Police stop individuals for various reasons. In some instances, a driver may be speeding and is pulled over. In other cases, an officer might be suspicious of someone’s activities and decides to stop and question that individual. In these or other instances, a search could be conducted. And, during this search, drugs could be uncovered. In these matters, the accused could face drug possession charges.

How serious are drug possession charges? This is typically the charge a person faces when in possession of an illegal substance for personal use. The individual probably is not suspected of manufactured the drug, or distributing trafficking or selling the drug.

Despite the fact that a person is facing criminal charges for possession of a drug for personal use, these charges are treated seriously and can come with harsh penalties. For example, in Florida, a first-degree misdemeanor drug possession charge could result in fines, mandatory substance abuse treatment, incarceration for up to a year and possible home detention. In contrast, a third-degree felony drug possession charge could result in up to five years in prison. Finally, for a first-degree felony drug possession charge, a person could face up to 30 years in prison and a fine up to $250,000.

Depending on the type of drugs in question and other factors, such as past criminal record, a person could face harsh penalties for a drug possession charge. Those accused of such charges should take the time to understand potential criminal defense options and how best to proceed in their own unique case.