Avoiding a prison sentence is the main reason why someone would hire a drug crime lawyer after being charged with possession of contraband for personal use. Whether it’s marijuana, cocaine, ecstasy, heroin or some other illegal substance, the consequences can be harsh.

A drug crime lawyer understands that most people who are arrested for possession do not plan to sell any contraband and have not committed any violent crimes. Many of them would benefit more from substance abuse treatment or inpatient rehabilitation than spending time in jail. Also, a large percentage of drug users do not have a substance abuse problem and only participate recreationally on occasion. The prosecution must adhere to existing regulations, however, and seek to punish people for illegal activity.

Loss of Federal Benefit Privileges

Conviction for possession has other consequences even if the individual does not have to serve time. The person will not be eligible to acquire student loans for college for a number of years afterward, for example, because they are barred from receiving federal benefits during that time.

People convicted of drug-related offenses are not eligible to live in public housing or to receive food benefits. That can be a big stumbling block for someone who was recently released from prison, has very little money, and is trying to get back on their feet. Various organizations are lobbying to have these penalties removed from the law, but for now, an ex-convict trying to start fresh must manage this situation.

Examples of Potential Sentences

Someone who uses cocaine infrequently but happens to be caught with the drug by law enforcement faces the risk of a lengthy prison sentence. In Kansas, possession of a relatively small amount of cocaine that is obviously for personal use is a felony. A person with no previous criminal history could still be sentenced to nearly a year in jail.

A first-time conviction of marijuana possession is a misdemeanor, but judges still can issue a jail sentence. Even if a prison sentence is avoided, the longer-term consequences still remain. Anyone who has been charged with this offense may consult with an attorney at a firm such as Addair Thurston Chtd., which can be found online at Addairthurston.com. You can also watch video on their YouTube channel.