U.S. states enact tough laws on controlled substances, which include illegal drugs and certain prescription medicines. Controlled substances such as cocaine pose a danger to society, so a person in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, can face stiff penalties for distribution and trafficking.
Overview of drug laws
The Controlled Substances Act classifies illegal substances based on the potential for abuse. Prescriptions grouped as controlled substances are based on the risk of dependency, such as opioids or ADHD medications.
The drug classification system groups the drugs based on Schedules I to V, meaning Schedule I has the most addictive substances. Schedule I substances have no accepted medical use and include LSD, ecstasy and heroin. After a person is arrested for possession of one of these controlled substances, their criminal charges will depend on the classification of the drug in addition to the amount of the substance, the location of the crime and the defendant’s intentions.
Penalties for drug distribution and trafficking
Drug distribution includes the sale, transport or manufacturing of an illegal substance, and it counts as a felony or misdemeanor. Penalties for a third-degree drug distribution charge that include intent to sell include fines up to $5,000 and up to a five-year jail term. A first-degree felony charge includes selling 10 grams of any Schedule 1 substance, which could result in up to a 30-year prison term.
Penalties for second-degree drug distribution commonly include a $10,000 fine and a maximum 15-year prison term. The sale or distribution of a Schedule V substance may include misdemeanor charges and maximum penalties of a $,1000 fine and up to one year in jail.
Drug trafficking differs from drug distribution when the substances reach a certain amount. Trafficking 4 to 14 grams of opioids commonly gets the defendant a minimum three-year prison term and $50,000 fine.
Drug laws can change as new legislation gets put into place, so it is a citizen’s responsibility to stay updated to avoid being charged with drug trafficking or distribution. However, it’s important to remember a drug charge doesn’t always mean guilty; the accused party may be able to have the charges dismissed or reduced.