Everyone knows drug trafficking is against the law, but what most people don’t realize is that it’s not always big multi-state operations or even just important players that are charged with trafficking. If you participate in illegally manufacturing, transporting, selling, or distributing controlled substances in any way, you can be charged with drug trafficking. Even if your involvement was relatively small, you can face charges both here in Ohio and at the federal level, since such actions are illegal under the Federal Controlled Substances Act.
If you’ve been arrested for drug trafficking, you are facing serious consequences. While trafficking charges are taken quite seriously at the state level, federal sentencing for drug trafficking is even harsher, especially with the suggested minimums that apply. You could be facing fines of up to hundreds of thousands—or even millions—of dollars and years in federal prison, in addition to serious difficulties finding employment and housing once you’ve done your time. If you are facing federal trafficking charges, you should consult a Cincinnati drug lawyer right away to find out how you can best fight the charges.
Federal Sentencing Guidelines
Federal sentencing for drug trafficking is based on the federal sentencing guidelines and is quite harsh, although all offenses have a range of suggested sentences. The fine and amount of jail time you will be required to serve if convicted varies depending on the amount and type of drugs. Under the Controlled Substances Act, drugs are divided into “Schedules” based on the perceived danger of the substance, which are punished more harshly as they are more dangerous. The judge can also take factors, such as the level of your involvement, your intentions, and any substantial assistance give to police after the arrest (usually by becoming an informant), into consideration when handing down a sentence.
The following are some of the guidelines for what amounts will generally be considered trafficking different drugs. A fist offense with these amounts of these Schedule I and II drugs will generally be sentenced to 5-40 years in federal prison and up to $5 million dollars:
- 500-4999 grams of cocaine
- 100-999 grams of heroin
- 1-9 grams of LSD
- 5-49 grams of methamphetamine
- 10-99 grams of PCP
Other drugs have other sentences, and more of any drug will be subject to longer sentences. Generally, Schedule III, IV, and V drugs are less harshly punished, albeit still with long sentences.
Will I Be Sentenced at the Federal or State Level?
As you can see, federal sentencing for drug trafficking is something you must take seriously. So how do you know if you are facing federal or state charges? The truth is that it depends. Generally, you will be charged and sentenced at the federal level if you crossed state lines or are operating a very large trafficking ring. However, you can also face charges at the federal level any time federal agents were in any way involved with the investigation or bust. In reality, any time you traffic drugs, you violate federal law, so you risk federal trafficking charges any time you are arrested.
It is often impossible to predict how a certain case will be tried without the details. A Cincinnati drug lawyer will be able to give you a better idea of what charges you may face based on the circumstances of your unique case. you