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Facing drug charges: key terms

As certain drugs become legal in some states, people may believe that the war on drugs is nearing an end. However, this is far from true, and those who face charges for drug trafficking or distribution may have long roads ahead of them.

In such cases, it can be helpful to understand the various aspects of the charges. The last article reviewed the difference between drug trafficking and distribution. In regards to those charges, there are a few key terms that can have a great impact.

Controlled substance

A controlled substance is a drug that the state or local law deems to be illegal. It is important to note that with a physician's prescription, certain drugs may not be illegal. However, they must not be in excessive amounts that exceed the prescription. This regulation is in place to try to eliminate the use of the drug in a way that can bring mental or physical harm.


Possession occurs when parties have substances in their control. This does not necessarily mean that the drug is on the party's person; if it is within someone's personal space or belongings, it is within that person's control.


In the state of Massachusetts, there are five classes of possession of a controlled substance. The classes that the drugs fall into determine the penalties that convicted parties face. These classes range from A to E, with Class A representing the most dangerous drugs and descending from there. The penalties for the charges may reach up to two years in jail time and $2,000 in fines for a first offense. A second offense may result in up to $5,000 in fines and five years in jail.

Individuals facing drug charges should take some time to review the law and make sure that they comprehend it and its applications. For further explanation and clarity, it is a good idea to contact a knowledgeable attorney.

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