Drug Trafficking & Distribution Laws, Charges & Statute of Limitations

Views: 29649

Federal drug trafficking/distribution laws provide stiff penalties for the selling, transportation and illegal importation of illegal drugs,such as marijuana, cocaine, heroin, methamphetamine and other drugs.

Drug trafficking and distribution is a felony, and is much more serious than simple drug possession. If you are found possessing drugs, you can be charged with trafficking if law enforcement thinks that you intended to sell them. If you are found with a high quantity of drugs or cash when you are arrested, you may face drug distribution charges.

Drug distribution and trafficking also applies to illegally distributing prescription drugs, such as sleeping pills and painkillers. This type of illegal distribution often involves various types of hydrocodone drugs and opiates.

A conviction on a federal drug trafficking charge will have a very serious impact upon your life. You can be denied employment, school loans, scholarships and professional licenses, such as a commercial driver’s license. People who are charged with drug trafficking can be subject to asset forfeiture, in addition to serious punishments including prison time and fines.

The first order of business when hit with a drug trafficking charge is to get out of jail while the federal case is pending. In many cases, the bond set for this type of case is very high. It can be challenging for friends and family to get you out of jail on bond. Some attorneys may be able to negotiate a lower bond amount.

Illegal Drugs Versus Legal Drugs

Whether a drug is legal or not depends on how you use it and what it is being used for. For instance, amphetamines are used to treat ADD, and barbiturates are often used to treat anxiety. But if these drugs are used in an unprescribed and unsupervised manner, there can be a danger to people and to society in general. That is why local, state and federal authorities regulate these drugs, and punish people who engage in trafficking and distribution of various illegal drugs.

Drug Trafficking and Controlled Substances

States and the federal government often define certain drugs as controlled. This means that the use and distribution of them is governed by state and federal law. Controlled substances are classified under various levels or schedules according to state and federal statutes. For example, marijuana is defined as a Schedule I controlled substance, cocaine is under Schedule II, and anabolic steroids are under Schedule III, as defined in the Controlled Substances Act.

By far, the most frequent illegal drug seized today is methamphetamine:

Federal Laws for Distribution and Trafficking

There has long been a federal strategy to fight the abuse and distribution of many controlled substances. Each state of course also has its own laws. One of the major differences between state and federal laws on drug convictions is that most federal charges are for trafficking and distribution, while most state arrests are for possession.

Federal charges tend to have more severe punishments than state charges as well. Most of the prison sentences and fines are stiffer.

The exact consequences for being convicted for distribution and trafficking depends upon several factors:

  • Type and amount of the controlled substances in the case
  • Where you were arrested – if you were bringing drugs into the US or distributing them near a school, penalties are harsher
  • Your criminal history

Drug Trafficking and Distribution Penalties

Drug trafficking and distribution charges at the federal level are serious crimes. Possible penalties at the federal level include:

  • Prison: Drug trafficking convictions for even first time offenders will get a prison sentence of over a year. Some convictions for trafficking can get a sentence of over ten years. Life sentences are possible for repeat offenders caught with large amounts of illegal drugs.
  • Fines: Some federal drug trafficking convictions can carry fines as high as $10 million
  • Probation: Probation is possible in some trafficking and distribution cases, but usually only in a plea bargain where you agree to plead guilty on a lesser crime. Probation can last from 12-36 months on both the state and federal levels. If you do get probation, you must meet precise requirements that are established by the court. For example, you may have to be monitored by a probation officer. Or, you will have to submit to random drug tests and not leave the state unless you have your probation officer’s permission.
  • Mandatory minimum sentences: Drug trafficking convictions often carry tough minimum sentences. This means that the judge does not have discretion on the sentence, and you must serve a certain period of time. If you are sentenced by the feds to 10 years in prison for drug trafficking and there is a three year mandatory minimum, you must serve at least three years – no exceptions.

Trafficking in Schedule I and II drugs, which include cocaine, methamphetamine, heroin, LSD and PCP, will get you a mandatory minimum sentence. For instance, if you are arrested in possession of 500 grams to five kg of cocaine, you can expect at least five years in prison. But if you are caught with more than five kg of cocaine, you will get at least 10 years, and you could could get life in prison.

