James K. Minick

James K. Minick

Federal Possession of a Controlled Substance is a charge that encompasses a variety of different drugs ranging from marijuana to crack cocaine. Although the possession of a controlled substances is illegal under state law, it is also illegal under Federal law when the crime occurs on Federal property. This can happen locally when a person is on the Blue Ridge Parkway, in Pisgah National Forest, or at the Federal courthouse in downtown Asheville. These locations, especially the Blue Ridge Parkway, are commonly targeted by law enforcement officials.

A person can also be charged with not only a Federal Possession of a Controlled Substance charge, but also state charges, thus increasing the severity of the crimes. In order to obtain a conviction on the Federal charge of Possession of a Controlled Substance(s), the Federal prosecutor must prove each element beyond a reasonable doubt.  Additionally, it is important to note that there are different charges for individuals who are on land under the jurisdiction of the National Park Service.

Federal Possession of a Controlled Substance is also only a simple possession charge. Typically, a person charged with possession will also be charged with intent to sell or trafficking, which carry far more serious punishments.

Elements

Under 28 U.S.C. § 844, it is unlawful for:

  1. Any person to;
  2. Knowingly or intentionally;
  3. Possess;
  4. A controlled substance;
    1. Unless obtained directly;
    2. Or pursuant to a valid prescription or order;
    3. From a practitioner;
    4. Or otherwise authorized;

Punishment

If a person is guilty of the Federal charge of Possession of a Controlled Substance under 28 U.S.C. § 844, they may be sentenced to a term of no more than 1 year and a minimum fine of $1,000. However, if a person has a prior conviction under this statute or under applicable state laws, they will be sentenced to a term of imprisonment of no less than 15 days but not longer than 2 years and a minimum fine of $2,500. Additionally, if a person two or more prior convictions under this statute or applicable state laws, they shall be sentenced to a term of imprisonment of no less than 90 days but not more than 3 years and a minimum fine of $5,000.

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