Drug Trafficking is a serious crime and carries with it some serious penalties. Drug trafficking is when a person transports a large quantity of controlled substances or illegal drugs with the intent to distribute, sell or deliver. Because drug trafficking requires that drugs are transported into the country, it involves Federal law and is therefore a matter for Federal courts.
Federal courts will hear all matter that relate to international crimes, or crimes that involve interstate travel. Federal courts are harsher with penalties than the State court and involve mandatory minimum sentences that usually include jail time. When states present legislative guidelines for a crime, generally for misdemeanor offenses the range will start at zero jail time and increase upward. This means that the State court Judge is free to allow no jail time for a conviction. He or she is free to offer community service, a fine, probation or otherwise, without having to include any kind of jail sentence.
In comparison, Federal legislative sentencing guidelines offer a minimum jail sentence. The Federal court judge MUST in the very least impose the minimum jail sentence and can go upwards from there. Therefore, when a person is charged with a Federal crime, it is important to consider that a jail sentence will likely be a part of the penalty if the person is convicted. Therefore, it is important for a person to understand the significance of being charged with a Federal drug crime and should consult a Criminal Defense expert regarding their options.
Drug trafficking is no exception when it comes to a harsh penalty. Penalties depend on what type of drug was being transported and how much the amount was. For many drugs the sentencing range starts at 5 years in prison, and for other can be anywhere up to 20 years in prison. These are the mandatory minimum sentences, which means that the Federal Judge must impose this in the very least.
For example, for a cocaine base, first offense, in the amount of anywhere between 28 to 279 grams, will face a range of potential consequences. The mandatory minimum sentence will be 5 to 40 years in prison. If there is a serious harm or injury, including death, the person will be facing 20 years to life imprisonment. Additionally, a fine of no more than $5 million will be imposed for an individual that is charged, and $25 million for more than one person.
The example above gives a good example of how severe the penalties can get for a charge of drug trafficking. Drug trafficking is not a state offense, otherwise the penalties imposed would be lesser so. Because the consequences are serious, it is most beneficial to consult with a California criminal defense attorney who works closely with attorneys practicing Federal criminal law. Speak to someone you can trust and someone who you know will fight for you rights and to dismiss or reduce your case.