Understanding Drug Charges and Penalties

The most commonly type of crimes that are prosecuted in the United States in this day and age involve drug charges. In point of fact, even those crimes that are not directly related to the buying, selling or possession of drugs tend to have a connection to illegal drugs on some level. Through this article you are provided an overview of drug charges and penalties in this day and age.

Since the beginning of what has become known as the War on Drugs, penalties for drug related offenses have increased dramatically. This particularly was the case beginning in the mid-1980s – although there has been no real abatement when it comes to drug crime related penalties at this juncture in time.

The fact is that the heightened prosecution of drug related offenses as well as an increase in the terms of incarceration that have been imposed in regard to these types of crimes has resulted in a very significant increase in the overall prison population in the United States. Presently, the number of individuals who are incarcerated clocks in at about 2,000,000.

The most significant sentence for drug charges are handed down to individuals who are involved in the selling of drugs. More often than not these individuals who are facing drug charges are also facing at least one charge of conspiracy – the idea being that a person does not sell drugs in isolation. The combination of drug and conspiracy charges ends up increasing a penal term or sentence significantly.

As an aside, a significant number of individuals facing drug charges relating to the sale of these illegal substances are ending up being prosecuted in Federal Court. Of course, many drug charges are also prosecuted in state court as well. However, when in Federal Court, a defendant in most instances will end up facing a longer period of time incarcerated when convicted and sentenced.


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