Drug crimes are violations of laws that involve distributing, manufacturing, or using drugs the U.S. state or federal governments classify as illicit substances.
The state of Florida facilitates the strictest drug laws in the country. If you are faced with a drug crime conviction, it is vastly important to contact a criminal defense lawyer Sarasota as these are serious felony charges. Obtaining a professionally trained defense lawyer is imperative to obtain the justice that is rightfully owed. The right and trustworthy attorney will go to great lengths for their client in their stressful time of need to combat the charges.
Types of Drug Crimes
The laws on drug crimes vary depending on the state the crime was implemented, the type of drug, and the amount. The types of drug crimes include:
Possession: Willfully possessing illegal controlled substances such as LSD, heroin, cocaine, methamphetamine, marijuana, and “club drugs.”
- Trafficking: Is the selling, transportation, or illegal import of controlled substances such as marijuana or cocaine.
- Manufacturing/Delivering: The act of cultivating or manufacturing illegal drugs such as methamphetamine and marijuana.
Examples of Drug Crimes
Drug crimes can be categorized into three different instances: drug-defined offenses, drug-related offenses, and drug-using lifestyle. There are clear distinctions between the two that constitute varying legal consequences and reprimands.
A drug-defined offense is a drug crime that involves offenses that directly counteract a set law prohibiting the use or regulating the use, manufacture, distribution, possession, or distribution of illegal drugs. For example, there are certain laws that prohibit the cultivation of marijuana. Therefore, a person who grows marijuana in their basement under artificial light, and irrigation, is committing a drug-defined offense.
Drug-related offenses have less to do with violating a specific drug crime, such as manufacturing, possession, or distribution. They mostly involve committing a crime due to the influence of the drug a person has taken. This could involve assaulting someone while under the influence.
A drug-using lifestyle consists of drug abuse and crime being a deviant lifestyle; they are synonymous with one another. The frequency of involvement in illegal activity is massively increased because drug users may not participate and are exposed to situations that encourage crime as they are not participants in the legitimate economy. An example could be stealing money from someone you know or a stranger to support your drug habit. A crime committed with respect to drug distribution, such as shooting a rival drug dealer, is also considered a drug-related offense.
The U.S Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) National Household Survey on Drug Abuse asked individual households about their drug and alcohol usage. Their goal was to obtain credible statistics on their involvement in acts that could lead them to legal trouble. The data was taken in 1991 among adult respondents (age 18-49). These findings are a juxtaposition to the modern-day.
The data explicitly states that those who use cannabis (marijuana) or cocaine are more likely to commit crimes of all types than those who do not partake in said substances.
The House of Representatives: Drug Policy Bill
Within the past year, the House of Representatives proposed a bill to congress to reform the United States drug policy.
In the policy, Congress stated, “for most of the past century, the United States has adopted increasingly punitive policies toward the use, possession, and distribution of drugs, particularly in the past 50 years, the United States has built a massive regime to enforce those policies.”
The House of Representatives also stated that, in their opinion, “the Congress and state legislatures have adopted increasingly harsh sentencing schemes such as mandatory minimums, collateral consequences, far-fetching, and oppressive civil sanctions.”
The policy also covers the unjust ethics that are involved with drug crime convictions. “Every year, there are more than 1.4 million arrests made in the United States for drug-related offenses. Drug arrests disproportionately impact people of color and more commonly occur in historically overpoliced, low-income communities.”
They also express that an arrest that does not result in conviction also disrupts a person’s livelihood, including employment, housing, relationships, family, child custody, and education. They propose “a health-based approach is more effective, humane, and cost-effective than criminal punishments.” Furthermore, subjecting a person to criminal penalties, stigma, and other various lasting collateral consequences, due to their drug usage, ruins lives is expensive, and can make it difficult to access treatment and recovery.”
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