Illicit Drugs 101: What to Know About Drug Crimes

General Practice Attorney

Illicit drugs are illegal drugs that are considered highly addictive. Those charged with a crime due to illicit drug use may have a substance abuse disorder. Like the issues surrounding drug use, drug crimes are extremely complex. The laws are always changing and so are the penalties. Some states have lower penalties for drug possession whereas others may offer a diversion program to those convicted, as a drug lawyer in Hayes Valley San Francisco, CA, like from Hallinan Law Firm, can explain. It is important to understand what illicit drugs are.

Types of Illicit Drugs

Illicit drugs are essentially any illegal substances. Some of these drugs may be substances that are illegal to possess or to sell, no matter what. Other drugs may be prescribed by a doctor.

Common illicit substances may include:

  • Heroin
  • Hallucinogens
  • Inhalants
  • Cocaine
  • Meth
  • Ketamine

Most of the drugs on the list can pose health risks. If caught with any of these drugs, you could face serious consequences.

How Drugs Become Illicit

Several factors determine whether a drug is illegal. One of these factors is how the drug is being used. For instance, if you have medication prescribed to you, then you can use that medication per the pharmacist or doctor’s instructions. However, if you purchase or possess drugs that are not prescribed to you for any medical condition, then you could be charged with a criminal offense.

There are state, federal and local laws that control drug use. Most possession arrests are charged by the state, whereas most trafficking arrests are federal crimes. One of the biggest differences between state and federal crimes are the sentences. If you are charged with a federal crime, you may also be at risk of more severe consequences. The punishments are harsher and the sentences are longer.

If you knowingly and intentionally possess a substance, do not have a prescription or have enough of the substance to sell, you may face charges of possession. If you grow or cultivate an illegal substance, you may be charged with manufacturing. To be charged with distribution, you have to sell or intend to sell a controlled substance. Prosecutors may look at a person’s criminal history, where he or she was apprehended and what type of substances were involved to prove trafficking or distribution.

Whether or not you have faced charges for drug offenses before, the law is complex and always changing. It is always a good idea to hire a DWI lawyer to help with your case. You do not have to face serious charges by yourself.