An experienced Alabama criminal defense attorney answers some of the most commonly asked questions regarding drug offenses in Alabama. If you or someone you know has been charged with a drug offense it is important you seek counsel immediately. To learn more, call and schedule a consultation today.
- What are Penalties for Marijuana Manufacturing, Distribution, or Trafficking in Alabama?
- What is the Difference Between a Misdemeanor and Felony Drug Charge in Alabama?
- Can You Explain Drug Possession in Alabama?
- Is Possession a Misdemeanor or a Felony in Alabama?
- What is Unlawful Possession of Marijuana in the First Degree in Alabama?
- What is Unlawful Possession of Marijuana in the Second Degree in Alabama?
- Can You Explain the Charge of Distribution of Marijuana in Alabama?
Answer: In Alabama, it is unlawful to manufacture, distribute or traffic marijuana. Manufacturing is a felony. Depending on certain circumstances, it is either a first or second degree charge – but they’re both felonies. Manufacturing in the second degree is a Class B felony that has a minimum mandatory sentence of two years, up to 20 years in the state penitentiary, and up to a $30,000 fine. A person commits the crime of unlawful manufacturing of a controlled substance in the second degree if they manufacture a controlled substance or possess precursor substances to be used to manufacture. Manufacturing in the first degree is a Class A felony with a minimum sentence of 10 years up to life in the State penitentiary and up to a $60,000 crime. The elements of manufacturing in the first degree are the same as manufacturing in the second degree, with the addition of either possession of a firearm, use of a booby trap, a clandestine laboratory operation, or if persons under the age of 17 were present during the manufacturing process.
Distribution is defined as a person who sells, furnishes, gives away, delivers, or distributes a controlled substance. Distribution is a Class B felony with a minimum sentence of two years to 20 years and up to a $30,000 fine. However, distribution can be punished as a Class A felony if the person distributed to someone under the age of 18 and that person was over the age of 18.
Trafficking in Alabama is divided out into several categories, such as trafficking cannabis, trafficking cocaine, trafficking illegal drugs, trafficking amphetamines or trafficking methamphetamines. Trafficking is a Class A felony with a minimum sentence of 10 years up to life and an added five-year sentence if a gun is involved. The minimum mandatory sentence must be served and cannot be probated unless there is a recommendation from the district attorney’s office to reduce the sentence based on cooperation.
Trafficking is defined as someone who sells, manufactures, or delivers or brings into the state or someone who is in actual or knowing physical control of cannabis in the amount of one kilogram over 2.2 pounds; cocaine in the amount of more than 28 grams; heroin, morphine, LSD or MDMA more than four grams; and amphetamines more than 28 grams.
Answer: There are only limited circumstances in Alabama where a drug crime would be considered a misdemeanor. All others would be considered felonies. The misdemeanor drug crimes in Alabama include: possession of marijuana in the second degree, which is deemed to be for personal use; illegal possession of prescription medications without a prescription; possession of imitation controlled substances; and possession of drug paraphernalia in certain circumstances. All other drug offenses are felonies, such as possession of cocaine, heroin, prescription medications, methamphetamine, designer drugs, etcetera; possession of marijuana in the first degree—which is defined as it being an amount other than for personal use; and drug crimes such as trafficking, distribution, and manufacturing.
Answer: There are two ways in the state of Alabama that the state can try to prove possession of drugs. Number one is actual possession—that’s when you have it on your person: in your socks, pants, pockets, things like that. The other is constructive possession, which means that it’s not on your actual person, but rather within your close vicinity—it could even be somewhere in your home or vehicle. For the state to be able to prove constructive possession, they must be able to prove, number one that you had knowledge, and then number two that you had an intent to control the particular controlled substance. However, if the accused is not in exclusive possession of the premesis—meaning the apartment, house, whatnot—then the state can’t infer knowledge without any other type of evidence.
Answer: Possession of drugs in Alabama can be either a misdemeanor or a felony. Factors that the prosecution would look at to determine whether the charge is a misdemeanor or a felony is the type of substance that was found in your possession, and as well the number of prior convictions one has had. Typically, it’s going to be a felony unless it’s a small amount of marijuana for personal use.
Answer: In Alabama, unlawful possession of marijuana in the first degree is a felony. It’s defined as someone who possesses marijuana other than for personal use—or it’s someone who has been previously convicted of unlawful possession of marijuana in the second degree, and then it’s called a subsequent time, even if the amount is for personal use. Unlawful possession of marijuana in the first degree is a Class C felony, which means the range of punishment, if convicted, would be from a year and a day to up to 10 years in the state penitentiary; up to a $15,000 fine; six-month drivers license suspension; and then mandatory drug awareness classes.
Answer: In Alabama, unlawful possession of marijuana in the second degree is a Class A misdemeanor. It’s defined as a person who has possession of marijuana for personal use. Unlawful possession of marijuana can be punished by up to 365 days in the county jail, up to a $6,000 fine, six-month drivers license suspension, and mandatory drug classes.
Answer: In Alabama, a person can be charged with distribution of marijuana if they sell, furnish, give away, deliver or distribute marijuana. As well, someone can be charged with distribution if they unlawfully possess an amount of marijuana with an intent to distribute the controlled substance.