Drug Crime Law
Guide to Drug Crime Law
What is Drug Charges law? This legal area, also referred to as Drug Crimes law, is a subset of Criminal law and overlaps with Criminal Defense law. It encompasses the laws created to deal with illegal drug possession, use, manufacture, trafficking and other related transactions, as well as their enforcement and with legal defenses of the associated charges. This refers to both “street” drugs, which are strictly illegal, and drugs subject to Controlled Substances law, which are regulated by state and federal laws.
Although most drug charges are classified as felonies, the seriousness of the offence and subsequent punishment is most often determined by the type of drug involved and, if applicable, its classification under the drug schedule, the quantity the offender is found with, whether there is intent to sell and/or distribute and other relevant factors. A conviction for drug trafficking carries stiff penalties as well as dire consequences above and beyond criminal punishment, such as denial of federal benefits and forfeiture of real estate and personal property.
There exists controversy about the vigilant pursuit of drug charges against recreational users of “lesser” drugs, such as marijuana, and against drug addicts who would probably benefit far more from a drug rehabilitation clinic than from a prison sentence. Many opponents argue that drug use is a “victimless crime” and should be treated differently from violent criminal offenses. Others support the government’s view that drug use is a direct contributor to violent crime and their determination to prosecute these offenses to the fullest extent of the law. These laws exist on both the federal and state levels and are very extensively enforced. The most common defense used to fight drug charges is proving illegal search and seizure by the authorities who discovered the drugs.
A new approach to dealing with drug arrests in some cities and states is the creation of drug courts, which can provide substance abuse help for arrested individuals with addiction problems. Laws governing these courts vary by locality and state, but generally they are offered as an alternative sentencing option for non-violent first offenders and for those convicted of lesser offenses.
To consult State Legislation regarding drug charges laws and regulations please see the Criminal Code by State page.
Know Your Rights!
- Dealing with Drug Charges
- How to Fight Drug Possession Charges
- If a Drug is Not Illegal, Can I Get in Trouble for Having, Taking, or Selling it?
- What Are the Different Schedules of Drugs
- When Can You Be Held Responsible for Drugs or Guns That Aren't Yours?
- Where is Marijuana Legalized, Decriminalized, or Still Criminal?
Articles on Drug Crime Law
- Can You Travel Across State Lines with Legally Obtained Marijuana?As more and more states are opting to pass laws authorizing either medical (or in the recent case of Colorado) recreational marijuana use and sales, it has become increasingly common to wonder what the new legal limitations are on the product.
- If a Drug is Not Illegal, Can I Get in Trouble for Having, Taking, or Selling it?Over the last few years, a number of drugs have made it to the market that, while not technically illegal, had the same effects as taking other, outlawed narcotics. Unfortunately, many of these drugs only made the news after something unfortunate happened, like an overdose, an accident caused by someone intoxicated by the alternative drug, or a celebrity disclosing their addiction to it.
- When Can You Be Held Responsible for Drugs or Guns That Aren't Yours?Of all the concepts in the field of criminal law, few are more hotly debated, and more subject to constantly inconsistent results, than the concept of constructive possession. But what is it? How can someone be held responsible for possessing drugs or guns that are not on their person (especially if there is a perfectly reasonable explanation of who may actually be the owner)?
- License Suspension for Marijuana Possession - No Vehicle RequiredIt is important to understand that the laws of New Jersey provide for a suspension of a defendant's driver's license upon conviction of any N.J.S.A. 2C:35 drug offense - even if the offense had nothing to do with a motor vehicle.
- Crestor Study Shows New Risk for UsersA study published in September 2013 in the journal JAMA Ophthalmology has shown that those patients who take Crestor have an increased risk of developing cataracts.
- How to Fight Drug Possession ChargesEvery year, thousands of people are arrested on drug possession charges. Many of these charges relate to very small amounts of controlled substances in a person's car or on their person. These cases are an enormous percentage of the criminal court dockets of every state, leading to almost routine behavior of drug possession defendants and sentencing. But, it is possible to fight these types of charges and obtain a more favorable outcome.
- Medical Malpractice Whistleblower Case Against Wyeth Pharmaceuticals SettledThe immunosuppressant drug Rapamune was at the center of a lawsuit which was recently settled for $257.4 million.
