If you are facing drug-related charges in Alabama, it is important to understand the nature of the charge and what penalties you may be facing. Drug-related crimes can be severe, and the consequences can be life-changing. In this blog post, we will discuss some of Alabama's most common drug-related crimes and the associated penalties.
The Most Common Drug-Related Crimes in Alabama: What You Need to Know
The first drug-related crime we will discuss is unlawful possession. This is the drug-related charge we see most commonly among our clients. The two forms of this charge are unlawful possession of marijuana (i.e., UPOM) and unlawful possession of a controlled substance (i.e., UPOCS). A UPOM charge can be either First or Second Degree, while UPOCS does not have varying degrees. In Alabama, there is not a specific amount of marijuana which delineates between UPOM 1st and UPOM 2nd. Rather, Unlawful Possession of Marijuana First Degree is defined by the law as either possession of marijuana “for other than personal use”, or possession of any amount if the individual has a prior UPOM conviction in any degree. There are, however, defined amounts varying drugs which can result in the more serious charges of “Distribution” and “Trafficking”, which are discussed below.
In Alabama, the penalties for unlawful possession can vary, depending on the type of drug and, in the case of marijuana, the degree of the charge. If convicted of UPOM 2nd, that is, the unlawful possession of marijuana in an amount “for personal use only”, the person faces up to one year in prison and a fine of up to $6,000, since UPOM 2nd is a Class A Misdemeanor. Every other form of drug possession charge in Alabama is either a Class C or Class D felony, and, therefore, carry more severe penalties. A person convicted of a Class D felony faces between 1 and 5 years in prison and a fine of not more than $7,500, while Class C felonies carry sentences between 1 and 10 years in prison and a potential fine of up to $15,000.
In Alabama, distribution can be charged as either unlawful distribution of a controlled substance or possession with intent to distribute. Unlawful distribution of a controlled substance is defined as one who “sells, furnishes, gives away, delivers, or distributes a controlled substance enumerated in Schedules I through V.” Note that, within Schedules I through V, essentially every drug commonly found is listed, including marijuana. Possession with intent to distribute is a much more specific charge, with the law breaking down specific amounts of each listed drug which one must be found in possession of in order to be charged with this offense.
Both versions of distribution are Class B felonies in Alabama, carrying a potential sentence of between 2 and 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $30,000. As you can see, it is important to understand the charges and potential consequences if you are accused of this crime.
The most serious drug-related crime we will discuss is trafficking. The Alabama statute defining this offense is very long and detailed, as it lays out specific amounts of each type of drug, including marijuana, that one must “knowingly sell, manufacture, deliver, or bring into this state” in order to be charged with this crime. Trafficking is a Class A felony, meaning the penalties can be extremely severe, so having a skilled and experienced advocate on your side is of the utmost importance. If you are convicted of trafficking in Alabama, you face a prison sentence between 10 years and life (99 years), and a potential fine of up to $60,000.
If you are arrested for a drug-related crime, contact us as soon as possible. We can help you understand the charges against you and build a strong defense. Do not try to navigate the criminal justice system on your own; get help from an experienced attorney. Call Revill Law Firm today at (205) 928-6544 to schedule a consultation.