Drug trafficking charges span a wide spectrum. In fact, prosecutors can pursue charges at the federal or state level. Generally, federal convictions will result in harsher sentences, while state convictions will not be as severe. Either way, a drug crime is a serious charge, and it will have a detrimental effect on your record and future.
What Are Drug Crimes?
It is illegal to possess, distribute, or traffic illegal substances. These include drugs like marijuana, methamphetamines, LSD, cocaine, and heroin. They can also include legal prescription drugs. Drug crime levels range from minor to severe and include:
- Simple possession: possessing a controlled substance without a prescription. This is usually a misdemeanor.
- Dealing: selling illegal drugs or carrying a large amount of drugs with the intent to sell.
- Drug trafficking: making, distributing, or possessing drugs with intent to sell. This is usually different from dealing because it involves higher quantities, and it may implicate more than one person.
- Manufacturing: making illegal drugs with the intent to sell. This act usually involves a large amount of drugs.
- Drug conspiracy: attempting or promoting the sale, manufacture, or importation of drugs.
A drug trafficking charge will often have a variety of other charges attached to it, and sentencing will depend on the type and amount of drugs involved. For example, if officers caught you with fewer than 50 grams of marijuana, you could face up to five years in prison. If officers seized methamphetamine in excess of 50 grams, you may get 10 years to life in prison.
Common Types of Drug Trafficking Charges and Sentences
Generally, a first drug trafficking conviction involving cocaine, heroin, LSD, methamphetamines, or other schedule I or II drugs is punishable with five to 40 years in prison. Sentencing varies based on the volume of confiscated drugs. Minimum sentencing calls for 10 years to life. If violence, serious injury, or death occurred because of the crime, you could face millions of dollars in fines and life in prison.
Drug Trafficking Defenses
Drug trafficking defenses vary based on the type and amount of drugs involved. Law enforcement may have illegally conducted the search and seizure, for instance. If this is the case, your attorney may try to reduce the charges, which will result in less severe sentencing.
Work with an experienced defense attorney who understands the complexities of drug crime laws. Contact J. Patrick Quillian of the Oklahoma City Law Group for seasoned and trusted drug crime defense. Call us to schedule a confidential strategic consultation.