Your sentence can be increased based upon your criminal history, or for other factors. A life term in prison is possible for people who are repeat offenders with large quantities of drugs.

Drug Trafficking Statistics

Getting people convicted for drug trafficking in the United States is big business. Consider these statistics:

  • The DEA arrests more than 30,000 people annually on drug trafficking charges.
  • Statistics show that 32% of inmates were under the influence of drugs or had possession of them when they were arrested.
  • More than 4400 DEA agents work on a full time basis in the US today.
  • 49,800 kg of cocaine, 598 kg of heroin and 661,000 kg of marijuana were seized by DEA last year.

Drug Trafficking Offender and Punishment Characteristics

The United States Sentencing Commission (USSC) reports the following information about drug trafficking offenders and their punishments, as of 2016:

  • In 2016, the vast majority of drug trafficking offenders were male – more than 84%.
  • 50% of the offenders were Hispanic, 23.6% were black, 22.8% were white and 2.9% were other races. The rates did vary by drug type, however.
  • The average age of drug trafficking offenders in 2016 was 36.
  • 70% of the drug trafficking offenders were US citizens, but this rate did vary upon the type of drug.
  • 50% of convicted drug traffickers had no previous criminal history.
  • Drug trafficking sentences were enhanced in some cases because 18% of offenders were in possession of a weapon; and 7.6% of offenders had a supervisory or leadership role in the drug offense.
  • Drug trafficking sentences were decreased for some because 21% of offenders were minors or had minimal participation in the crime; and 34% of offenders met safety valve criteria in sentencing guidelines.

In terms of punishment of drug traffickers in 2016:

  • 7% were sentenced to federal prison.
  • ¾ of the drug traffickers were given a sentence within the USSC guideline range, or below the range at the request of the government. Also, 23% of drug traffickers received a below range sentence that was non-government sponsored. The last 1.4% were sentenced higher than the guideline range.
  • The average prison sentence for all drug trafficking offenders in 2016 was 66 months.
  • 5% of all offenders were convicted of an offense that has a mandatory minimum penalty. But less than 50% of the offenders were subject to the penalty when sentenced.
  • 21% of those convicted offered the US government ‘substantial assistance’ in the criminal investigation and/or the prosecution of other drug offenders.
  • Six types of drugs accounted for 96.3% of all drug trafficking offenses in 2016: powder cocaine, crack cocaine, methamphetamine, marijuana, heroin and oxycodone

Drug Trafficking Defenses

Potential defenses to federal drug trafficking charges will depend upon the specific details of the case. That said, a common defense for federal drug trafficking charges is illegal search and seizure. If the authorities cannot show probable cause for searching you or your vehicle, then search was conducted illegally. The police must demonstrate that probable cause was established to do the search. Those who believe that they were searched illegally could have a strong possible defense. After all, if you were pulled over by the police for no obvious reason defined under federal law, any evidence they collect is inadmissible. A vital part of this defense is the motion to suppress evidence.

Motion to Suppress Evidence

A key weapon in a defense attorney’s arsenal to defend against drug trafficking charges is the motion to suppress evidence. Many attorneys do not use this tool often enough. The motion to suppress requests that the judge consider if the search and seizure of the drugs was done legally.

The experienced attorney will ask you how the police contacted you, and whether you think they had a legal reason to do so. It is also important to make the police demonstrate the chain of custody of the drugs seized. How were the drugs tested, and are the police able to prove that the drugs are what they claim? How were they weighed and was that weight accurate?

If the attorney wins the motion to suppress, the case is thrown out. But if the defense is not victorious, there are other potential defenses to drug trafficking charges:

Wrong Place At the Wrong Time

You and your attorney can argue that you were simply in the wrong place when illegal activity occurred. You will need to prove that the drugs that are in the possession of law enforcement were not yours and that you had nothing to do with them.

Your attorney may be able to show that the drugs the police have were not yours. This defense can be a strong one, especially if you do not have a prior record.

No Warrant

Related to illegal search and seizure, if the police did not obtain a warrant before doing a search, it is possible that the evidence of potential drug trafficking would not be admissible in court.

