Getting caught with drugs is a bad situation all around. You could face prison, jail time, probation, court-ordered rehab, fines and other penalties. Even in the best-case scenario, the penalties can be costly and have a lasting impact on your life.
The drug penalties go from bad to worse if you are caught with them around minors. For example, if you are within 1,000 feet of a school when selling a drug it to another person, the maximum term of imprisonment prescribed by law for that crime may be increased by 5 years.
Understanding your risk of penalties
With drug offenses, you need to understand that there are significant variances from case to case. How much of a drug you possess, the specific drug you possess, who was with you at the time and where you were located at the time of the arrest may all matter.
For example, Wisconsin penalizes cocaine possession harshly. Possessing this drug, as a first offense, can lead to up to a year in the county jail, plus fines up to $5,000. It becomes a felony for simple possession after a first offense in Wisconsin because the State can charge you as a Repeat Drug Offender.
Take for example, by comparison, heroin. Simple possession of heroin is a Class I felony exposing a person to up to 3 1/2 years in prison, and fines up to $10,000. Selling less than 3 grams of heroin is a Class F felony, exposing a person to 12 1/2 years in prion, and $25,000 in fines. But again, if you sell it within 1,000 feet of a school the maximum term of imprisonment may be increased by 5 years so the person is facing up to 17 1/2 years.
You need to understand your rights if you’re caught with drugs around minors
One of the most significant factors in a drug case is whether or not children were involved. If you were within 1,000 feet of a school or you were with minors at the time when you were caught with drugs, you need to be very cautious about how you proceed with your defense.
Drug possession or trafficking is bad enough on its own, but when you bring children into the mix, the law is extremely harsh. Fortunately, you have a right to defend yourself and try to negate the idea that you were in possession, selling drugs to children or close enough to a school for those factors to matter in your case.