Drug trafficking charges tend to be automatic if authorities find you in possession of a large quantity of controlled substances. Those substances could be pharmaceuticals or other types of drugs like marijuana, heroin, cocaine, molly, hash, LSD, ecstasy or something else.
Perhaps your charges happened something like this: You were driving in your vehicle when police pulled you over in a routine traffic stop for speeding. Next thing you know, police decide to search your vehicle and they find several pounds of marijuana. This, in turn, leads to a search of your home, where authorities find a hundred pounds of marijuana. Such a large quantity of drugs will no doubt lead to a drug trafficking charge.
What is drug trafficking exactly?
Drug trafficking refers to the transportation, selling and/or importation of large amounts of controlled substances. The severity of trafficking punishments following conviction often depend on the type and quantity of drugs involved. In many cases, sentencing for a small-time drug trafficking conviction will be between three and five years in prison. However, if enough drugs are involved, a sentence could be extended to life.
The schedule of the drugs involved in your charges will play a big factor in determining the severity of the offense and the severity of your potential punishments. For example, if the drugs were “Schedule I,” which include cocaine or marijuana, the punishments will be more severe than “Schedule III” drugs, which include anabolic steroids.
The controversy around drug trafficking charges
Many lawmakers are of the opinion that the punishments related to drug trafficking convictions are too severe. This controversy stems from the fact that a nonviolent criminal could be sentenced to life for simply transporting drugs without hurting anyone — whereas a violent criminal could be given much less stringent punishments. Some lawmakers are trying to change these laws, but as it stands, those facing drug trafficking charges will also face the risk of spending many years behind bars if convicted.
Due to the severe penalties associated with drug trafficking, those accused of this crime will want to fully understand the law as it applies to these charges. They will also want to study the facts and evidence being brought against them in order to formulate a well-crafted and strategic criminal defense.