Drug Violations Law

What Is Drug Trafficking?

Drug trafficking is the illegal sale, manufacture, transportation, or distribution of controlled substances. The amount of drugs trafficked and the type of drugs involved can determine the criminal charges and penalties. You could face serious prison time if you are accused of selling, manufacturing, transporting, or distributing illegal drugs.

Drug crimes are different in every state. To find out about your legal options after a drug trafficking arrest, talk to a criminal defense lawyer in your area.

Drug Trafficking Laws

Possession of a small amount of illegal drugs may be considered simple possession for personal use. If you have larger quantities of drugs, you could be charged with possession with intent to distribute. Selling, distributing, transporting, or manufacturing large quantities of drugs is also known as drug trafficking.

There are state and federal laws against drug trafficking. If you are arrested by local law enforcement, you may be facing state drug trafficking laws. If trafficking crossed state lines or international borders, or there were large amounts of drugs involved, the defendant may be charged under federal drug trafficking laws.

State Drug Trafficking Laws

The laws and penalties for drug trafficking depend on the state where the crime took place. Some state laws have decriminalized the personal possession and use of some drugs, including cannabis. Other states treat any drug crime very seriously, including felony charges for the cultivation or trafficking of marijuana. Simple drug possession is generally a misdemeanor, but most drug trafficking offenses are felonies.

Federal Drug Trafficking Laws

Larger drug trafficking operations can involve investigations by the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA). If you were arrested for drug trafficking across state lines or arrested at the border or in an airport, it might be considered a federal crime.

Under federal law, it is unlawful to knowingly or intentionally manufacture, distribute or dispense, or possess with intent to manufacture, distribute, or dispense a controlled substance.

What Are Controlled Substances?

The use and distribution of controlled substances are controlled by law. These substances generally have a potential for abuse, harm, or addiction. Some controlled substances, such as LSD and heroin, are illegal narcotic drugs. Other controlled substances include prescription drugs that can only be possessed with a valid prescription.

Controlled substances are generally separated into different schedules based on their medical uses and potential for abuse. There are five drug schedules, with Schedule V detailing those drugs with the least potential for addiction, dependence, and abuse, and Schedule I drugs being considered the most dangerous.

Under federal law, substances like heroin, LSD, marijuana, and ecstasy are Schedule I drugs. Schedule II contains crack cocaine, methamphetamine, oxycodone, fentanyl, and other opioids.

Penalties for a Drug Trafficking Charge

The federal penalties for drug trafficking cases vary depending on the type and quantity of drugs. Sentencing can also be aggravated if firearms are involved, it involved importing controlled substance across state grounds, occurred on federal property, or selling drugs to children or in a school zone.

For example, the prison sentence can be 10 years to life if convicted of trafficking 1 kilogram of heroin, 5 kilograms of cocaine, or 1,000 kilograms of marijuana. Alternatively, trafficking less than 50 kilograms of marijuana is punishable by no more than 5 years in prison.

If any person commits such a violation after a prior conviction for a felony drug offense, they can be sentenced to a term of imprisonment which may not be less than 20 years and not more than life.

What To Do if You Are Facing Drug Trafficking Charges

If you are facing drug trafficking charges, finding an experienced criminal defense attorney should be your first priority. Drug charges (both trafficking and simple drug possession) are common, but the consequences of a drug-related conviction on your criminal record can be devastating.

A drug trafficking conviction can make getting a job, finding housing, or getting public benefits, or higher education scholarships, and licenses for certain job fields more challenging. Find out your legal defense options to keep a drug charge off your criminal record.

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