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When does the law consider drug sharing to be distribution?

On Behalf of | Jan 29, 2024 | Criminal Defense

Among some segments of society, the sharing of drugs is a common occurrence. To those who use them regularly, smoking a prescription joint or taking a doctor-issued medication with a friend feels like an insignificant act.

In the eyes of the law, however, such a gesture could amount to distribution. Whether such actions qualify as this type of crime depends on the circumstances.

What is distribution?

Legally speaking, the distribution of drugs goes beyond the act of selling. Dividing up substances with others, even without financial gain as a motive, can fall under the definition. What matters is whether there is the intentional transfer of a controlled substance from one person to another.

Is it a gift or distribution?

The purpose behind the sharing plays a defining role in determining whether the activity constitutes distribution. While giving someone a drug as a one-time gift may not always lead to a distribution charge, frequently providing people with illegal substances makes this more likely.

Social sharing, where individuals pass an intoxicant among themselves, might not fall under the classification of distribution by law enforcement. However, having packaging materials, stacks of bills or portable scales nearby increases the odds of an arrest for distribution.

What are the punishments for distribution?

Sharing drugs can have unintended repercussions for both the giver and the recipient. In Oklahoma, convictions for distribution have a mandatory minimum of two years in prison. If the substance is a Schedule I or Schedule II drug, that time increases to five years.

Sharing narcotics can result in heavy penalties, even when it takes place within a casual context. Users should note the legal nuances and make informed decisions to avoid life-altering consequences.