2009 FEDERAL SENTENCING GUIDELINES MANUAL
CHAPTER 2 - PART D - OFFENSES INVOLVING DRUGS AND NARCO-TERRORISM
2. UNLAWFUL POSSESSION
§2D2.1. Unlawful Possession; Attempt or Conspiracy
(a) Base Offense Level:
(1) 8, if the substance is heroin or any Schedule I or II opiate, an analogue of these, or cocaine base; or
(2) 6, if the substance is cocaine, flunitrazepam, LSD, or PCP; or
(3) 4, if the substance is any other controlled substance or a list I chemical.
(b) Cross References
(1) If the defendant is convicted of possession of more than 5 grams of a mixture or substance containing cocaine base, apply §2D1.1 (Unlawful Manufacturing, Importing, Exporting, or Trafficking) as if the defendant had been convicted of possession of that mixture or substance with intent to distribute.
(2) If the offense involved possession of a controlled substance in a prison, correctional facility, or detention facility, apply §2P1.2 (Providing or Possessing Contraband in Prison).
Statutory Provision: 21 U.S.C. § 844(a). For additional statutory provision(s), see Appendix A (Statutory Index).
1. The typical case addressed by this guideline involves possession of a controlled substance by the defendant for the defendant’s own consumption. Where the circumstances establish intended consumption by a person other than the defendant, an upward departure may be warranted.
Background: Mandatory (statutory) minimum penalties for several categories of cases, ranging from fifteen days’ to five years’ imprisonment, are set forth in 21 U.S.C. § 844(a). When a mandatory minimum penalty exceeds the guideline range, the mandatory minimum becomes the guideline sentence. See §5G1.1(b). Note, however, that 18 U.S.C. § 3553(f) provides an exception to the applicability of mandatory minimum sentences in certain cases. See §5C1.2 (Limitation on Applicability of Statutory Minimum Sentences in Certain Cases).
Section 2D2.1(b)(1) provides a cross reference to §2D1.1 for possession of more than five grams of a mixture or substance containing cocaine base, an offense subject to an enhanced penalty under Section 6371 of the Anti-Drug Abuse Act of 1988. Other cases for which enhanced penalties are provided under Section 6371 of the Anti-Drug Abuse Act of 1988 (e.g., for a person with one prior conviction, possession of more than three grams of a mixture or substance containing cocaine base; for a person with two or more prior convictions, possession of more than one gram of a mixture or substance containing cocaine base) are to be sentenced in accordance with §5G1.1(b).
Historical Note: Effective November 1, 1987. Amended effective January 15, 1988 (see Appendix C, amendment 24); November 1, 1989 (see Appendix C, amendment 304); November 1, 1990 (see Appendix C, amendment 321); November 1, 1992 (see Appendix C, amendment 447); September 23, 1994 (see Appendix C, amendment 509); November 1, 1995 (see Appendix C, amendment 514); November 1, 1997 (see Appendix C, amendments 556 and 558).