Drug trafficking is perhaps the most serious drug charge available to prosecutors. Technically, “trafficking” is simply trading in anything illegally. But legally speaking, drug trafficking is selling drugs on a large scale, especially when drugs or people cross state and national borders.
Those convicted of drug trafficking face very high mandatory minimum sentences, sometimes life in prison. If you’re facing trafficking charges or believe you may be, it’s impossible to overemphasize how important it is to have a skilled drug lawyer by your side.
At Alabama Criminal Lawyers, we understand how serious drug trafficking charges are. We are prepared to mount an aggressive, thorough and creative defense to drug trafficking, smuggling, and large-scale sales charges at the Alabama state and federal levels. We will also defend related charges that are commonly stacked with trafficking, including conspiracy, racketeering, and organized-crime charges.
Generally speaking, trafficking refers to importing or exporting a large amount of drugs into or out of the United States or moving drugs across state lines. That being said, simply trading or selling any amount or type of an illegal drug is considered trafficking. The penalties for drug trafficking are incredibly strict, and while the punishments do vary based on the type and quantity of drugs involved, you could be sentenced to:
Certain factors can undoubtedly enhance the degree of your penalties. For example, if you are found in possession of a firearm while trafficking drugs, or if you are a part of a criminal group or organization, not only will you face enhanced penalties, but you could also face additional criminal charges as well.
Drug trafficking is likely to be charged as a federal drug crime, in part because it requires a large amount of drugs and in part because trafficking often involves crossing borders. Alabama’s position on the Gulf Coast makes it an attractive entry point for international drug importers.
If prosecutors believe they can prove you moved drugs over an international border, you can be charged with the importation of a controlled substance. If they cannot, you can still be charged with the unlawful manufacture, distribution or possession of drugs.
In either case, the penalty is five to 40 years for the lesser amounts of the drugs, or 10 years to life for greater amounts. You can be charged with both crimes, along with related crimes like possession, and both carry increased sentences for repeat offenses but no possibility of early parole. The federal government can also seize any drugs, money, firearms or other property it feels is related to the crimes.
If the government believes you are part of a group or a criminal organization, it may add organized-crime charges. The simplest is a conspiracy to commit various crimes, which is punished as if the crimes had actually been committed.
If you have multiple drug offenses, law enforcement believes you’re managing an organization of six or more people and you get substantial income from it, they can charge you with being part of a continuing criminal enterprise. And if you have two or more convictions for certain crimes — including drug crimes as well as certain financial and violent crimes — you may be charged with racketeering. Racketeering carries 20 years to life, plus forfeiture of property, sometimes even before indictment.
There’s very little flexibility provided by Alabama state and federal drug trafficking laws. Judges must sentence defendants under mandatory minimums, regardless of the circumstances. And prosecutors eager to make their careers on a high-profile conviction often ask for extremely high penalties, knowing juries aren’t often sympathetic to drug trafficking defendants.
It’s imperative to hire a skilled, aggressive criminal defense attorney to protect your interests in any drug trafficking prosecution.
If you hire Alabama Criminal Lawyers to defend you from serious federal or state drug trafficking charges, we will concentrate on mounting the best possible defense in your case. Drug trafficking cases are usually the result of long-term surveillance efforts, months of research and at times the use of informants.
These methods can result in incomplete or incorrect information — which a smart defense attorney can use to destroy the case against you. We will challenge any inaccurate or poorly supported charges against you, as well as illegal searches and violations of your rights by overzealous officers.
If a trial is warranted, we will prepare thoroughly for the factual and legal aspects of a large-scale drug case, hiring all of the investigators, experts and others necessary to prove that you deserve a “not guilty” verdict. With your freedom, your family and your finances at stake, nothing less will do.
If you or someone you care about is facing drug trafficking charges, contact us today at (205) 981-2450 for a free consultation.