What Is Considered Drug Trafficking?
Drug trafficking is a type of distribution that can be charged on the state and federal level. It involves selling, illegally importing, or exporting drugs in and out of the state of New Mexico. Being arrested for drug trafficking is incredibly serious – and this is not a charge you want to face alone.
Instead, you should contact a criminal defense team that has experience handling these types of cases. The long-term consequences of a trafficking conviction will most likely impact you for the rest of your life. Not only will you serve time in a state or federal prison, but you will have a felony criminal record that could affect your ability to get a job, qualify for government aid programs, join the military, or even qualify for housing.
What Is Drug Trafficking?
A person can be arrested for trafficking if they have transported, sold, or imported illegal substances. Trafficking is more commonly charged on the federal level because it involves taking drugs across state lines. It is always charged as a federal felony crime as well – which means you cannot get away with just a misdemeanor.
These laws are determined based on federal statutes instead of using New Mexico’s statutes. The punishment would depend on the amount of the substance found at the time of the arrest, where the drugs were being imported from or distributed to, and if there were children involved in the distribution or sale process.
Sentences for drug trafficking are harsher than normal drug crimes, and the more substance weight involved, the higher they will be.
Understanding How the Type of Drug Affects Your Case Outcome
It is not just about the weight of the substance but the type of substance being trafficked. The federal government classifies specific drugs in different categories, based solely on their level of abuse. These schedules are as follows:
- Schedule I – Schedule I substances are the most addictive, there is no medical reason for these drugs to be used, and they are not even considered safe with heavy medical supervision. These substances, such as cocaine or heroin, are illegal.
- Schedule II – A drug in the Schedule II category is highly addictive, but still has a medical purpose. However, these have a higher risk for dependency, which is why they are only prescribed under strict medical monitoring.
- Schedule III – These drugs have lower potential for abuse, and they are accepted in medical practice. They have only a moderate risk for dependency, and they don’t require strenuous monitoring like Schedule II substances.
- Schedule IV and Schedule V – These substances have the lowest risk, and some of these substances are even allowed over the counter. Some do still have a risk for dependence, but the risk is incredibly low and most of these medications require very little physician supervision while they are taken.
What Is the Penalty If Convicted for Federal Drug Trafficking?
The federal government makes it illegal to manufacture, distribute, dispense, and possess a controlled substance. Anyone who is arrested for drug trafficking is facing dire long-term consequences. Just some of the penalties that you might face if you are convicted of trafficking include:
- Long-term prison sentences. A prison sentence is based on the amount of drugs found at the time of the arrest. For example, a person could spend up to 40 years in prison if they are caught with over 100 grams of heroin, while they may only spend up to 10 years in federal prison for 1 kilogram of heroin.
- Felony conviction on their permanent criminal record. Once you have a felony record, it will impact you the rest of your life. A felony conviction is something you often disclose on housing applications and even employment applications. You cannot omit this information either. You will also lose your right to own a gun, and you will deal with the social stigma that you are now a “convict.”
- You will face mandatory minimum prison sentences. While some crimes have a range in the statute, federal drug crimes typically include mandatory minimum prison sentences. That means there will be no negotiations, and the judge will impose that mandatory minimum. For example, you may have to serve a minimum of three years out of a ten-year prison sentence before you are eligible for parole – and there is no way to lessen that amount if it is a mandatory minimum.
What about States with Legalized Marijuana?
One gray area is when it comes to legal marijuana. Not all states have legalized it for recreational use, but it is still against the law to take marijuana in or out of the state, even if you have purchased it from a state where it is legal. The federal government sees marijuana as an illegal substance; therefore, any distribution or trafficking of this substance can still result in a federal charge.
Speak with a Criminal Defense Attorney Immediately
If you were arrested for drug trafficking in the state of New Mexico, you need a proven local attorney that has experience handling federal criminal charges like these.
Federal drug charges are not something you should face alone. Even if you are innocent, do not hope that the system will figure it out and clear your name. Instead, you need a team of attorneys that have experience going up against the federal government, fighting for your rights, and working hard to get the best possible outcome in your case.
To get started, schedule a free case evaluation with the attorneys at New Mexico Criminal Law Office. We have helped countless defendants just like you fight against the harsh penalties of trafficking, and we will not stop until you get the best possible outcome.
Call our office immediately and do so before speaking with anyone else. Work with the highly skilled attorneys at New Mexico Criminal Law Office to negotiate a plea bargain or possibly get your case dismissed entirely.