It is common knowledge that possessing illegal substances or drug paraphernalia can lead to serious criminal charges. However, the risk of drug possession charges is much higher than many people might believe.
That is why it is important to understand the facts about drug charges – and drug arrests – nowadays.
How common are drug arrests?
According to Pew Research Center, the rate of individuals arrested for drug offenses – particularly drug possession – has not changed much since 2009. In fact, one in ten arrests across the country involved drug offenses in 2019.
The report noted that even though charges for trafficking or selling drugs decreased, possession charges remained nearly the same. The legacy and continuation of the political War on Drugs likely motivate the continued crackdown on drug offenses, making them some of the most common types of charges issued.
They have the highest incarceration rate as well
For many years, drug offenses were the top reason for incarceration. That remains true today in 2022 as well. Drug offenses have a significant lead over any other charges when it comes to incarceration rates.
Incarceration rates are a part of a larger criminal justice issue. Even so, possession charges are not something to take lightly. They carry a high risk of facing serious penalties.
Remember: Charges often depend on the substance
Drug possession is often seen as a minor drug offense. It is true that drug trafficking charges involve higher penalties than possession charges. However, individuals could still face felony charges for possession, depending on the particular substance. In North Carolina, it is a felony to possess substances including, but not limited to:
- Hallucinogenic drugs
Additionally, possessing significant amounts of substances like cocaine, morphine, meth amphetamines and opiates can also lead to felony charges.
The reports go to show that possession charges are not minor issues. It is critical to take charges seriously and take active steps to protect your rights.