jail and a $1,000 fine. Most other common drug possession charges (such as cocaine, methamphetamine, and heroin, or possession of more than 20 grams of marijuana) are third degree felonies carrying a maximum of five years in state prison and a $5,000 fine. Possession with intent to sell, or selling, illegal drugs increases the severity of the maximum punishment. Possessing large quantities of an illegal drug is known as “trafficking” and this very often carries minimum mandatory prison sentences and extremely large fines.