Penalties and Sentencing

Depending on the country in question, getting caught abusing drugs in certain places around the world can lead to some very serious penalties and punishments.   It is not uncommon for drug offenders unlucky enough to get caught in certain countries in the Middle East and the Far East to find themselves receiving life sentences or even the death penalty.   Here in the United States, the punishment is not that severe, but there are still some very serious consequences in store for those who break the law.

What Are the Penalties for Drug Abuse and Possession in the United States?

If an individual is caught with possession of illegal drugs, they can face potential fines as well as jail time.   The length of jail time differs according to the state in which the offense occurs and the previous criminal record of the individual.     Most states in the U.S. now have a mandatory minimum sentence for drug possession that cannot be plea bargained away.   The average amount of jail time awarded in a drug possession case in the United States is between 30 and 40 months.

In addition, individuals in the U.S. could face steep fines for possession of drugs. Some judges may require that the individual commit a large number of hours to community service as a type of penance for their crime.

The Penalties for Selling Drugs

Selling drugs carry much harsher penalties than those received for simple drug possession, with strict minimum sentences in all 50 states of the country.   An individual who has repeatedly been caught selling drugs can face three, six or nine years in prison, depending upon the situation.   Those who are found guilty of selling drugs to a minor face an even bleaker future – with sentences of 10 years or more not uncommon at the state law level.

In some instances, it doesn’t take much of a substance to be deemed that one has the intent to sell. Law enforcement officers will look for other signs that you intended to sell the drug as well, such as large amounts of cash, scales or small plastic bags. A conviction of intent to sell relies heavily on the testimony of arresting officers. If they feel that you intended to sell the drugs you were carrying, this will go a long way in court. It’s just not worth the risk.

Smuggling Drugs Into the United States

Like selling drugs, smuggling illegal narcotics into the United States is a serious offense and it is considered a federal crime with long mandatory sentences.  Often, individuals who are caught smuggling drugs are not ruthless crime kingpins, but rather average men and women who need money desperately and are willing to risk anything to stay afloat financially.   The American prison system is filled with non-violent individuals serving 20-year terms because they trusted the wrong people or felt that bringing drugs into the country was “too easy” to pass up.

Like other drug offenses, the consequences related to smuggling drugs into the United States are just not worth the risk. You could end up spending decades of your life in prison as the result of one dumb mistake.

Drug Penalties Around the World

In some countries, drug offenses are punishable by death or lifetime prison sentences.   These laws might appear harsh and scary to some, but these countries do not believe in the rehabilitation of the individual. Instead, they hope that making an example out of the criminal will act as a strong deterrent to others who are thinking about committing a similar crime.

Get Help Today

The legal ramifications for drug possession in the United States and around the world are high. If you know someone who is regularly using drugs, it’s time to urge them to get the help they need. In addition to the serious health repercussions, financial risks and relationship issues associated with drug abuse and addiction, the criminal and legal dangers are immense. Don’t stand by while your loved one loses their future to drug addiction. Contact us today and we can connect you with a high-quality treatment program that can help. If you feel that your loved one is not ready to get the treatment help they need, we can talk to you about staging an intervention.