An important issue to understand is what is the difference between drug trafficking and drug dealing and how it can apply to someone accused. One of the main differences is that drug dealing is the distribution of drugs on a small scale, while drug trafficking is the distribution of drugs on a large scale. If someone is found dealing with a large number of drugs on them, he or she can be charged with trafficking instead of drug dealing. The police’s suspicion of how far up someone is in a drug organization can also determine how they are charged. Any drug conviction can deliver long and harsh punishments. We at Monroe & King can provide important support to inform and defend you in a case.
What to Expect in a Drug Trafficking Case
Understanding penalties for drug trafficking is generally one of the highest priorities for someone accused of drug trafficking. Drug trafficking convictions generally result in prison time and can result in sentences of 10 years or more. Some states have substantially harsher penalties for drug trafficking than others. Depending on the circumstances of the case, a life sentence is a possibility for a drug trafficking case.
Plea bargains can sometimes result in just probation, but usually, in connection with a plea, the charge of drug trafficking is changed to a less serious charge. If someone is sentenced to probation, he or she can be subject to random drug tests, monitoring by a probation officer, and not being able to leave the state without the approval of his or her probation officer. Probation sentences generally can last between one to three years.
If someone receives the charge of drug trafficking, in many cases, there is a mandatory minimum sentence. A person cannot be released on parole until the mandatory minimum sentence has been completed. For example, if someone is sentenced to ten years, and there is a five-year mandatory minimum, there would be absolutely no way to be paroled before five years.
More Details About Drug Trafficking Laws
Intent is an important element in determining whether someone will be charged with drug trafficking or lesser crimes. If someone has a car with a custom-built hidden compartment that is found with a kilogram of cocaine, the police will be more likely to charge the individual with trafficking because the intent to move large quantities of drugs seems apparent.
The amount and type of drug in a case can also be crucial in determining with what crime you will be charged. For example, it might take 25 pounds or more of marijuana for an individual to be charged with trafficking, however, with cocaine, it might only take 28 grams for an individual to be charged with trafficking. Certain drugs have been determined to be more harmful by courts, and being accused of having those drugs can lead to substantially harsher penalties.
If the drugs in the case lead to severe injury or death of anyone, a mandatory life sentence could be applied. Second offenses usually result in double the penalty of a first offense.
For first time offenders, there can be “safety valves,” where nonviolent first-time offenders are given much less harsh sentences.
Making and moving drugs can lead to worse and different charges. For example, if it is determined someone moved drugs across state lines, the person could be charged with federal drug trafficking charges instead of just state charges.
How Working with an Experienced Attorney Can Help
Drug trafficking crimes have some of the harshest penalties in any state. Speaking with a knowledgeable attorney as soon as possible and before being questioned by the police can be critical to a case. An experienced attorney can sort out the details of your case and inform of the applicable state and federal drug laws for your case.
Please don’t talk to the police or make any decisions about your case before speaking with us at Monroe & King. Call us now at (904) 474-3115 to learn more about how we can help with your drug trafficking case.