Common Penalties for Drug Trafficking

Drug trafficking is considered a felony and, as such, penalties are generally very severe. Still, the exact penalties will vary between different types of drugs and different states. As a general rule, trafficking drugs which are thought to be more hazardous to society carries more severe penalties. Marijuana, for example, is not thought to be as hazardous as other drugs (in some states it’s even legal) and therefore does not typically carry penalties as harsh as something like cocaine.

The following are typical penalties for three drugs which are commonly distributed by traffickers:

  • Cocaine - Being found guilty of trafficking cocaine can lead to up to life in prison and millions of dollars in fines. Exact punishments depend heavily on the quantity of cocaine.
  • Marijuana - This is one of the less serious drugs to traffic. However, depending on the amounts, marijuana trafficking can still lead to very serious penalties including lengthy prison sentences and large fines.
  • Heroin - Heroin is one of the worst drugs to be found guilty of trafficking. Penalties include prison terms up to life and millions of dollars in fines.
  • Drug trafficking penalties can be made even more severe by “enhancements”. This is a legal term which refers to enforcing stricter penalties due to the occurrence of an aggravating factor such as selling drugs to minors. Many states allow enhanced punishments for drug crimes but not all. Other common circumstances under which enhanced punishments may play a role include using minors to distribute drugs and selling drugs near a school zone.

    Finally, if you are found guilty of a drug crime, you may be required to give up your property. This will vary from case to case and jurisdiction to jurisdiction, however, one common scenario is being forced to give up your house if it was thought to have been used to manufacture or store the drugs.

    Understanding the possible penalties you may face if you are being charged with drug trafficking is of utmost importance. Also important is having a good defense. Attorney David M. Dudley is an experienced, Harvard-educated, state and federal criminal defense attorney who is ready to fight on your behalf. Call David at 800-805-6167 today for a free case evaluation.