No Intent

If you can prove that there was no intent on your part to traffic in drugs, the case could be dropped. For example, if you are driving a vehicle that contains several pounds of cocaine in the trunk, you would not be able to be charged with a crime, if you can prove that you had no knowledge of the drugs. If it were a rental car, for example, it is possible that another party may have used the vehicle to traffic in drugs.

Unaware

Related to no intent, if you can show in court that you were completely unaware of any type of drug trafficking activity, you may have the charges dismissed.

What To Remember When Arrested

Being placed under arrest for drug trafficking is frightening. But you should always remain calm in this situation so that you have a better chance of fighting the charges. Remember:

  • You have a right to remain silent. Talking to federal agents after being arrested is the biggest blunder people make. It makes sense to want to give your side of things to the arresting officers. But most of the time, talking to federal agents only leads to self incrimination. It is recommended to remain silent until you have consulted an attorney.
  • Get everything documented. If the drug trafficking charges are unwarranted, it is important to get as much hard information as possible to back your story. Get all names of witnesses that saw the arrest occur. This type of information will make it easier for your attorney to build a case.
  • Understand the charges. Under duress, it is understandable to not grasp the nature of the charges. Some charges, such as possession, are much less serious than others, namely drug trafficking. Get details from the arresting officers on what you are being charged with.

Drug Trafficking Laws by State

The following section reviews drug trafficking laws, punishments and penalities by state:

AlabamaHawaiiMassachusettsNew MexicoSouth Dakota
AlaskaIdahoMichiganNew YorkTennessee
ArizonaIllinoisMinnesotaNorth CarolinaTexas
ArkansasIndianaMississippiNorth DakotaUtah
CaliforniaIowaMissouriOhioVermont
ColoradoKansasMontanaOklahomaVirginia
ConnecticutKentuckyNebraskaOregonWashington
DelawareLouisianaNevadaPennsylvaniaWest Virginia
FloridaMaineNew HampshireRhode IslandWisconsin
GeorgiaMarylandNew JerseySouth CarolinaWyoming

Alabama

The Alabama drug trafficking charges are covered under Title 13A, Criminal Code, Code of Alabama and Title 15, Criminal Procedure, Code of Alabama. A mandatory prison sentence of at least three years may be imposed, including a fine of up to $50,000. More severe charges get mandatory minimum of five years in prison. Offenders can be sentenced with mandatory minimum of 15 years, 25 years, or even life without parole when it comes to larger amounts.

Alaska

The Alaska drug trafficking charges are covered under Title 12, Code of Criminal Procedure, Alaska Statutes and Title 11, Criminal Law, Alaska Statutes. The actual sentences imposed will vary and depend on the type of substance, amount, prior convictions, and more. It can be charged either as a misdemeanor or a felony. The minimum sentence is up to five years in prison and/or a fine of up to $50,000, and the maximum sentence is 99 years in prison and/or a fine of up to $500,000.

Arizona

The Arizona drug trafficking charges are covered under ARS Section 13-3401.36, 13-3405, 13-3407, 13-3408, and 13-3411. These statutes define the threshold amounts of drugs and the illegal actions that make up the offense of drug trafficking. Punishments can vary and depend on whether the offense was violent or non-violent, and whether there have been three or more felonies. The charges can be Level 6, 4, or 2 felonies and the punishments range from a minimum of six months probation to a minimum of seven years in prison.

Arkansas

The Arkansas drug trafficking charges are covered under Title 5, Criminal Offenses, Arkansas Code. Suspects have a certain amount of controlled substances, with amounts varying depending on substance. The penalties for drug trafficking involving 500 lbs or more can range from 10 to 40 years in prison and a fine of up to $15,000. The mandatory minimum sentence for drug trafficking is 10 years in prison.

California

Classifications for the California drug trafficking charges depend on the type of substance and the quantity. Under Health and Safety Code section 11370.4 and Health and Safety Code section 11370.2, judges can also impose amount enhancements and prior enhancements respectively, meaning harsher penalties. California laws include a provision of sentencing enhancement if the drug trafficking is done within 1000 feet of playgrounds, schools, and school-related programs. The penalties for a first offense in drug trafficking is five to 40 years of imprisonment with up to $5 million in fines. The penalties become harsher for the second and third offenses.

