When you think about cocaine, you probably think about a white powder that is often packaged in a small plastic bag. It is often sold by the gram in many locations, including New York. The drug is derived from the coca plant that is often grown in South America. However, there are other ways to get cocaine instead of going to South America to make a purchase. Some people will cut cocaine with other substances to make it look like there is a substantial amount. This means that the person buying the drug doesn’t really know what is in the bag as it could be a small amount of cocaine mixed with anything from aspirin that has been made into a powder to a powdered cleaning solution.
There are federal and state laws in place that make possession and trafficking of powdered cocaine a law no matter how much you have on your possession. You can also be charged if you have any of the equipment that is associated with cocaine use. Laws have classified cocaine as a product that is among the narcotics that has a potential for abuse and dependency. Coca leaves are also included in the laws that have been made, so if you are in possession of the leaves themselves, you can be charged. The type of charge will depend on the amount of cocaine that you have on you when you are found in possession. A small amount is usually classified as a misdemeanor. If you have a significant amount, usually over a gram, along with items that could be used for trafficking, then you will likely be charged with a felony.
A simple possession is when you have a small amount on your person and know that it’s there. You could have it in your pocket or in a purse or wallet. The fact that you know that you have the drug is enough for you to be charged as you know that it’s illegal to have it for use. However, if you get a box that you think is baking soda or another white powder without knowing that it’s really cocaine, then you usually won’t be charged.
Another way that you could be charged is by constructively having control over the cocaine. An example would be having the drug in a suitcase and being stopped while going through airport security. Another example would be when an officer finds a bag of cocaine under a bush while you’re parked beside the bush. Charges can be filed if an officer finds cocaine in a home that is owned or rented. If the drug is found in a hotel room, then every person in the room could be charged unless someone wants to come forward and admit that the drug is actually theirs. A club manager can be charged with possession if someone leaves a bag of cocaine in a bathroom or in any other area of the club. Without knowing who left the bag there, then the owner would be responsible. There are even ways for officers to charge people who receive packages in the mail that contain cocaine. This involves a little more investigating on the part of the officer and the post office, but it’s possible. Prosecutors must be able to prove that the person had control over the cocaine in order for a charge to stick. This is when an attorney can help you with the charges that you have received. If you can prove that you had no knowledge that the cocaine was in your presence, then you can often beat the charge and not receive any kind of punishment.