Federal and state laws prohibit the production, distribution, possession, and use of numerous drugs and narcotics. “Narcotics” is the common term used to describe illegal drugs. Technically speaking, however, the word “narcotics” refers to chemicals which induce stupor, desensitization to pain, coma, and similar effects (such as painkillers, opiates, and opioids). For the purposes of this information, drugs and narcotics will refer to substances and their precursors which are controlled by the federal and state government.
The Comprehensive Drug Abuse Prevention and Control Act, which contains the Controlled Substances Act, is the legal basis of the federal government’s fight against drug abuse and related crime. The federal government maintains a comprehensive list of drugs and narcotics which are illegal to cultivate, produce, sell, distribute, possess, and use. Prescription drug violations are also considered drug-related crimes. Legal prescription drugs, some of which have a high potential for abuse, are treated like illegal substances when they are unlawfully produced, distributed, possessed, or used.
The government creates and enforces drug-related laws for the purpose of reducing the consumption of illegal drugs and reducing drug-related crimes.
Drug-related crimes named by the federal government include:
- violent crime triggered by the effects of drugs
- violence prompted by drug-related conflict
- and theft committed to get money to obtain drugs.
Federal and state laws are designed to severely punish repeat offenders and big-time dealers. In practice, drug laws are extremely harsh for most offenders, even non-violent offenders.
The punishment for drug-related criminal offenses depends on the quantity of the drug, the type/classification of the substance, the criminal behaviors, and other factors. Drug offenders can face incarceration, heavy fines, probation, rehabilitation programs, community service, compulsory drug testing, and more. Punishment may be greatly enhanced when the drug-related crime involves minors or the offender has prior drug convictions.
The federal government has developed a drug schedule which classifies illegal substances and provides sentencing guidelines based on the quantity and classification of such substances. These guidelines provide mandatory minimums for certain drug offenses. State sentencing guidelines are modeled after their federal counterpart.
Drug-related crimes can include drug smuggling, drug possession, drug trafficking, drug manufacturing and more. Drug-related crimes can also include conspiracy charges and other related crimes.
If you have been charged with a drug-related crime, contact an expert criminal defense attorney near you today.