Colorado

The Colorado drug trafficking charges are covered under Colorado Revised Statutes Section 18-18-405, et seq. The drug trafficking charges range from Level 1 drug misdemeanor to Level 1 drug felony. The penalties range from six to 18 months in jail and fines of $500 to $5,000 for a Level 1 drug misdemeanor, to eight to 32 years in prison and fines of $5,000 to $1 million for Level 1 drug felony.

Connecticut

The Connecticut drug trafficking charges are covered under Title 53, Crimes, Connecticut General Statutes, Title 54, Criminal Procedure, Connecticut General Statutes, and Title 53a, Penal Code, Connecticut General Statutes. The penalties for drug trafficking start from one year in jail and/or a fine of up to $1,000 and go up to 25 years in jail and/or a $250,000 fine.

Delaware

The Delaware drug trafficking charges are covered under Title 11, Crimes and Criminal Procedure, Delaware Code. The charges for drug trafficking vary and depend on the type of drug and the amount, using a tiered system, as well as addition of consequences for aggravating circumstances. The state has specific laws for each type of drug. For instance, for heroin, drug trafficking for the first offense is a class B felony that carries a minimum penalty of two years imprisonment and $50,000 fine when the amount is 10-50 grams. If the amount is 100 grams or more, the penalty goes up to a minimum of 8 years and a $400,000 fine.

Florida

The Florida drug trafficking charges are covered under Title XLVI, Crimes, Florida Statutes and Title XLVII, Criminal Procedure and Corrections, Florida Statutes. Classification is from third to first degree felony, with sentences ranging from five to 30 years in prison, and fines of up to $50,000.

Georgia

The Georgia drug trafficking charges are covered under Georgia Code, Title 16, Chapter 13. The types of drugs are divided into five schedules and charges and penalties depend on the schedule. All are felonies. More severe punishments may be imposed for repeat offenses. Charges involving Schedule I or II drugs are punishable by five to 30 years in prison, with repeat offenders facing 10 years to life. Charges involving Schedule III, IV, or V drugs are punishable by one to 10 years in prison.

Hawaii

The Hawaii drug trafficking charges are covered under Title 37, Hawaii Penal Code, Hawaii Revised Statutes and Title 38, Procedural and Supplementary Provisions, Hawaii Revised Statutes. Charges depending on the type of substance, with meth being the worst, and whether the individual is a first time or repeat offender.

Idaho

The Idaho drug trafficking charges are covered under Title 18, Crimes and Punishments, Idaho Statutes and Title 19, Criminal Procedure, Idaho Statutes. Trafficking is always a felony offense, but exact penalties depend on the substance and amount. Second offenders see their sentences doubled automatically. Mandatory minimum sentences are also set.

Illinois

The Illinois drug trafficking charges are covered under Chapter 720, Criminal Offenses, Illinois Compiled Statutes and Chapter 725, Criminal Procedure, Illinois Compiled Statutes. Depending on substance and amount, charge can range from Class 3 felony (two to 5 years in prison) to Class X felony (six to 60 years in prison). Minimum sentence associated with the felony charge is doubled, so that minimum sentence is between four and 10 years, and maximum sentence 12 to 120 years.

Indiana

The Indiana drug trafficking charges are covered under Indiana Code Section 35-48-4-1. Charges depend on the substance and quantity and range from Class B misdemeanor (less than one gram of Schedule V drugs) to Level 2 felony (10 grams or more of cocaine, narcotics such as heroin, or methamphetamine). Punishments range from up to 180 days in jail and/or a fine of up to $1,000 to 30 years in prison.

Iowa

The Iowa drug trafficking charges are covered under Title XVI, Criminal Law and Procedure, Iowa Code. Penalties depend on the type and quantity and on aggravating circumstances, such as involvement of a minor or being a repeat offender.

