What are the Consequences of Methamphetamine Possession?

Staci A. Terry

Although the specific consequences for methamphetamine possession differ substantially between states and countries, many of the consequences are similarly serious. In some countries, possession of methamphetamine can be a felony offense, which might remain on your criminal record permanently. Criminal felony offenses can result in extensive terms of incarceration and high fines. In some areas, certain types of drug convictions can trigger a mandatory driver’s license suspension for a designated period. Other potential consequence of a conviction for methamphetamine possession or another illegal drug is the civil forfeiture of property that the perpetrator used in the commission of the crime.

Like heroin, methamphetamine can be "cooked" and then injected.
Like heroin, methamphetamine can be "cooked" and then injected.

Methamphetamine is a manufactured drug, so law enforcement officials often charge perpetrators with not only possession of methamphetamine but also with other crimes, such as possessing ingredients or equipment used to manufacture methamphetamine, manufacturing methamphetamine, and selling or distributing methamphetamine. Many jurisdictions also have criminalized the possession of certain amounts of otherwise legal substances, such as cold medicines containing pseudoephedrine, which can result in other criminal charges related to methamphetamine possession. Some jurisdictions monitor the purchase of these legal substances by moving them behind the counter at the local pharmacy and requiring pharmacists to regularly report all purchases to the appropriate law enforcement entity.

Long-term use of methamphetamine may cause the teeth to decay and fall out.
Long-term use of methamphetamine may cause the teeth to decay and fall out.

As the global war on drugs continues, the penalties for methamphetamine possession and any type of drug possession conviction continue to grow more severe. The highly addictive nature of methamphetamine is a contributing factor to the increase in the seriousness of criminal penalties for its possession, manufacture, and sale, as lawmakers struggle to rein in this type of drug abuse. In some jurisdictions, methamphetamine possession can result in sentences of twenty years or more. Crimes related to methamphetamine manufacturing are also on the rise, which may result in criminal charges, along with the rise in popularity of mobile methamphetamine labs located in cars or other vehicles that can travel across jurisdictions.

People who are convicted of methamphetamine possession may face incarceration.
People who are convicted of methamphetamine possession may face incarceration.

If someone is facing a first-time offense charge for possession of methamphetamine, some jurisdictions may allow a misdemeanor conviction or participation in a drug diversion program to avoid a criminal conviction altogether. This is an unlikely sentence in most jurisdictions, however, and normally only given to perpetrators with little or no past criminal history. The more likely scenario is that methamphetamine possession will result in jail time, fines, and a felony conviction. This is true both in the United States and in European countries, such as England.

In some places, pharmacists are required to report any purchase of methamphetamine.
In some places, pharmacists are required to report any purchase of methamphetamine.
Some states have strict limits on purchases of over-the-counter medications containing pseudoephedrine because they can be used to make methamphetamine.
Some states have strict limits on purchases of over-the-counter medications containing pseudoephedrine because they can be used to make methamphetamine.

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