All states regulate and control the sale of controlled dangerous substances (CDS), though each differs in its exact definition of CDS and the penalties for their sale. Alabama considers not only well-known drugs like marijuana, heroin, and cocaine to be controlled substances, but also the compounds used to manufacture them.
Alabama divides its CDS into five “schedules” based on factors such as their potential for abuse and dependence, and whether they are approved for legitimate medical use:
This article concerns the unlawful sale or distribution of CDS. Separate punishments apply to possession of CDS for personal use or for the unlawful manufacture of controlled substances.
For information about possession of controlled substances for personal use, see Possession of a Controlled Substance in Alabama.
Defendants who are charged with the sale or distribution of any amount of CDS face the possibility of a Class A felony conviction. Class A felonies are punishable by ten to 99 years in prison and a fine up to $60,000. There are no misdemeanor options for possession of CDS for sale or distribution.
Harsher penalties face defendants who are over the age of 18 and sell, furnish, or give to a person under the age of eighteen any CDS listed in Schedules I through V. These defendants cannot receive a suspended sentence, nor can they be granted probation. (Alabama Code Section 13A-12-211, 215.)
Alabama imposes additional penalties for the unlawful sale or distribution of CDS when the sale occurred:
Alabama imposes increasingly harsh penalties on individuals with any prior felony convictions who commit subsequent Class A felonies.
One prior felony conviction. A person convicted of a Class A felony sale or distribution of CDS can be sentenced to life in prison or for a term of 15 to 99 years.
Two prior felony convictions. Someone convicted of a Class A felony for the sale or distribution of CDS will be sentenced to life in prison, or for a term not less than 99 years.
Three prior felony convictions. Sentencing depends on whether the priors include a Class A conviction:
Possession for sale or distribution of CDS carries harsher penalties that simple possession of CDS. Past convictions, even misdemeanors, can result in extended jail times and heavy fines. It is important that you seek the advise of an attorney who is experienced in handling CDS cases. A good attorney will review the facts of your case, advise you of your options, and help you determine the best way to proceed.