Kansas

The Kansas drug trafficking charges are covered under Chapter 21, Crimes and Punishments, Kansas Statutes and Chapter 22, Criminal Procedure, Kansas Statutes. Sentences depend on the schedule of the substance, except marijuana, as the state has separate marijuana laws. For all other substances, sentences range from one year in prison and a fine of up to $100,000 to up to 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $1 million.

Kentucky

The Kentucky drug trafficking charges are covered under Title L, Kentucky Penal Code, Chapters 500-599, Kentucky Revised Statutes and Statutes 218A.1412. Under the latter, harsher penalties were imposed in 2017 for listed substances (carfentanil, cocaine, fentanyl, and heroin). Penalties dependion the type of drug, quantity, and the circumstances of the offense and offender.

Louisiana

The Louisiana drug trafficking charges are covered under the Code of Criminal Procedure, Louisiana Law, Title 15, Criminal Procedure, Revised Statutes, Louisiana Laws, and Title 14, Criminal Law, Revised Statutes. There are significant differences in the consequences of drug charges depending mainly on the substance with which someone was apprehended.

Maine

The Maine drug trafficking charges are covered under Title 15, Court Procedure – Criminal, Maine Revised Statutes, Title 17, Crimes, Maine Revised Statutes, and Title 17-A, Maine Criminal Code, Maine Revised Statutes. Offenses are classified Class D (misdemeanor), Class C (felony), or Class B (felony) crimes. Sentences range from 364 days in jail and/or a fine of up to $2,000 to up to 10 years in jail and/or fines of up to $10,000.

Maryland

The Maryland drug trafficking charges are covered under Md. Ann. Code Section 5-601, 5-402, et. seq. They differentiate between marijuana and controlled substances. The age and recidivism of the offenders play a big part in sentencing, and also the quantity of the substances found on them.

Massachusetts

The Massachusetts drug trafficking charges are highlighted in the Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 94C Section 32E. Sentences range from a mandatory minimum of one year jail (50 pounds of marijuana) to a mandatory minimum sentence of 12 years (200 grams or more of cocaine or heroin).

Michigan

The Michigan drug trafficking charges are covered under Chapters 760-777, Code of Criminal Procedure, Michigan Compiled Laws, Chapter 780, Criminal Procedure, Michigan Compiled Laws, and Chapter 752, Crimes and Offenses, Michigan Compiled Laws. It is always a felony offense. Penalties depending on the quantity of the substance, and offenders may serve up to 20 years in prison.

Minnesota

The Minnesota drug trafficking charges are covered under Chapters 609-624, Crimes, Criminals, Minnesota Statutes and Chapters 625-634, Criminal Procedure, Minnesota Statutes. The penalties depend on the type of substance and quantity. The lowest is the 5th degree charge, with up to five years in prison and/or an up to $10,000 fine; to the 1st degree charge, with up to 30 years in prison with a mandatory minimum of four years for recidivists and a fine of up to $1 million.

Mississippi

The Mississippi drug trafficking charges are covered under Title 97, Crimes, Mississippi Code and Title 99, Criminal Procedure, Mississippi Code. Up to 2014, anyone carrying more than 30 grams of a controlled substance would face trafficking charges. This has been increased to 500 grams, which is similar to the federal charges. Punishments range from less than a year in jail with a fine of no more than $1,000, to 20 years in prison with a fine of $500,000.

Missouri

The Missouri drug trafficking charges are covered under Chapter 195, Drug Regulations, Section 195.222 of the Missouri Revised Statutes. Charges can be a Class A felony or Class B felony depending on type of drug and amount. Sentences range from five years to life in prison.  Repeat offenders could face life in prison.

Montana

Montana drug trafficking is covered mainly under 45-9-102 – criminal possession of dangerous drugs. The state is known for its harsh laws, leading to very significant sentences, even for offenses involving marijuana. Prior offenders are sentenced even more harshly.

Nebraska

The Nebraska drug trafficking charges are covered under Chapter 28, Crimes and Punishments, Nebraska Revised Statutes and Chapter 29, Criminal Procedure, Nebraska Revised Statutes. Penalties can range from zero to 20 years in prison for marijuana cases, to one to 50 years or even 20 to life, for harder drugs.

