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Types of federal drug crime charges

Federal drug charges usually fall under five different categories. They include: paraphernalia charges, possession charges, manufacturing/delivery charges and dealing charges. The severity of punishments relating to these offenses depends on the facts, evidence and other issues relating to the federal drug crime at issue.

When it comes to a Florida resident facing paraphernalia charges, this usually relates to the possession of any item that is used to inhale, inject, prepare or hide an illegal narcotic. The National Drug Intelligence Center says that it is illegal to import, sell or export various types of drug paraphernalia as well. These types of contraband items can include: bongs, different kinds of pipes, syringes, rolling papers and a wide variety of other kinds of items. Sometimes an item is deemed to be "paraphernalia" simply because of the context in which it was found. For example, a piece of tin foil might be construed as paraphernalia if it is deemed that it was used to administer drugs.

Possession offenses relate to the illegal possession of any kind of narcotic like heroin, cocaine or marijuana. Possession offenses range from simple possession if the quantity of drugs is small, to possession with the intention to distribute if the quantity is large. As could be expected, possession with the intention to distribute comes with the threat of more severe punishments for those who are convicted.

Manufacturing/delivery offenses relate to the creation or growing of illegal drugs. It can also relate to delivering drugs. Drug trafficking usually relates to the importation, transportation, distribution or wide-scale selling of drugs. Sometimes, individuals who are in possession of a large amount of drugs are accused of trafficking, when the crime was -- in fact -- nothing more than a possession offense. Drug dealing offenses are different from drug trafficking offenses in that they usually involve the sale of small amounts of narcotics; therefore, they typically involve less severe punishments.

Florida residents facing federal drug crime charges will have the right to a criminal defense. They will even have the right to a free criminal defense attorney furnished by the court. That said, some individuals may prefer to garner the services of a more experienced private attorney who can fight for their rights in court. 

Source: findlaw.com, "Types of Drug Crimes", Accessed on Feb. 4, 2015

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Ian F. Mann PA

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