- Intoxication Can Be Illegal in Circumstances Other than DUIWe all know the dangers of intoxication or drug use before getting behind the wheel of a car, but when else can intoxication be against the law? It might surprise you to know that there are ways to commit DUI without even being in a car. In fact, there are many laws affecting intoxication and being aware of some of the more unusual ones could be the difference between a fun night out and a legal nightmare.
- Where is Marijuana Legalized, Decriminalized, or Still Criminal?Much has been made over the last few years about a push to legalize marijuana. In 1996, California voters passed Proposition 215, making it the first in the union to allow for the medical use of marijuana. Since then, 19 more states, and the District of Columbia have enacted similar laws, for a total of 20 states and the District of Columbia with public medical marijuana programs.
- What Are the Different Schedules of DrugsIn criminal prosecutions, one often hears various drugs referred to by different schedules. But what are the schedules, which drugs are on them, and what do they mean?
- All Criminal Law Articles
Articles written by attorneys and experts worldwide discussing legal aspects related to Criminal Law including: arson, assault, battery, bribery, burglary, child abuse, child pornography, computer crime, controlled substances, credit card fraud, criminal defense, criminal law, drugs and narcotics, DUI, DWI, embezzlement, fraud, expungements, felonies, homicide, identity theft, manslaughter, money laundering, murder, perjury, prostitution, rape, RICO, robbery, sex crimes, shoplifting, theft, weapons, white collar crime and wire fraud.
Drug Charges Law - US
- Anti-Drug Abuse Act of 1988
The Anti-Drug Abuse Act of 1988 established the creation of a drug-free America as a policy goal. A key provision of that act was the establishment of the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) to set priorities, implement a national strategy, and certify federal drug-control budgets. The law specified that the strategy must be comprehensive and research-based; contain long-range goals and measurable objectives; and seek to reduce drug abuse, trafficking, and their consequences. Specifically, drug abuse is to be curbed by preventing young people from using illegal drugs, reducing the number of users, and decreasing drug availability.
- Controlled Substance Ordering System - DEA - Office of Diversion Control
DEA's CSOS program allows for secure electronic controlled substances orders without the supporting paper DEA Form 222. Using a technology called PKI, CSOS requires that each individual purchaser enroll with DEA to acquire a CSOS digital certificate.
- DEA - Drug Scheduling
The list on this site describes the basic or parent chemical and does not describe the salts, isomers and salts of isomers, esters, ethers and derivatives which may also be controlled substances.
- Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA)
The mission of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) is to enforce the controlled substances laws and regulations of the United States and bring to the criminal and civil justice system of the United States, or any other competent jurisdiction, those organizations and principal members of organizations, involved in the growing, manufacture, or distribution of controlled substances appearing in or destined for illicit traffic in the United States; and to recommend and support non-enforcement programs aimed at reducing the availability of illicit controlled substances on the domestic and international markets.
- Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP)
The principal purpose of ONDCP is to establish policies, priorities, and objectives for the Nation's drug control program. The goals of the program are to reduce illicit drug use, manufacturing, and trafficking, drug-related crime and violence, and drug-related health consequences. To achieve these goals, the Director of ONDCP is charged with producing the National Drug Control Strategy. The Strategy directs the Nation's anti-drug efforts and establishes a program, a budget, and guidelines for cooperation among Federal, State, and local entities.
- The President's National Drug Control Strategy - 2011
This report presents the 2011 National Drug Control Strategy of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy. The 2011 National Drug Control Strategy emphasizes drug prevention and early intervention programs in helthcare settings; diverting non-violent drug offenders into treatment instead of jail; funding more scientific research on drug use, expanding access to substance abuse treatment and supporting those in recovery.
Drug Charges Law - International
- Controlled Drugs and Substances Act - Canada
An Act respecting the control of certain drugs, their precursors and other substances and to amend certain other Acts and repeal the Narcotic Control Act.
- Convention on Psychotropic Substances, 1971
The Convention establishes an international control system for psychotropic substances. It responded to the diversification and expansion of the spectrum of drugs of abuse and introduced controls over a number of synthetic drugs according to their abuse potential on the one hand and their therapeutic value on the other.
- Drug Enforcement Branch - Canada
The Drug Program’s goal is to prevent drug-related social and economic harm by reducing the supply and demand for illicit drugs with the understanding that the drug problem is one of global proportions. A strong integrated approach to the global drug problem involves prevention, education, enforcement, counselling, treatment, and rehabilitation. Together these are most likely to achieve long term success for drug-related issues.
- Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs, 1961
This Convention aims to combat drug abuse by coordinated international action. There are two forms of intervention and control that work together. First, it seeks to limit the possession, use, trade in, distribution, import, export, manufacture and production of drugs exclusively to medical and scientific purposes. Second, it combats drug trafficking through international cooperation to deter and discourage drug traffickers.
- United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC)
UNODC is mandated to assist Member States in their struggle against illicit drugs, crime and terrorism. In the Millennium Declaration, Member States also resolved to intensify efforts to fight transnational crime in all its dimensions, to redouble the efforts to implement the commitment to counter the world drug problem and to take concerted action against international terrorism.
- UNODC - Legal Tools for Drug Control and Crime Prevention
A functioning legal system plays a fundamental role in all drug control and crime prevention efforts. It defines what is lawful and what is not under regulatory and penal laws. It creates, limits, or takes away rights or privileges. It confers powers and responsibilities and provides safeguards. Such a system also imposes obligations and provides civil and penal sanctions if laws are violated, as well as establishing the institutions and legal framework for them to function.
Organizations Related to Drug Charges Law
- ACLU - Against Drug Prohibition
The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) opposes criminal prohibition of drugs. Not only is prohibition a proven failure as a drug control strategy, but it subjects otherwise law-abiding citizens to arrest, prosecution and imprisonment for what they do in private. In trying to enforce the drug laws, the government violates the fundamental rights of privacy and personal autonomy that are guaranteed by our Constitution.
- Center for Cognitive Liberty & Ethics (CCLE)
The Center for Cognitive Liberty & Ethics (CCLE) is a nonprofit law and policy institute working to advance sustainable social policies that protect freedom of thought. The CCLE maintains that criminal drug prohibition violates freedom of thought by intimately infringing on the fundamental right to self-determine one’s own mental states.
- Drug Abuse Resistance Education (DARE)
DARE.'s primary mission is to provide children with the information and skills they need to live drug-and-violence-free lives. The mission is to equip kids with the tools that will enable them to avoid negative influences and instead, allow them to focus on their strengths and potential. And, that's exactly what D.A.R.E. is designed to do.
- Drug Free America Foundation, Inc.
Drug Free America Foundation, Inc. is a drug prevention and policy organization committed to developing, promoting and sustaining global strategies, policies and laws that will reduce illegal drug use, drug addiction, drug-related injury and death. Drug legalization and permissive drug policies will lead to a greater availability of dangerous drugs in our communities and undermine each nation's commitment to law enforcement, health care, education, commerce and the family.
- Law Enforcement Against Prohibition
Law Enforcement Against Prohibition is an international organization of criminal justice professionals who bear personal witness to the wasteful futility and harms of our current drug policies. Our experience on the front lines of the “war on drugs” has led us to call for a repeal of prohibition and its replacement with a tight system of legalized regulation, which will effectively cripple the violent cartels and street dealers who control the current illegal market.
- National Families in Action Guide to the Drug Prevention Movementt
Welcome to the National Families in Action Guide to the Drug Prevention Movement. This guide contains a record of the thousands of parent groups across America who organized in the late 1970s to prevent children from becoming involved with illicit drugs, alcohol, and tobacco. How they achieved a two-thirds reduction in the monthly use of all drugs between 1979 and 1992 is the story chronicled here.
- National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML
NORML's mission is to move public opinion sufficiently to achieve the repeal of marijuana prohibition so that the responsible use of cannabis by adults is no longer subject to penalty.
- Partnership for a Drug Free America (PDFA)
The Partnership for a Drug-Free America is a nonprofit organization that unites parents, renowned scientists and communications professionals to help families raise healthy children. Best known for its research-based national public education programs, the Partnership motivates and equips parents to prevent their children from using drugs and alcohol, and to find help and treatment for family and friends in trouble.
- Transform Drug Policy Foundation
Transform Drug Policy Foundation is a charitable think tank in the UK that seeks to draw public attention to the fact that drug prohibition itself is the major cause of drug-related harm to individuals, communities and nations, and should be replaced by effective, just and humane government control and regulation
Publications Related to Drug Charges Law
- International Drug Policy Developments and News by Common Sense
This news page contains general information about international drug policy developments.
- World Drug Report - Global Illicit Drug Trends by the United Nations
In 1998, the General Assembly gave UNODC the mandate to publish "comprehensive and balanced information about the world drug problem, " in recognition of the importance of factual and objective information in international drug control.