Times have changed, and a lot of people no longer consider drugs like marijuana, ketamine or even psilocybin to be particularly dangerous. Medical marijuana laws now even permit some people to buy and use cannabis legally, and ketamine therapy and psilocybin are both being explored for their medicinal uses. This has had a ripple effect that makes many people feel like drug possession is really not a “big deal.”
But that’s not how the authorities see the situation. You can still get into serious trouble for illegally possessing even small quantities of any narcotic, and those charges can get a lot worse if there are aggravating circumstances.
What is the difference between possession and aggravated possession?
Illegal drugs are classified according to a schedule that ranks them according to their level of risk to the public. Schedule V drugs are considered the least harmful, while Schedule I drugs are considered the worst, with no medicinal value.
Typically, the charges you face for drug possession take into account both the class of the drugs and the quantity you have, but any possession charges can become elevated if certain aggravating factors are present. These include:
- You have a previous conviction that involved drugs other than synthetics, hashish and hash oil, marijuana or salvia divinorum
- You were in possession of a firearm when you were caught
- You were caught with the drugs on a school bus or within 500 feet of school property when a minor was likely to be present
- You were caught in a public park where children could reasonably be present
- You shared or delivered the drugs to a minor who is at least three years younger than yourself
- You were anywhere in the actual presence of a minor and know that they might know what you have
You can also face aggravated possession charges for being involved in the manufacturing of the drugs found in your possession.
Naturally, the higher the charges that you face over drug possession, the bigger the penalties you may face. Because aggravated drug charges are so serious, it’s wise to explore all of your potential defenses by seeking legal guidance right away.