Drug trafficking, or drug distribution, is a serious and scary charge for you, your family, and your friends. It can mean many years in prison and completely change your life in ways you might never have imagined. It is for these reasons and many others, that you should know what you are up against. Today, I will focus on giving a general explanation of federal drug trafficking. At Puglisi Law, we understand the intricacies of federal drug trafficking charges and want to help you see the most positive outcome possible.
What is drug trafficking?
Drug trafficking is a federal crime that makes it illegal to transport, sell, and import unlawful controlled substances. Such unlawful substances include cocaine, heroin, methamphetamines, and marijuana, among others. It also applies to the selling or transportation of prescription drugs, which have seen a steady rise in recent years with what is commonly referred to as “Pill Mill” Clinics.
Drug trafficking laws are similar to drug possession laws, which make it illegal to wilfully possess unlawful controlled substances. Although drug trafficking is a felony that carries much more serious penalties than drug possession, it’s important to note that someone who is charged with possession could also end up being charged with trafficking and distribution. This can occur if the prosecution intends to prove that you had ultimately planned, or intended, to distribute the drugs you were caught possessing.
What makes you guilty?
In order to be found guilty of drug trafficking, it must be proven that:
- The defendant knowingly possessed an illegal controlled substance and
- The defendant actually did sell, transport, or import such drugs, or that they intended to sell or deliver the drugs.
These requirements mean that you cannot be found guilty of drug distribution if you did not know that you were in possession of the illegal controlled substances or if you mistakenly believed that what you possessed was a legal substance. But, remember that you could be held responsible for simply agreeing to participate in a drug trafficking scheme under conspiracy laws, which I will go into further detail at another time.
What are the penalties?
Drug trafficking penalties are harsh, but can vary widely based on several factors. From the amount in possession to the kind of drugs trafficked, sentences vary drastically from charge to charge. The types of drugs trafficked are scaled, with different kinds of drugs matched with different amounts providing a basic guideline for how the court may determine your sentence. As with other federal crimes, your sentence also varies depending on how many times you have been charged with the crime. Mandatory minimums can also greatly affect a person’s sentence and is dependent upon the type of drug and quantity. For example, federal law dictates that a person carrying 500 grams up to 5 kilograms of cocaine is subject to a mandatory minimum sentence of 5 years in prison. Quantities greater than 5 kilograms of cocaine carry a 10 year mandatory minimum sentence.
Consult with an experienced criminal defense attorney today.
There are many factors that can affect an individual’s guidelines or whether a mandatory minimum sentence can be waived. When facing a federal drug trafficking offense, it is essential to make sure that you have obtained a trusted and experienced criminal defense attorney to fight for your rights. Sabrina Puglisi makes it her business to advocate aggressively on behalf of those who have been charged with any type of federal or state criminal drug trafficking offense. If you or someone you love has been charged or convicted of drug trafficking, please contact our Miami office at (305) 403-8063 or visit us at https://www.puglisilaw.com today.