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4 elements that can increase the severity of drug possession charges in Indiana

On Behalf of | Apr 14, 2024 | Drug Crimes

A criminal conviction for drug possession in Indiana has major implications. A suspect who is accused of possessing illicit drugs can face harsh penalties, such as fines and incarceration. Penalties often depend on a few factors, such as the type of drug in possession, how it was intended to be used, the quantity of the drug and a suspect’s past criminal history. 

Here is what you should know about a few elements that are considered during a drug possession case: 

Drug possession and the intent to distribute

Simple possession is a legal term used to describe someone who is in possession of illegal substances with the intent to consume them. Simple possession often leads to lighter penalties than someone who intends to distribute or manufacture illicit drugs. 

The 5 drug schedules

Under the Controlled Substance Act, drugs are classified into schedules, which determine whether a substance can be used in medical fields or legally obtained. There are a total of 5 drug schedules: 

  • Schedule I
  • Schedule II
  • Schedule III
  • Schedule IV
  • Schedule V

Schedule I drugs are considered the most severe in terms of addiction and abuse. Being caught in possession of Schedule I, II or III substances may lead to felony charges.  

Quantity of an illicit substance 

In Indiana, the quantity of an illicit substance can greatly impact a drug possession case. Even a few grams of cocaine, heroin or marijuana can lead to up to 50 years in prison and $10,000 in fines. Those who were in possession of a large quantity of drugs with the intent of moving them across state lines or countries may be charged with trafficking.  

Prior criminal convictions 

A suspect may be scrutinized if they had any prior convictions of drug possession or criminal activity. Second or third offenses may lead to harsher drug possession sentences. 

If you are facing criminal charges for drug possession, it can help to receive guidance as you develop a legal defense.