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Illegal possession of controlled substances is a federal and state crime. More people are imprisoned in the United States for drug possession than for any other criminal offense. Laws vary greatly by state as to what constitutes drug possession, but in general the type of drug and the amount in possession influences whether the crime charged is a misdemeanor or a felony and how severe the penalty might be.
Essentially, to be convicted of drug possession you knowingly must have a controlled substance in your possession or within your proximity and control such as in the trunk of your car or in your home.
A charge of drug possession can be upped to the serious charge of possession with the intent to sell or distribute when the of drugs in your possession meet or exceed an amount set by the laws in various jurisdictions.
If drug-related paraphernalia, such as pipes, bongs, or plastic bags, are found in your possession, the residue found on those items can result in charges and even aggravated as these items can be indications of intent to distribute.
Federal, state and sometimes municipality laws can differ making the knowledge and experience of the attorney chosen to represent you key to your defense.
If you have been arrested for drug possession, you will want to retain legal counsel. An attorney experienced in handling drug-related cases is aware of the many possible defenses to the charge. He or she understands all applicable laws and how the following factors can become part of your defense and impact the outcome of your case.
Punishments imposed in drug convictions run the gamut from community service to many years incarceration, depending on the factors listed above and often on the skill and expertise your lawyer can bring to your case.