If you heard the term “aggravated drug possession” during your arrest or hearing, you might not understand how that is any different from a drug possession charge. One may sound more like a legal term, but they do mean different things.
If you’ve been charged with possession of a controlled substance, you’re looking at a misdemeanor charge. However, if you’ve been charged with an aggravated drug crime, you’re facing a felony charge. There are a few different factors that change a drug possession to a more severe charge. If you’ve been arrested for aggravated drug possession and are facing a felony, you should seek the counsel of a criminal lawyer in Montgomery County, PA, as soon as possible.
Possession vs. Aggravated Possession: How the Charges Differ
When you’ve been charged with possession, the drug was on your person or within your reach. This charge is considered a misdemeanor, and you may have to spend time in jail and/or pay a fine.
The level of drug possession increases based on the amount of drugs you were carrying at the time of the arrest. High amounts of any drug could result in a drug trafficking charge.
A possession charge becomes aggravated when there are specific factors involved. These factors are called “aggravating factors” and make the crime considered a felony, increasing jail time and fines.
Factors That Make the Charge Aggravated
The presence of any aggravating factors during a drug crime elevates the charges to aggravated drug possession. The aggravating factors include:
- Possession of more drugs than one person could consume (indicates an intent to sell)
- Having equipment that proves you had a plan to sell or distribute
- Previous drug convictions
- Sale or delivery of drugs to a minor
- Manufacturing methamphetamine in the presence of a minor or where the minor lives and exposing them to meth, its ingredients, or its byproducts
- Manufacturing meth in a building with multiple homes, such as an apartment building or condominium
Penalties for Aggravated Drug Possession
The penalty for an aggravated drug charge will depend on the circumstances above and the schedule of the drug involved. There are five schedules of drugs, and each schedule is based on how addictive the substance is. Schedule I and II drugs have a high potential for abuse and could have more severe charges if they are found in your possession without a prescription.
If you’ve been charged with possession of Schedule I through Schedule III, you will have to spend up to a year in jail, but it could be longer if you have methamphetamine, PCP, or other Schedule I drugs.
If you are charged with selling or planning to sell Schedule I or Schedule II drugs, you could be sentenced to up to 15 years in prison and a fine of $250,000. If you had a weapon at the time of arrest or if you were near a school, the charges could be even more severe.
What to Do if You’ve Been Charged
As soon as you’ve been charged with drug possession, you should hire a defense attorney. This lawyer will examine what happened before and after your arrest and determine if there are any grounds for dismissing the charge (such as if the drugs did not belong to you or the police didn’t have probable cause to search you or your car).
Our team has experience helping clients fight misdemeanor and felony drug charges. We’re ready to take on your case and give you the representation you deserve.
Reach out to our legal team to get started. If you’ve also been arrested for drunk driving, our DUI lawyers of Bucks County, PA, can provide legal counsel. Contact us today!