What a drug trafficking lawyer thinks is important to know if you are facing criminal charges
Drug trafficking is a serious crime in Massachusetts, and on a federal level. If convicted, you can face very steep fines and many years in jail. Here are four pieces of information a top drug trafficking lawyer believes will help orient you to the charges you could be facing and the necessary course of action.
If you are in the Worcester, Massachusetts area, the law office of Murphy & Rudolf, LLP has a team of highly capable and determined criminal defense attorneys ready to help you. Call 508-762-1397 or contact us online today for a free consultation.
1. What is drug trafficking? Distribution vs Trafficking
Drug trafficking, or drug distribution, is defined as “selling, transporting or importing illegal drugs.” It is considered a federal crime and a felony, which means the penalties can be quite severe. Drug distribution or trafficking differs from drug possession. For example, if law enforcement finds a large quantity of drugs or cash at the time of your arrest, they may believe you had the intent to sell the found drugs and can then charge you with drug possession.
If that is the case, you or a loved one should find a drug trafficking lawyer immediately. It is important to have legal representation as soon as possible.
2. There are different laws specific to the trafficking of different controlled substances
Under the federal Controlled Substances Act, drugs and other substances are categorized into “schedules.” This means that the substance is governed by law. Each classification level contains multiple substances. Below, you can see exactly what each schedule signifies:
|Schedule I means the drug is highly addictive, has no accepted medical use, and is not safe even under medical supervision.
Schedule II means the drug is highly addictive, has medical uses, may lead to severe drug dependence.
Schedule III means the drug has a low potential for abuse, has accepted medical uses, and moderate risk of dependence.
Schedule IV and V both have low potential for drug abuse, have accepted medical uses, and have limited potential for dependence.
On a state level, however, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts classifies drugs differently than federally — Class A-D instead of Schedule I-V. Each is based on the State’s definitions on the substances’ level of danger. This difference subsequently impacts the charges and penalties in Massachusetts. For example, federally, marijuana is Schedule I, whereas, in Massachusetts, it is a Class D substance.
3. It’s about quantity, not state lines
Drug trafficking lawyers emphasize that drug distribution charges ultimately have a lot more to do with the quantity of drugs. A person can be charged with drug distribution regardless of whether or not they crossed state lines. It can, however, affect whether you are prosecuted federally or at the state level.
4. An experienced drug trafficking lawyer will often build the defense strategy around 3 possible defenses
There are 3 common, possible defenses your drug trafficking lawyer may use to build your case.
Personal use possession: Your drug possession lawyer will argue that the quantity found was not enough to prove intention to distribute or sell.
Entrapment: The alleged perpetrator sold and received money for the substances because of the pressure or context orchestrated by an undercover police officer.
Fourth Amendment violations: Law enforcement unlawfully searched the defendant. This indicates that the police officer overstepped search and seizure laws and therefore violated the defendant’s Fourth Amendment rights in order to seize evidence.