Non-violent drug offenders represent a significant portion of individuals in the criminal justice system, so you may be wondering what is an example of a non-violent drug offender. What, exactly, does that term mean?
In the most simple terms, a non-violent drug offender is someone facing charges related to drug possession, distribution, or manufacturing where no violence was involved. There was no threat of harm or actual attack on another person.
Here are some examples …
Non-Violent Drug Offense Example 1: Simple Possession
Simple possession of a controlled substance is a common non-violent drug crime. This scenario involves individuals found with a small amount of drugs for personal use.
Examples of controlled substances include cocaine, methamphetamine, and prescription medications without a valid prescription.
Sentences for Simple Possession
- Federal Law: Federal sentences for simple drug possession may result in up to one year in prison and fines of up to $1,000 for a first offense. Subsequent convictions can lead to increased penalties.
- California Law: In California, simple possession is typically charged as a misdemeanor. The penalties may include up to one year in county jail and fines. Proposition 47, passed in 2014, reduced certain drug possession offenses from felonies to misdemeanors.
Possible Legal Defenses for Simple Possession
Fourth Amendment Violation: An attorney may argue that the search and seizure were conducted unlawfully, violating the defendant’s Fourth Amendment rights.
Lack of Knowledge: If the accused was unaware of the presence of the drugs, an attorney may consider a defense based on lack of knowledge.
Non-Violent Drug Offense Example 2: Drug Trafficking Conspiracy
Non-violent drug offenders can also be involved in drug trafficking conspiracies. This typically involves planning or participating in the distribution of controlled substances. These individuals may not engage in physical violence but can still face serious charges.
Sentences for Drug Trafficking Conspiracy
- Federal Law: Federal sentences for drug trafficking conspiracy can result in decades of imprisonment and substantial fines. Factors like the type and quantity of drugs involved affect the sentences.
- California Law: California drug trafficking charges can lead to lengthy prison sentences, often determined by the type and quantity of drugs. Sentences can vary widely, but they are typically substantial.
Possible Legal Defenses for Drug Trafficking Conspiracy
Lack of Intent: An attorney may argue that the defendant did not have the intent to participate in a drug trafficking conspiracy and was unaware of the criminal activities.
Entrapment: If law enforcement officers induced or pressured the defendant into participating in the conspiracy, an attorney may consider an entrapment defense.
Non-Violent Drug Offense Example 3: Prescription Drug Fraud
Non-violent drug offenders can also be individuals who engage in prescription drug fraud. This may involve forging prescriptions, doctor shopping, or illegally obtaining prescription medications.
Sentences for Prescription Drug Fraud
- Federal Law: Under federal law, prescription drug fraud can result in significant fines and imprisonment, depending on the extent of the fraud and the specific medications involved.
- California Law: In California, prescription drug fraud is treated seriously and can lead to substantial penalties, including imprisonment and fines.
Possible Legal Defenses for Prescription Drug Fraud
Lack of Intent: Similar to other drug offenses, an attorney may argue that the defendant did not have the intent to engage in fraudulent activities and may have been unaware of the illegality of their actions.
Prescription Error: If the defendant can demonstrate that the prescription error was accidental or due to a misunderstanding, this could be a viable defense.
Non-Violent Drug Offenders Need Qualified Legal Representation
Non-violent drug offenders come in various forms. These are just three examples. But in all of these cases, a knowledgeable criminal defense attorney plays a crucial role in representing non-violent drug offenders. They may explore various legal defenses to challenge the charges and protect their clients’ rights.
So, if you or someone you know is facing charges for a non-violent drug crime, it’s important to talk to a criminal defense attorney with experience in these cases right away.
Mark Broughton is a criminal defense lawyer in Fresno with 40+ years of experience, and he will fight to get you the best possible outcome. He sees every individual’s situation with compassion and empathy. And he believes that every person has the right to a fair trial and is innocent until proven guilty.
If you are facing criminal charges, call 559-691-6222 or click here to request a free consultation. We’ll get back to you right away.
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