Many people who have been charged with a drug crime or believe that they are suspected of one, find comfort in having knowledge of the basics of drug crime terminology. A good drug crime attorney can help you to understand these terms and how they apply to your specific circumstances

Constructive Possession

Under state or federal drug crime laws, constructive possession means that a person does not actually have a controlled substance on their person but does have control over access to a place where drugs are being kept. An example of this is a person does not have any illegal substances in their pockets or in their shoes, etc. but they have the key to a car or the combination to a locker, etc. This theory can be used (for example) to charge someone with possession during what is supposedly a routing traffic stop.


Manufacturing refers to making a controlled substance. This includes possessing or producing naturally occurring elements to make illegal substances as well as being in control of facilities that do this albeit a facility may only be “laboratory” in a residential house, garage, or trailer, etc. Examples of this include but are not limited to the chemical and/or facilities to make crystal meth (methamphetamine), LSD (lysergic acid diethylamide) and cocaine.


Anyone who has an illegal substance on their person, or control of where illegal substances are being kept such as in a car or house (the latter is often referred to as constructive possession), may be charged with possession. While federal and state drug laws can often be similar, they do differ. In many drug crime cases, prosecutors need to prove that an accused person did one or more of the following: - Knowingly and intentionally possessed an illegal controlled substance for personal use or for sale - Knowingly and intentionally possessed a controlled substance without a valid prescription for it for personal use or for sale


Refers to growing a plant that is a controlled substance such as marijuana, or one that can be used to make a controlled substance such as poppy flowers that are grown to be made into opium. Cultivating charges can also be made if someone simply has the seeds to grow marijuana or another plant, or spores to cultivate illegal mushrooms, etc.


Charges for distributing drugs may be made if a person is suspected of or caught selling, an illegal substance or product to make an illegal substance, as well as for delivering or otherwise providing a controlled substance illegally. Drug enforcement agencies often use under cover police officers to try to purchase illegal substances.


In many situations, it is illegal to possess paraphernalia such as pipes, syringes, scales, and sometimes even containers or baggies, etc., that are associated with illegal drug use, possession and/or distribution. While money is not paraphernalia, when law enforcement officers find out that a detained individual has large amounts of money on them, it often sparks suspicion of why the individual has possession of it. These suspicions may lead to further investigations.


Drug trafficking is a global illicit trade involving the cultivation, manufacture, distribution and/or sale of illegal drugs and substances. In the U.S. trafficking charges are similar to distribution charges. The difference between the two charges often rests on the amount of a controlled substance in question and whether or not it was illegally brought across state lines.

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