In 2002, 19.5 million Americans admitted to using drugs. In that same year, about 1.5 million people were arrested on drug charges and approximately 175,000 of those arrested were sent to jail. Penalties for drug possession charges vary state by state, some states delivering more harsh punishments than others. For example, Oklahoma has some of the most aggressive penalties for drug possession in the United States.
Drug possession laws vary according to drug type, amount and geographical area in which the offense took place. For example, possession of small quantities of drugs is usually referred to as “simple” possession while holding of large amounts of drugs may be deemed “possession with the intent to distribute.” While drug possession usually refers to the harboring of an illegal drug, many new laws have included the manufacturing, cultivation, distribution or selling of illegal substances, as well as the possession of certain accessories related to drug use.
In Oklahoma, if a person is charged with possession of a drug that is considered to be “less serious”, such as marijuana, he or she may face up to one year in jail for a first offense. However, if that person is charged with possession of a “more serious” substances, such as methamphetamine or cocaine, he may face at least two years in prison for a first offense, and up to ten years in prison based on factors such as amount and location of offense. For a second conviction, the penalties are consequently must more severe. For example, a person charged with possession of marijuana as a second offense will face as much as ten years in prison. A second conviction of possession of cocaine could raise the penalty to four to twenty years in prison. More serious offenders will face life in prison.
Other possible penalties for a conviction of possession of illegal drugs in Oklahoma include:
– Mandatory drug testing
– Suspension of driver’s license
– Felony convictions
Drug possession charges can affect an offender for the rest of his life. A person convicted of the possession of illegal drugs may face life in prison, among other penalties, depending on various factors of the case.