Alabama punishes drug crimes severely. If law enforcement finds someone in possession, sale or distribution of cocaine in the state, the likelihood of getting a felony charge is very high, leading to up to life in prison.
Cocaine in Alabama
The state categorizes controlled substances into five schedules. Schedule I is the most dangerous drug, and Schedule V is the least. Cocaine is a Schedule II drug, which means that even though it is highly dangerous, it may have a legitimate medical use.
Possession of cocaine
According to the 2018 Alabama Code Sec. 13A-12-232, in the description, the law categorizes possession into two groups: actual and constructive. Actual possession occurs when the police find cocaine on the accused’s person. Constructive possession occurs when law enforcement finds cocaine in a location under the accused’s control, such as a vehicle or home.
The penalties for possession vary depending on how much cocaine was in your possession and your history of drug charges. Typically, actively or constructively possessing less than 28 grams is a Class C felony punishable by 1 to 10 years in prison and a $15,000 fine. The state will likely take anything above that amount as trafficking.
Sale and distribution of cocaine
Selling or delivering cocaine is a Class B felony in Alabama. If the police find 28 to 499 grams on a person, the court will sentence them to a mandatory minimum sentence of three calendar years and a fine of $50,000. 500 to 999 grams results in a minimum of five calendar years and $100,000 in fines. One kilo but less than 10 kilos can lead to a minimum mandatory prison sentence of 15 years and a $250,000 fine. Anything more than that can result in life imprisonment without parole.
When charged, your criminal defense attorney can reduce or have the court dismiss your case by arguing that:
- The police officers searched for drugs illegally
- Law enforcement tricked you into selling them drugs
- The cocaine was not yours
- You did not know that the drug was present in a particular area
It’s important to remember that the punishment for cocaine charges can quickly worsen depending on someone’s circumstances. For instance, selling or possessing a drug within a school, court or park zone can lead to stiffer penalties. Regardless, every citizen has a right to defend themselves and obtain a fair trial when caught.