Drug addiction and the crimes that typically follow it are a burden on many cities in California and across the United States. Because drug crimes often place the health and safety of citizens at risk, lawmakers and law enforcement take a hard stand against those who perpetrate those crimes. While those who are in possession of drugs may face heavy penalties, the goal of many drug enforcement agencies and departments is to track down the source of the drugs and cut it off.
This is why those charged with drug trafficking and similar crimes may face severe penalties for a conviction, including hefty fines and lengthy stays in federal prison. If you are up against allegations of drug trafficking, you have a great deal on the line, including your freedom and your future.
A bad situation getting worse
California and other states have their own sets of drug laws, and these laws generally target low-level dealers and mules. However, by arresting and prosecuting those further down the chain, law enforcement attempts to send a strong message to drug lords. Under drug trafficking laws, if a court convicts you of dealing, you may end up with a prison sentence that is longer than the sentences many violent criminals receive. Any of the following factors may make that sentence even longer:
- The substance police accuse you of dealing or trafficking is a Schedule I or Schedule II substance, which is highly addictive, such as cocaine, fentanyl or heroin.
- The greater the amount of drugs allegedly in your possession, the more severe your sentence may be after a conviction.
- If police connect your supposed involvement in drug trafficking to the death or serious injury of someone else, you may face penalty enhancements.
- Prior convictions for drug crimes can also enhance your sentence.
- The higher investigators believe you rank in the chain of drug trade, the more severely the courts may penalize you.
- The use of a firearm during the commission of a drug crime is a separate charge with an additional prison term for conviction.
Drug trafficking that crosses state lines becomes a federal offense. This means you may be facing as long as life in prison, depending on the amount and kind of drugs authorities accuse you of possessing or distributing. This is not a situation you want to take lightly or a defense you want to leave to chance. Dealing with the complex and harsh drug laws at the state and federal level is something many trust to skilled and experienced legal professionals.