What is Drug Trafficking?
The most well-known type of drug trafficking is associated with illegal drug distribution and sales across the country on weekends and holidays. Frequently, the victim will contact a person they know who has a large amount of the substance they desire to purchase large quantities of the drugs. However, instead of contacting an actual drug distributor, they make arrangements to purchase the substance from a wholesale dealer, who then distributes the drugs among several buyers.
The drug trafficking attorney you hire will carefully and completely review all of the evidence presented against you. In many instances, the Prosecutor can use the defendant’s statements against them in court. Your criminal defense lawyer needs to present your side of the story unfettered by any emotional or personal views that may cloud their judgment. Additionally, your defense lawyer needs to be able to use any methods of persuasion within the confines of the law so that you do not become a common example of this particular offense. Drug trafficking is defined as the transportation, possession, or distribution of a controlled substance, including any such substances cultivated, manufactured, or sold under the age of eighteen. The maximum penalty for this offense is ten years in prison.
What Amount of Drugs is Considered Drug Trafficking?
According to the federal sentencing guidelines for drug trafficking, here is an example, what the government considers drug trafficking. If you are caught in possession of the following amounts of these drugs, you will receive trafficking charges:
- Possession of 1 or more grams of LSD
- Possession of 5 or more grams of crack cocaine
- Possession of 500 or more grams of powdered cocaine
- Possession of 100 or more grams of heroin
When the drug involved in the arrest falls under Schedule III, IV or V controlled substances; you may be charged with drug trafficking instead of aggravated drug trafficking. Generally speaking, drug trafficking is a fifth-degree felony that may be punished by a 6 to 12-month prison sentence. Additionally, there can potentially be a fine of up to $2,500. Law enforcement may elevate the same offense as aggravated drug trafficking, the drug trafficking charge to a more serious felony. A trafficking charge carries more strict penalties if the crime is alleged to have been committed near a school, juveniles, or when large quantities of a drug are being trafficked.
If you are found to have sold or delivered drugs to any person in any way, the government could subject you to jail time or even stiff penalties. While the charges may not reflect very serious offenses, the potential for long-term imprisonment is what makes the drug trafficking charges a very serious crime. For this reason, you need to contact a federal criminal defense attorney right away if you have been charged with this type of felony.
Drug Trafficking Defenses
Drug trafficking is a serious offense that requires a serious and thoughtful defense strategy crafted by experienced Indiana drug trafficking attorneys. You should have a highly individualized defense based on your specific case’s facts, evidence, and law. By mounting a vigorous defense of your rights, your drug crime defense attorney may be able to get your drug trafficking charge reduced to a lesser offense with lighter penalties or get it dismissed altogether.
Some often utilized strategies for defending against drug trafficking charges can include:
- Suppression of evidence that is gathered by police using illegal means such as warrantless searches, surveillance, or illegal wiretapping
- Suppression of evidence because the collection or storage of evidence was mishandled by law enforcement
- Suppression of evidence because law enforcement officers obtained the evidence by using drug-sniffing dogs
- Suppression of evidence that is obtained through an illegal traffic stop
- Police had no probable cause to search or make an arrest. In this instance, the case should be dismissed because law enforcement officials violated your constitutional rights.
- Miranda rights were not read.
- The substance was not an illegal drug.
Even if you were charged with drug trafficking, you do not have to plead guilty to avoid going to jail. If the government decides to try and convict you on a charge of this nature, they can try you in federal court. If found guilty, you may still be able to fight the charges against you, but the chances of doing so are not great. Your attorney will help you present a good defense for the crime you are charged with committing.
These include drug possession (like drug manufacturing or drug trafficking) and drug possession with intent to sell. It is also possible to be charged with these types of crimes if you are involved in the manufacturing or distributing controlled substances, including steroids. You should contact an experienced drug trafficking attorney immediately.
Drug Trafficking Penalties
Cocaine, Narcotics (heroin, etc.), or Methamphetamine:
Less than 1 gram: Level 5 felony
1 to 5 grams: Level 4 felony
5 to 10 grams: Level 3 felony
At least 10 grams: Level 2 felony
All other schedule I (35-48-2-4), II (35-48-2-6), or III (35-48-2-8) drugs (apart from marijuana and its derivatives, or synthetic drugs):
Less than 1 gram: Level 6 felony
1 to 5 grams: Level 5 felony
5 to 10 grams: Level 4 felony
10 to 28 grams: Level 3 felony
At least 28 grams: Level 2 felony
Marijuana, Hash Oil, Hashish, or Salvia, Pure or Adulterated (35-48-4-10):
Less than 30 grams marijuana or 5 grams hash oil/hashish/salvia: Class A misdemeanor
Less than 30 grams marijuana or 5 grams hash oil/hashish/salvia & a prior drug charge conviction; or 30 grams to 10 pounds of marijuana or 5 grams to 300 grams hash oil/hashish/salvia: Level 6 felony
30 grams to 10 pounds of marijuana or 5 grams to 300 grams hash oil/hashish/salvia & a prior drug charge conviction; or more than 10 pounds marijuana or more than 300 grams hash oil/hashish/salvia: Level 5 felony
Schedule IV (35-48-2-10) drugs:
Less than 1 gram: Class A misdemeanor
1 to 5 grams: Level 6 felony
5 to 10 grams: Level 5 felony
10 to 28 grams: Level 4 felony
At least 28 grams: Level 3 felony
Schedule V (35-48-2-12) drugs:
Less than 1 gram: Class B misdemeanor
1 to 5 grams: Class A misdemeanor
5 to 10 grams: Level 6 felony
10 to 28 grams: Level 5 felony
At least 28 grams: Level 4 felony
Additional Qualifying Element of the Offense
A person may be convicted of [drug dealing] only if there is evidence in addition to the weight of the drug that the person intended to manufacture, finance the manufacture of, deliver, or finance the delivery of the drug.
Class B misdemeanor: Up to 180 days in jail, up to $1,000 fine
Class A misdemeanor: Up to 1 yr. in jail, up to $5,000 fine
Level 6 felony: 6 mos. to 2 1/2 yrs. in prison
Level 5 felony: 1 to 6 yrs. in prison
Level 4 felony: 2 to 12 yrs. in prison
Level 3 felony: 3 to 16 yrs. in prison
Level 2 felony: 10 to 30 yrs. in prison
All felony sentences carry a maximum fine of $10,000.
Contact a Fort Wayne Drug Trafficking Attorney
Are you or someone you know charged with drug trafficking, or are you being investigated for drug trafficking charges in Fort Wayne, don’t hesitate to contact our experienced drug crimes defense lawyers. Together we can discover what evidence state and federal law enforcement has against you and begin preparing the strongest defense possible. At H&T Legal, our attorneys have successfully represented clients on several criminal offenses ranging from minor misdemeanors to first-degree felonies and as an expungement attorney in Indiana. Our extensive previous experience will enable us to help you better.