Addiction not only impacts a person's health, it can also have serious legal consequences. Charges for the use and sale of illegal drugs can be quite severe, especially if the offender is convicted of repeat offenses or is charged with having a large number of drugs in his or her possession. DrugAbuse.com explains possible consequences which illustrate the impact drug addiction and abuse can have on a person's life.
Different drugs are categorized using different criteria. This is known as drug scheduling, which classifies illicit substances according to their severity. Schedule I is considered the most serious, as these drugs are found to have no medical benefit and the highest likelihood of addiction. Schedule I drugs include heroin, MDMA, LSD, and marijuana, although in recent years many states have made marijuana legal for medical and recreational use. Schedule II drugs are those that can be used for certain medical purposes but still have a high potential for abuse. This includes cocaine, methamphetamines, and prescribed opioids. Schedule III through V drugs have a potential for abuse but are considered to have a much lower risk.
In terms of criminal charges, there are different penalties for using and selling drugs. A first offense for simple possession, which means that a person is carrying drugs for personal use with no intent to sell, usually involves a jail term of a year or less and fines. Punishments for simple possession will increase the more offenses a person racks up. First offenses are usually considered misdemeanors, while subsequent offenses may be classed as felonies.
When it comes to selling drugs, penalties are usually much harsher. These crimes are almost always considered a felony, which means long jail terms and heavy fines are often incurred. Extenuating circumstances can also increase fines and punishments related to drug sales and delivery. For example, selling drugs to a minor or having a person under a certain age help you with the sale and distribution of drugs increases jail terms by five years or more in some cases.