Nevada

The Nevada drug trafficking charges are covered under NRS 453.3385 and NRS 453.3395. Trafficking charges can only be brought if there were sufficient amounts of the substance on the defendant. Penalties depend on the schedule of the substance and can range from one to six years in a state prison and/or a fine of up to $50,000, to 25 years to life in a state prison and a fine of up to $500,000.

New Hampshire

The New Hampshire drug trafficking charges are covered under Title LIX, Proceedings in Criminal Cases, New Hampshire revised Statutes and Title LXII, Criminal Code, New Hampshire Revised Statutes. A complex system is used and depends on the type of drug, the amount, and how many previous offenses were committed. Less than 1oz of marijuana, for a first time offender can result in three years in jail and/or a fine of up to $25,000. A second time offender with 5 oz of cocaine or more could face life in prison and a fine of up to $500,000.

New Jersey

The New Jersey drug trafficking chargesare covered under Title 2C, New Jersey Code of Criminal Justice, New Jersey Revised Statutes. Penalties starting at 18 months in prison and/or a fine of up to $25,000 up to 20 years in prison and fine of up to $500,000.

New Mexico

The New Mexico drug trafficking charges are covered under Chapter 30, Criminal Offenses, New Mexico Statutes and Chapter 31, Criminal Procedure, New Mexico Statutes. Usually charged as a 2nd degree felony, resulting in up to nine years in prison for a first offense. Subsequent offenses carry heftier penalties

New York

The New York State drug trafficking charges are covered under New York Penal Law Section 220, 220.03 – 220.25, 220.31 – 220.44, 220.60, 220.77, and 221.00 – 221.55. Charges range from Class E to A felonies, with penalties of up to life in prison and major fines.

North Carolina

The North Carolina drug trafficking charges are covered under G.S. 90-95(h), which includes conspiracy, attempted trafficking, and substantial assistance. Charges range from Class C to H and, depending on when the crime was committed, can result in prison sentences of between 225 months to 39 years and fines of $5,000 to $500,000.

North Dakota

The North Dakota drug trafficking charges are covered under North Dakota Code 19-03.1-23. Penalties depend on type of drug, amount, and prior convictions and can even reach life in prison as well as substantial fines.

Ohio

The Ohio drug trafficking charges are covered under the Ohio Revised Code, Title 29 Crimes – Procedures, Chapter 2925: Drug Offenses. This generally applies only to Schedule III, IV, or V drugs. Penalties range from six months in jail and/or a fine of up to $2,500 to ten years in prison and a fine of up to $50,000.

Oklahoma

The Oklahoma drug trafficking charges are covered under Title 21, Crimes and Punishments, Oklahoma Statutes and Title 22, Criminal Procedure, Oklahoma Statutes. Penalties start with four year mandatory sentences and go up to life in prison without parole, as well as fines of up to $500,000.

Oregon

In July 2017, Oregon reduced drug trafficking offenses to a misdemeanor. This updated Section 19 of ORS 137.633. This has essentially decriminalized small amounts of drugs, even “hard” drugs. However, larger quantities continue to carry harsh sentences.

Pennsylvania

The Pennsylvania drug trafficking charges are covered under Pennsylvania Health and Safety Code, Title 35, Section 780-113. Trafficking offenses are charged as a felony. Penalties range from seven to 20 years in prison, as well as significant fines.

Rhode Island

The Rhode Island drug trafficking charges are covered under Title 11, Criminal Offenses, Rhode Island General Laws and Title 12, Criminal Procedure, Rhode Island General Laws. Sentences are based on the type of drug, quantity and the offender’s prior offenses. Aggravating circumstances such as trafficking involving minors or near schools can double the sentence.

South Carolina

South Carolina has different sections and statutes in its codes relating to the trafficking of different drugs. These statutes for the South Carolina drug trafficking charges also indicate the penalties, which depend on the quantity of the drugs found and on the prior offenses of the defendant.

South Dakota

The South Dakota drug trafficking charges are covered under S.D. Cod. Laws Section 22-42-5. The state classifies drugs by schedule, which impacts sentencing, as does quantity of drugs, prior offenses, and other aggravating circumstances. Marijuana laws are currently changing in the state, which may have an impact on trafficking offenses.

