Drug Trafficking Lawyers | Livingston Office
112 Marshall St., PO Box 907, Livingston, AL 35470-0907
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Drug trafficking, from a legal perspective, refers to the unlawful sale or even movement of drugs (as determined by both state and federal statutes). Per the drug scheduling system set out by the United States government, almost all recreational drugs — and some prescription drugs with federally defined medicinal properties — are covered under the offense of drug trafficking.
Drug trafficking is differentiated from simple possession both in terms of the act itself — trafficking involving movement and sale, rather than purchase (or cultivation, in some states, regarding marijuana) — as well as the scale and severity of the offense.
Smuggling is a broader category of offense in which a variety of goods can be transported unlawfully, from general merchandise such as food or clothing to more controversial products such as firearms.
Drug trafficking can be considered a form of smuggling as both the transport and sale of the drugs in question are conducted away from the authorities.
In short, all drug trafficking involves an element of smuggling, while not all smuggling operations concern themselves with drug trafficking.
Penalties for drug trafficking can be quite severe. For example, if you are found guilty of trafficking more than 1 kilogram of heroin, 5 kilograms of cocaine, 10 grams of LSD, 1,000 kilograms of marijuana or 50 grams of methamphetamine, you could face the stiffest sentencing under federal guidelines and could end up serving between 10 years to life behind bars. The minimum sentence for a violation of this statute, in federal court, is enhanced to 20 years if an individual dies or suffers serious bodily injury as a result of the use of said drugs. Penalties are not quite as strict for lesser amounts.
State laws also show little lenience toward those found guilty of drug trafficking offenses. Those found guilty of trafficking marijuana in Nevada, if the sum weight of the cannabis exceeds 5,000 pounds or 100 pounds of concentrate, such as oil or resin could lead to 15 years or life imprisonment in addition to fines of up to $200,000. To provide an example of a less substantial weight, some state laws demand that offenders trafficking over 25 pounds or 300 cannabis plants of marijuana be sentenced to a minimum of three years imprisonment. A fine of $25,000 is also attached to this sentence.
Drug trafficking charges can result in between three to six years incarceration for those found guilty of lower-level felony charges, but those convicted can spend life behind bars for weightier transactions or deals that result in injury or death.
It is possible to defeat drug trafficking charges in certain circumstances. If you’re facing charges related to drug trafficking, retaining experienced legal counsel should be a top priority. Not only will attorney-client privilege allow you to strategize with your lawyer — determining whether to take your case to trial or to attempt to negotiate a plea bargain — but having an experienced legal expert on the case can also improve your negotiating position.
Several common defenses can be deployed by a skilled criminal defense lawyer familiar with standing precedent and existing case law pertaining to drug trafficking charges in your state. A lack of evidence enough to secure a conviction on the part of the prosecution, allegations of entrapment or faulty evidence gathering and other material facts can be used to strengthen your defense.
It is imperative that you hire a criminal defense lawyer experienced defending drug trafficking defendants. He or she knows the defenses and errors investigators sometimes make that can help form your defense. You deserve aggressive representation when faced with such a serious charge.
It is in your best interest to get legal help early on in addressing your situation. There are times when hiring a lawyer quickly is critical to your case, such as if you are charged with a crime. It may also be in your best interest to have a lawyer review the fine print before signing legal documents. A lawyer can also help you get the compensation you deserve if you’ve suffered a serious injury. For issues where money or property is at stake, having a lawyer guide you through the complexities of the legal system can save you time, hassle, and possibly a lot of grief in the long run.
The more experienced a lawyer is in legal practice, the more likely he/she will be able to bring about a successful resolution to your issue. Since experience matters, lawyers who’ve been practicing law for many years (with a successful track record) tend to be in high demand. You should look for information about a lawyer’s experience and ask questions during the initial meeting. It’s a very good idea to ask the lawyer how many years he/she has been practicing law and the expected outcome of your case.
Pro se – This Latin term refers to representing yourself in court instead of hiring professional legal counsel. Pro se representation can occur in either criminal or civil cases.
Statute – Refers to a law created by a legislative body. For example, the laws enacted by Congress are statutes.
Subject matter jurisdiction – Requirement that a particular court have authority to hear the claim based on the specific type of issue brought to the court. For example, the U.S. Bankruptcy Court only has subject matter jurisdiction over bankruptcy filings, therefore it does not have the authority to render binding judgment over other types of cases, such as divorce.