Drug possession: definition
The state and federal laws on possession of drugs provide that it is an offence to possess intentionally controlled substances illegal, such as marijuana, methamphetamine, cocaine, LSD, “recreational drugs” and heroin. These laws also criminalize the possession of chemicals that are “precursors” that are used for the cultivation and manufacture of drugs, and certain accessories related to drug use. The laws on drug possession vary according to the type of substance, the amount and the geographic area of the crime. The possession of small amounts can be considered possession of “simple”, while, if the quantity is large, can be imputed on charges of alleged “possession with intent to distribute.”
Requirements to prove possession of drugs
The possession of certain illicit drugs is a violation of federal and state laws. Although the laws on drug possession vary from state to state, the elements of the offense are generally the same. Prosecutors must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant knew that the drug in question was a controlled substance and that he possessed or had control over it deliberately. This can also include what is known as “possession presumptive” or access to an illegal drug. Such charges can be filed against one or more individuals who have keys to a van that transported narcotics, for example, although they may not have the drugs with his person.
The laws of drug possession generally fall into one of two main categories: simple possession (for personal use) and possession with intent to distribute. The last category generally carries penalties far more severe than simple possession after the condemnation, in order to punish and deter drug traffickers. To prove possession with intent to sell, prosecutors may present evidence such as digital scales, bags, large quantities of drugs, large amounts of cash in small bills or testimony of witnesses.
Items related to the drugs included in the offences of possession
The laws on drug possession also prohibit items such as syringes, pipes crac or water. The Federal Statute of Drug Paraphernalia defines what elements are included in this concept, but is generally based on a determination of primary use. For example, a water pipe recently purchased may not be considered a pipe for marijuana, except that it has residues of drugs or is sold explicitly as a pipe for marijuana. There are also laws that restrict the possession of certain chemicals or materials commonly used in the cultivation or manufacture of drugs, such as the laboratory equipment used to manufacture methamphetamine.
Although some states have legalized the possession of marijuana for medical use, and both Colorado as Washington have legalized its use for recreational purposes, it is still considered illegal in all cases governed by the federal laws. See the general description of the laws regarding medical marijuana for more information.
- Offences of possession of drugs
- Sanctions and penalties for possession of drugs
- Section drug Charge.
- State laws on possession of drugs (section of state laws FindLaw)