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Drug Possession Laws, Charges & Statute of Limitations

June 23, 2020 Federal Criminal Attorneys

Drug possession is a criminal offense that includes having illegal drugs and substances or materials that are drug-related to your person or property. Drug possession has been regulated both at the federal level and at the state level.

Federal Drug Possession Statute

The Federal statute that regulates drug possession is the United States Code (USC) Controlled Substances Act. The Act has five schedules through the Kentucky code ranging from the high-risk drugs (schedule 1) that are considered to have no medical value. The last, (schedule 5), which has the lowest level of abuse Section in 844 (c) describes the offense of drugs or narcotic substances and chemicals to include possession of the same.

The Act stipulates that it is illegal for any person to have a controlled substance intentionally. They are only allowed to carry the same if prescribed to the person through a valid prescription order. Any physician who also holds DEA registration can also be charged with possession of controlled substances if they knowingly have them in their possession even after they cease having their licenses.

The Act describes the various measurements of particular controlled substances that can be purchased through retail for thirty days.

The Act stipulates a minimal penalty of $1000 or imprisonment of not more than one year. Any prior convictions regarding drugs in any state are a disadvantage because the person shall be entitled to the detention of not more than two years and a further fine of $2500. More than one prior conviction pertaining to drugs subjects the person to additional eligibility for imprisonment for not more than three years and a fine of $5500.

Flunitrazepam is uniquely considered under the law implying an incarceration period of approximately three years plus with or without a fine. One can also receive penalties under civil law.

For you to be liable under federal law, knowledge of possession must be evident. Further, the intention to sell is also an added substantiation of the offender’s guilt.

State Drug Possession Laws (Case Study of New York and Kentucky)

States also have their drug-related laws, including in possession. The New York Penal code outlines all drug possession charges running from the first-degree felony until the seventh-degree felony. First degree felonies in possession are mostly for repeat offenders and also include the highest amount of drugs. This reduces as you count down to a seventh-degree offense, which can be considered a misdemeanor in some states.

New York has among the highest drug abuse rates in the country and has implemented various programs to deal with the problem. The state has also made steps to have the law adapt to these programs, such as allowing the possession of needles for those accessing the syringe program by the country and the possession of Naloxone, which can revive someone who has undergone an overdose.

On the other hand, like federal law, Kentucky has five schedules through the Kentucky code, ranging from the high-risk drugs (schedule 1) that are considered to have no medical value and the last (schedule 5), which have the lowest level of abuse. The state also considers anything below 8oz as a misdemeanor that only requires a fine of two hundred and fifty dollars or incarceration for forty- five days.

Statistical drug possession and use seem to influence how a state will regulate its drug possession laws and charges.

Statute of Limitations

Federal law caps the limitation for non-capital federal offenses at five years.

In New York, felony offenses, particularly murder, rape, and class A offenses have no limit in the statute of limitations. First-degree drug possession is found within class A federal crimes, which means that it has no limit within the statute of limitations. All the other felonies are within a five-year limitation.

The Kentucky statute of limitations has no limits in regards to any felonies. Any of the drug possession charges that are recognized as felonies would mean that they are subject to no restriction. Where the drug possession is a misdemeanor, the statute of limitations stipulates that it is one year.

In conclusion, states may differ in some of their drug possession laws or charges depending on the state’s stand on those particular drugs. For instance, Marijuana is legal in California and minimal quantities in New York. It is essential to note the differences. Federal law supersedes state law.

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