Drug Possession Doesn’t Have to Mean a Jail Sentence

One of the most common crimes reported in courts today is drug possession. This is a drug offense that comes with penalties that can be as light as a one-hundred dollar fine or as serious as thousands of dollars in fines and a prison sentence of several years.

The severity of the penalties often depends on exacerbating or mitigating factors. For instance, if you are found in possession of several dozen grams of a hard drug, such as heroin or cocaine near a school, you may get the maximum sentence for drug possession. On the other hand, if you are found with a small quantity of marijuana at home, you can expect a slap on the wrist as the punishment for drug possession. It is important to note that drug possession doesn’t have to mean a jail sentence.

Alternatives to Jail Sentences

i) Fines

Under state law, judges have a lot of say regarding the minimum and maximum sentences. A first-time offender who pleads guilty to possessing a small amount of drugs can be fined a few hundred dollars for the offense and released by the court. However, the judge may indicate several conditions the defendant must satisfy to retain their freedom.

ii) Suspended Sentences

When the defendant pleads guilty to drug possession and is remorseful, the judge may sentence them to several months or years in jail and suspend the sentence. The judge can decide to impose a probation sentence, where the suspect will have to stay away from drugs, avoid associating with known felons, maintain a steady job, and complete a drug rehabilitation program. A breach of the terms and conditions set by the court may lead to immediate incarceration at a correctional facility.

iii) Community Service

In some cases, the court may sentence suspects convicted of drug possession to community service. This is usually part of the sentence package, which may also include probation, drug treatment, and a fine. Through community service, the defendant will have to offer free services to the community as restitution for the ills they have committed or to make up for their breach of law.

If you have been found in possession of a drug and you are a first-time offender, you should consult the attorneys at Hersem Law to explore your options. Since the state does not want to waste time prosecuting you or spend money incarcerating you, pleading guilty to the charges in a plea bargain will keep you out of jail. However, be sure to let your attorney negotiate the plea deal to ensure you get the best outcome possible.