Drug Charges

The Different Types of Drug Charges

One drug charge is not like the next.  There are many different drug charges recognized in Alabama.  In fact, it is possible that one incident could lead to more than one type of drug charge.  Each of these categories of drug-related crimes comes with its own elements of proof and legal consequences.  Here are the basics.

Drug Distribution and Trafficking

Drug “distribution” refers to the selling, delivering, or providing of a controlled substances illegally. This charge is often used if someone tries to sell drugs to an undercover officer.  Drug “trafficking,” on the other hand, generally refers to the illegal sale and/or distribution of a controlled substance.  The main difference between trafficking and distribution is the amount of drugs involved.  The following factors dictate the type of consequences that will result from a conviction:

  • the type and amount of the controlled substance involved
  • the location where the defendant was apprehended
  • prior criminal history

Manufacturing a controlled substance

Manufacturing a controlled substance refers to the production of certain controlled substances.  For example, cultivation of a controlled substance would include growing, possessing, or producing naturally occurring elements in order to make illegal controlled substances (e.g., marijuana). On the other hand, manufacturing refers to creating a controlled substance through chemical processes or in a lab, such as cocaine and methamphetamine.

Possession of a controlled substance

The most common drug charge involves simply possessing a controlled substance. In order to prove a drug possession charge, there must be evidence that the accused (1) knowingly and intentionally possessed a controlled substance, (2) without a valid prescription, and (3) in a quantity sufficient for personal use or sale.

Actual possession vs. constructive possession

Possession can be based on actual or “constructive” possession of a controlled substance. “Constructive” possession means that it is not necessary for you to actually have the drugs on your person, if you had access to and control over the place where the drugs were found. Constructive possession is a very common theory in situations where illegal drugs are found in a vehicle during a traffic stop.

If you have questions regarding drug charges, or any other criminal defense matters, please contact Ketcham Law by calling us at (205) 296-4233.

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