Drug arrests remain common in Mississippi and around the country as people fight their addictions. Reports of significant busts often make headlines in the news.
When law enforcement finds a person with illegal substances, the charges vary, depending on the circumstances.
Simple drug possession
The most common crime is to possess a controlled substance on one’s property or person. The punishment varies by the drug schedule and its weight for synthetic substances, such as marijuana. Other drugs receive sentencing by the dosage unit.
The lowest fine for a first violation could be $100 with no jail time. With additional offenses, the punishment increases. The court also mandates attendance in a drug education course. Penalties become even stricter if a person has possession of substances in the cab of a motor vehicle.
Drug possession with intent to distribute
Possession with intent to distribute does not specify minimum quantities. The charge only addresses the act of selling or transferring the substances. The sentence depends on the drug schedule. Schedule V substances, such as cough preparations of codeine, can bring up to 10 years in prison and up to $50,000 in fines.
Drug trafficking charges
Authorities do not have to catch someone moving drugs to accuse a person of a trafficking offense. The charges depend on the weight of the drugs, which authorities often accept as proof of manufacturing or intent to distribute.
Drug charges and their sentences are not a cut-and-dry formula. The details of the case, cooperation with the prosecution and the strength of the defense can cause the results to vary considerably.