Drug offenses

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Updated: 4/13/2007 3:35 pm
The authorities treat drug offenses with great severity. In most states, the possession of even small quantities of controlled substances can lead to time in jail. Possession is usually defined either as actual possession, when the substance is found on the person or in the home or vehicle; or as constructive possession, in which the suspect doesn't actually have the drugs, but can effectively exercise domain or control over the drugs at any time. In most jurisdictions, drug offenses can also mean the confiscation of cars, homes, or other property. In this case, the owner of the property must quickly file a claim for the return of the property or risk forfeiture. Property forfeiture cases are often handled in civil court, separately from any criminal proceedings. Drug possession can be a misdemeanor or a felony, depending on the exact nature of the crime. Dealing in drugs is an extremely serious offense, and in some states, the possession of significant quantities of a controlled substance can lead to a prison sentence without parole. Cases of drug trafficking are often handled by the Drug Enforcement Agency and tried in federal court. The penalties for drug dealing or trafficking can be very harsh, and are often accompanied by the confiscation of property, and measures by the Internal Revenue Service to recover back taxes owed, based on the value of the drugs. This, in turn, can lead to the forfeiture of property by the IRS (I-R-S), in addition to the prison sentence received for the crime itself.

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