Drug trafficking charges are serious criminal charges that can carry harsh potential penalties and consequences for those accused of them. Drug trafficking and drug distribution charges are felony charges and felony charges are generally the most serious criminal charges an accused individual can face. By definition, felony charges carry potentially stiffer penalties including a year or longer in prison, steep fines and other penalties and consequences.
Drug trafficking charges carry mandatory minimum sentences and significant potential financial penalties including fines up to $100,000 and asset forfeiture. Felony drug charges apply to the possession of any amount of controlled substances including cocaine, heroin, methamphetamine or ecstasy; unlawfully obtained prescription drugs such as OxyContin, Percocet or Vicodin; or an ounce of marijuana. If the drug possession is of a certain amount or the accused individual is alleged to have smaller amounts of several drugs, possession with the intent to distribute, a more serious charge than drug possession, may be charged.
The length of a prison sentence for drug trafficking charges can be impacted by any prior convictions the accused individual may have or if there are any gun-related charges which could increase the possible penalties the accused individual is facing to life in prison. Because of the harsh nature of drug trafficking penalties, it can be necessary to question police conduct and behavior related to the arrest to ensure it did not violate any of the accused individual’s rights.
If police failed to follow the required procedures, got the facts wrong or witness statements are erroneous, it may serve as the basis for a criminal defense challenge to the charges the accused individual is facing. It is important to understand that while criminal defense rights are consistent, how they apply to various circumstances differs by situation so it is essential for accused individuals to know how to protect and assert their rights in their case to potentially reduce or eliminate the serious charges and penalties they are facing.