5 Factors That Affect Criminal Drug Charges

exchanging drugs and cash

Drug charges can be complex because so many details are factored into the decisions for charges and sentencing. You may be unaware of how different factors can affect the severity of your drug charge or potential penalties. Let’s go over five factors critical to drug charges and sentencing.

1. The Quantity of the Drug Involved

The amount of a controlled substance you have in your possession at the time of your arrest will influence what type of charge you face.

Oregon recently made headlines when the State decriminalized simple possession of nearly all drugs. This means that you will not be formally charged with a crime if you are found with an individual amount of drugs in your possession. Instead, you would receive a citation and have to pay a small fine. After receiving a citation, you could attend a health assessment to further look into any potential substance abuse issues. After successfully completing the assessment, your citation could be waived. From that point, you may move forward with further drug treatment.

For more details about decriminalized drugs in Oregon, click here.

If you are found with a large quantity of drugs in your possession, though, you could face serious misdemeanor or felony possession charges, or even federal drug trafficking charges.

2. Where The Drug Offense Took Place

You may face harsher penalties if you are convicted of a drug offense that took place within 1,000 feet of a school. Schools are considered drug-free zones in Oregon. Delivering or manufacturing drugs within 1,000 feet of a school building can result in felony charges.

Additionally, you can be charged with a federal drug crime if you transported the drugs across any state or national borders. Because these types of offenses span multiple jurisdictions, they can be elevated to the federal level.

3. Commercial Drug Offenses

An individual may be charged and penalized for a commercial drug offense if there is evidence to support that they either had the intent to sell drugs or did sell drugs for profit. To support a commercial drug charge, the police may look for evidence like:

  • Drug packing materials
  • Scales
  • Online communications organizing a sale or transfer
  • Transaction records
  • Large amounts of cash (typically $300 or more raises suspicion)

4. If a Minor Was Involved

As previously stated, a drug crime that happens near a school may face more severe penalties. The same is true for any drug offenses that involve minors. If a minor was present for, or directly involved in a drug offense, this is considered an aggravating factor that can lead to enhanced penalties. Depending on the circumstances, you could also face an additional criminal charge for child endangerment.

5. If a Weapon Was Used

For almost all types of criminal offenses, the presence of a firearm or other weapon can lead to sentencing enhancements. This is true for drug offenses. Even if the weapon is not used or the firearm is not fired, you can still face enhanced penalties simply for having it in your possession at the time of the offense.

If the weapon is used to injure or kill someone, you can face more severe violent crime charges on top of any drug charges.

Penalties for Drug Offenses

Although Oregon has taken a unique stance by decriminalizing most simple possession cases, other drug charges come with serious penalties.

After a drug crime conviction, you face:

  • Jail time or numerous years in prison
  • Expensive fines
  • Probation
  • Mandatory drug treatment counseling
  • Asset forfeiture

You may also have difficulty:

  • Repairing your reputation
  • Keeping relationships with important people in your life
  • Getting a job
  • Getting an apartment or house
  • Getting a loan from a bank
  • Getting professional licensure

Drug Crime Defense in Oregon

If you have recently been charged with a drug offense in Oregon, contact us at The Law Office of Justin Rosas. We have experience successfully handling a wide variety of state and federal drug offenses. We are passionate about helping those accused of drug crimes avoid the harsh consequences of the justice system. Share your situation with our defense team today.