Drug offenses are often a priority for local law enforcement, and charges for these crimes can result in serious repercussions. A conviction for a controlled substance offense could have a permanent and detrimental impact on a person’s life, and their criminal record could prevent them from seeking personal and professional opportunities in the future. If you are currently facing allegations of this nature, consult a Bloomington lawyer who could help you avoid the harshest penalties in your drug case.
Common Penalties Upon Conviction
When a person is convicted of a drug crime, their offense will likely be reflected on their criminal record, unless it was a petty misdemeanor. The next most common penalty is a fine, which can range from $50 to $1 million. Prison sentences are levied for the more severe offenses and can range from a few months in jail to 40 years in prison.
Charges for drugs that are classified as more dangerous will typically incur higher penalties. Possession of cocaine, heroin, or methamphetamines will result in much harsher consequences than possession of a small amount of marijuana. A knowledgeable lawyer in Bloomington could offer important legal advice whether the potential drug penalties you face are minor or severe.
Consequences for First-Time Offenses
The number of offenses on a person’s record is significant when determining the penalties in Bloomington drug cases. Someone convicted of a first-time drug offense may be eligible for a stay of adjudication, which would result in them serving a period of probation and perhaps completing some other conditions. If they successfully meet all of the requirements of the stay, the court could agree to dismiss their charge, so they do not end up with a criminal record.
As a general rule, a person’s second and subsequent offenses are always going to be treated more harshly by the court, even if it is for the exact same conduct or drug. While it may be possible for an accused person to escape penalties for a first-time marijuana possession offense, it may be much more difficult to do so for their second or third charge. It may be imperative for a person with multiple drug convictions on their record to seek local legal counsel to help minimize the penalties.
One of the main factors that can enhance a drug charge is the amount of the substance in question. The amount typically dictates the degree of the offense or signals if it is a misdemeanor. There are set amounts for each drug that vary based on its severity. For example, a first-degree charge for methamphetamine and cocaine sales would involve 17 grams or more, whereas, for other drugs, it would be 10 grams or more.
The schedule of the drug is the other main determining factor when assigning the level of the criminal charge. Schedule one controlled substances are treated the most harshly, with offenses involving schedule five drugs often receiving the least severe penalties. The schedule works in tandem with the quantity to determine exactly how serious the charge and the penalty will be.
Reach Out to a Bloomington Attorney to Minimize the Potential Penalties of Your Drug Charges
If you are facing drug charges, you should not proceed with your criminal case without the help of a seasoned attorney. Help from a lawyer could be especially valuable during the sentencing portion of your case, as they would have the opportunity to make an argument for a fair sentence and may be able to reduce the consequences. If you have any questions regarding the potential penalties in a Bloomington drug case, call today to speak with a legal professional.