Drug crime charges: possession, distribution, manufacturing, etc. can have serious consequences on a person’s life. This is true even when the charges do not result in a conviction.
Alabama law is clear; the state has adopted stringent measures that criminalize drugs severely. The only misdemeanor charge in the state for example is simple possession of marijuana. Almost every other charge is categorized as a serious felony.
If you’re facing drug charges then the severity of the consequences both inside and outside of court will depend on the specifics of your case. Alabama has enacted mandatory minimum sentences for the possession, sale, distribution, or manufacturing of certain drugs. This means that a judge, if you’re convicted, must sentence you to at least a minimum amount of time in prison.
Legal Consequences of a Drug Charge in Alabama
Alabama’s drug code is complex. Each drug charge case is unique because it deals with specific situations, controlled substances, and laws. Illegal drugs, known under Alabama law as Controlled Dangerous Substances, are those that the state legislature and federal government use to cause significant personal and social harm.
The drugs which are deemed to carry the most harmful effects are classified as Schedule I CDS. Schedule II CDS are also deemed to be very harmful and thus crimes related to them carry strict punishments. Out of these two CDS schedules only marijuana possession for ‘personal use’ is considered a misdemeanor, specifically a Class A misdemeanor.
All other possession charges, not to mention more severe charges like distribution or manufacturing, are felonies. This includes the growing of a cannabis plant, or the possession of a substance like cocaine (in cocaine powder form or crack cocaine form). It also includes the possession of heroin or meth.
All of this means that a conviction could land someone a hefty multi-year prison sentence.
What is the long-term impact of a drug arrest or conviction?
Folks often don’t realize that a charge or conviction (regardless of the sentence) both come with long-term consequences. Conviction penalties don’t last forever but the effects of a criminal record can. Even a simple possession charge, that oftentimes can be considered ‘light’ when compared to more serious offenses, carries long-term effects.
These effects are present when you consider things like job opportunities, education, housing, and professional associations.
If you’re a college student then the effects are even more pronounced.
Tuscaloosa has plenty of college students thanks to the University of Alabama. A conviction or charge can lead to some tough situations with the university.
In the past, this meant that federal financial aid could be pulled or rejected. While that is no longer the case you can still lose or miss out on other scholarships. Continuing education could also become more difficult, some graduate programs have stringent codes.
What to do if you’re facing a drug charge
Retaining the help of a skilled criminal defense attorney should be the first thing on your list. Each case is unique and without a consultation, we cannot determine what your prospects. However, working with a Tuscaloosa criminal defense attorney, like Travis, could help you maximize your chances at a beneficial outcome.
Your criminal defense lawyer could help you get your charges dropped, reduced, or even negotiate a plea deal with the prosecutor. It is possible that none of your options will seem ideal, but some are better and more conducive to your future than others.