While many people believe that “drug trafficking” and “drug dealing” are interchangeable, the law casts a broader net. And the fact that state drug trafficking policy varies considerably, both states have rules that make drug trafficking illegal.
If you manufacture, transport, market, or administer illicit drugs, you will be charged with drug trafficking.
When you are caught with a certain amount of some illicit drug, you will be charged with drug trafficking. It is valid even though you did not manufacture, purchase, distribute, or transport the drugs. If you have drugs in your hands and the volume reaches the legally defined distribution amount, you could be charged with drug trafficking.
- Intention and ownership. To convict you of drug dealing, the prosecution must establish that you possessed the requisite quantity of illicit substances and that your possession was deliberate. It means that you cannot be accused of drug use, for example, borrowing a car and then finding a kilogram of cocaine concealed in the dashboard. Although deliberately owning drugs suffices to be guilty of drug dealing, the court does not have to determine the state of mind when it is in possession. If the facts indicate that you possessed the drugs personally or exercised authority over their whereabouts, you might be found guilty of drug trafficking.
- Quantity. Drug distribution rules are based on the number of narcotics in your hands, but the precise amount varies according to the type of drug. For example, drug trafficking may be defined as possessing more than 25 pounds of marijuana or 300 pounds of marijuana plants, depending on the state’s laws. Conversely, the same state may define drug trafficking as the possession of more than 28 grams of cocaine. You will be accused of drug trafficking if you possess a quantity of drugs that exceeds the trafficking cap.
- The process of selling, manufacturing, or transporting. Drug distribution cases are brought regardless of whether the narcotics were manufactured, marketed, attempted to be distributed, or otherwise transported. Again, the critical question in a cocaine dealing case is whether you have the illicit drug in your hands and whether the quantity exceeded the maximum limit.
- Federal drug trafficking. Drug trafficking offenses are also prosecuted by the federal government, including the fact that each jurisdiction has its anti-drug trafficking laws.
Federal drug distribution charges can be introduced if the trafficking involves crossing state borders or running a business in more than one state.
Penalties for Drug Trafficking
Drug dealing offenses are very dangerous, and those accused of these offenses could face years or decades in jail. Though the level of sentences for drug trafficking convictions varies significantly by jurisdiction, both states enact severe penalties for drug trafficking.
- Prison: Even for first-time criminals, drug dealing arrests usually result in jail terms lasting more than a year. A trafficking prosecution will quickly result in a jail term of ten years or longer, but some jurisdictions have far harsher sentences than others. For cocaine dealing convictions, life sentences are also likely.
- Fines: The penalties for a cocaine dealing prosecution are also severe. Convictions for state trafficking will result in penalties ranging from $25,000 to $100,000 or more. Convictions for federal opioid dealing will total $10 million.
- Mandatory sentences. Mandatory minimum penalties are often imposed under drug distribution laws. This means that if an inmate is convicted, they must serve a specified amount of imprisonment and is not eligible for parole until that time limit has passed. For example, if you are sentenced to ten years in jail for drug dealing and the state has a three-year mandatory minimum, you will not be eligible for parole until you have served at least three years in prison.
Contact David Freidberg for Legal Help
Drug trafficking offenses are among the most serious criminal offenses that can be brought against you in any jurisdiction. Since opioid offenses also include harsh fines and prison terms, a conviction will forever change the course of your life. David Freidberg represents the interests of Chicago residents who have been charged with serious drug crimes in the Chicago area. Call today at (312) 560-7100 to schedule an appointment, and we can begin preparing your defense immediately. We will counsel you on the prospect of plea bargaining or on how to refute the state’s case. You can never make any assumptions about your case or talk with the police unless you have spoken with us.