Illegal narcotics are substances that are prohibited by law in most countries. They are addictive, unstable and can cause brain damage, heart problems and depression.
In the United States of America, everyone who uses illegal narcotics is punished with fines or imprisonment for a period not exceeding one year or both. Meanwhile in the United Kingdom anyone who possesses illegal narcotics (an illicit drug) is subject to a jail term of up to five years and/or an unlimited fine but if they deal it then they are subject to life imprisonment and/or an unlimited fine. This post will discuss everything you need to know about the penalties for illegal narcotics.
What are penalties for illegal narcotics?
To the best of my knowledge, there are four main types of penalties for using or dealing illegal narcotics, and I will discuss each one separately.
Fines can be imposed by a judge, who can order you to pay a fine as part of a criminal sentence. In the UK, fines are normally specified as a minimum and maximum amount but they will depend on your income. For example, one of the most common fines is £50 but if you earn more than £100k, you’re likely to receive at least twice that amount.
Fines are fixed amounts of money which have to be paid. There’s no way to reduce the amount of money, even if you provide evidence of your circumstances. You can’t get the fine reduced even if it’s unfair or over what you could afford to pay.
You might receive a probation order if you use illegal narcotics. The judge thinks it would be inappropriate to send you to prison but also thinks that it would be inappropriate for you not to complete a drug rehabilitation programme. A ‘probation order’ means that for a period not exceeding 12 months, the judge will decide on your sentence, including how much time you’ll remain on probation and how long your sentence will run for.
Suppose you are required to comply with conditions, such as attending drug counselling or alcohol rehabilitation. In that case, your probation period may be extended and you may have to turn up for testing. If you infringe the terms of your probation order, the judge can impose a prison sentence.
You might receive a detention order if you use illegal narcotics and the judge thinks that it would be inappropriate to send you to prison but also thinks that it would be inappropriate for you not to complete a drug rehabilitation programme. A ‘detention order’ means that for a period not exceeding 12 months, the judge will decide on your sentence, but there’s no time limit on how long your sentence will run for.
You will be detained in prison if you commit a serious criminal offence. You will also be detained if you fail to comply with the conditions of your detention order and the judge believes that it would be appropriate to impose a prison sentence.
You might receive an extended sentence if, when you are sentenced, the judge believes that it would be inappropriate not to send you to prison. An ‘extended sentence’ means that for a period not exceeding 12 months, the judge will decide on your sentence but there’s no time limit on how long your sentence will run for.
If you are sent to prison, then after serving your term, you may have to remain under supervision for a certain period.