Tennessee

The Tennessee drug trafficking charges are covered under T.C.A. Section 39-17-417 and the Tennessee Drug Control Act of 1989, T.C.A. Section 39-17-401 et seq. These are classed as a very serious offense, with mandatory minimum sentences. Aggravating circumstances are considered. Severity of the punishment depends on the schedule of the substance and the recidivism of the offender.

Texas

The Texas drug trafficking charges are covered under the Texas Controlled Substances Act and the Texas Health and Safety Code, Title 6, Subtitle C, Chapter 481, Section 481.112 – 481.114. Sentences range from 180 days in jail and/or a fine of up to $10,000, to 99 years in prison and a fine of $250,000.

Utah

The Utah drug trafficking charges are covered under Utah Code Section 58-37-8 and crimes range from a Class A misdemeanor (up to one year in jail and/or a fine of up to $2,500) to a 1st degree felony (up to life in prison and up to $10,000 in fines).

Vermont

The Vermont drug trafficking charges are covered under the Vermont Statutes, Title 18: Health, Chapter 084: Possession and Control of Regulated Drugs, Subchapter 001: Regulated Drugs. Penalties depend on the type of drug, the amount carried, the prior offenses of the defendant, and aggravating circumstances.

Virginia

The Virginia drug trafficking charges are covered under Title 18.2, Crimes and Offenses Generally, Code of Virginia and Title 18.2, Criminal Procedure, Code of Virginia. These are always felony offenses, although there are variations between marijuana trafficking and other controlled substances. Sentences range from up to one year in jail and/or a fine of up to $2,500 to up to life in prison and a $500,000 fine.

Washington

The Washington State drug trafficking charges are covered under the Violations of the Controlled Substances Act. The state offers drug courts as well as the Drug Offender Sentencing Alternative (DOSA) in certain circumstances. However, aggravating circumstances, such as being near a school, are weighed heavily in terms of determining whether or not someone should be sentenced to jail or prison. The trafficking of heroin has harsh penalties in this state. The mere possession of a small amount of heroin is a Class C felony and can result in up to five years of imprisonment and/or fines of up to $10,000.

West Virginia

The West Virginia drug trafficking charges are covered under Chapter 60A Uniform Controlled Substances Act, Article 4, Offenses and Penalties, Section 60A-4-401, Prohibited acts A; penalties. In March 2018, the House agreed to increase drug trafficking penalties by passing House Bill 2579. The state has harsh penalties for heroin trafficking as this is a felony with a penalty of one to 15 years and up to a $15,000 fine for the first offense.

Wisconsin

The Wisconsin drug trafficking charges are covered under Section 941.41(1), 961.41(1m), 961.41(2) or (4)(am) or (bm), or 96.42. Because there are so many statutes, the consequences of a drug trafficking charge in this state can vary greatly. They can range from a $500 fine to many years in prison. Aggravating circumstances can double the sentence.

Wyoming

The Wyoming drug trafficking charges are covered under the Wyoming Controlled Substances Act, and offenses range from a misdemeanor to a felony. There are various aggravating circumstances, which have a direct impact on the sentences imposed. Statutes W.S. Section 35-7 1014, 1016, 1018, 1020, 1022, 1031, 1032, 1033, 1037, 1038, 1039, 1040, 1041, 1056, and 1057 cover the exact laws and penalties. Medical marijuana is not legal in the state and therefore, those who have permission for this in other states will find that it is not valid when they go to Wyoming.

References

Quick Facts about Drug Trafficking. (2016). Retrieved from https://www.ussc.gov/sites/default/files/pdf/research-and-publications/quick-facts/Quick_Facts_Drug_Trafficking_2016.pdf

Geoffrey Nathan, Esq.

About Geoffrey Nathan, Esq.

Geoffrey G Nathan is a top federal crimes lawyer and Chief Editor of FederalCharges.com. He is a licensed attorney in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts since 1988, admitted to practice in both Federal and State courts. If you have questions about your federal case he can help by calling 877.472.5775.