How Do You Beat Drug Trafficking Charges in Oklahoma?
To beat a drug trafficking charge, first, you must understand what drug trafficking means in Oklahoma. The following is an explanation of drug trafficking in Oklahoma.
What Is Drug Trafficking?
Drug trafficking, as described by Oklahoma law, is defined by the possession of a certain amount or weight of illegal drugs or substances. In order to establish sufficient evidence for drug trafficking in Oklahoma, prosecutors must prove a person possession a sufficient amount or weight of the illegal drugs.
The illegal substance in question may vary from one case to another, however, the common illegal drugs that warrant such a charge as this include cocain, marijuana, herion, hydrocodone, and methamphetamines.
There is not an intent element to drug trafficking in Oklahoma law, i.e. the prosecutor does not have to prove that you intended to sell drugs, distribute drugs, or traffic drugs under Oklahoma law. Rather, the only requirement is that the prosecutor prove you possessed a sufficient amount of the illegal drug, which is determined by statute for each specific illegal drug or “Controlled Dangerous Substance.”
Is Drug Trafficking a State of Federal Crime?
Drug trafficking is both a federal crime and state crime.
While there are both state and federal laws to prosecute drug trafficking, it is important to note that most state laws against this drug trafficking are based on existing federal laws. Additionally, many drug trafficking cases are prosecuted at the federal level in Oklahoma, when it is alleged that the trafficked drugs crossed state lines.
Additionally, drug trafficking can be considered a federal crime when there is a large amount or weight of the illegal drug, when a federal officer spearheaded the investigation or arrest, and when the case involved any other federal criminal law, say money laundering or RICO.
It is important to note that federal drug charges carry harsher penalties and longer sentences compared to Oklahoma penalties for drug trafficking.
Defenses Against Drug Trafficking Charges
A drug trafficking conviction can include punishments of prison sentences, fines, difficult terms of probation, or all of the above. However, to avoid the penalties of a drug trafficking conviction, a drug trafficking defense lawyer will seek a reduction of charges, a plea deal in your drug trafficking case, or outright dismissal of the case. How?
- The defense attorney can contest a drug trafficking charge when it has been established that there was no warrant obtained by the police to carry out the search which led to the defendant’s arrest. Additionally, the defense counsel can push to prove that the evidence presented in court was obtained illegally thus making it inadmissible. To make this work, the defense uses the Fourth Amendment and relevant case law or decisional law by appellate courts to seek a “motion to suppress” evidence. Law enforcement is bound by the warrant requirement of the Fourth Amendment prior to searching your home, vehicle, or other areas for drugs, unless exigency exists to remove warrant requirement.
Exigency to remove the warrant requirement in drug trafficking cases is a fact specific and detailed legal argument. Your chosen drug trafficking defense lawyer must be familiar with the laws and procedures to seek suppression of illegally obtained evidence, which includes call the officers to court that conducted the search and exposing they violated your rights.
- Absence sufficient evidence upon which a conviction for the crimes can be made. The defense attorney in this case questions the credibility of the body of evidence presented by the prosecuting attorney who has the burden of proof beyond a reasonable doubt. To make this play, the defense counsel must have thoroughly examined the evidence and compare the evidence to the elements of Drug Trafficking in Oklahoma. Additionally, the defense may target the major evidence and pull the case apart from there.
Oklahoma law requires the prosecutor to prove actual or constructive possession of drugs prior to obtaining a conviction for drug trafficking. Your drug trafficking defense lawyer should raise issues of possession, if the facts warrant such an argument. Constructive possession requires knowledge and the ability to control the disposition of an object, i.e. illegal drugs. Therefore, the prosecutor does not have to show that you physically had the drugs in your possession in order to sustain a conviction for drug trafficking; however, constructive possession is the only other method to prove possession for drug trafficking and an experienced Oklahoma drug trafficking defense lawyer will know how to fight or contest your possession of the drugs.
- The defense may question the interest of Criminal Informants. Under the Sixth Amendment, the defense counsel has the right to know who the informant is and based on this knowledge, the testimony may be discredited using past occurrences that put the judgment and interest of the informant under question. Confidential Informants (“CI”) are used in many drug trafficking investigations; however, the credibility of these witnesses to support a warrant, a search, or any subsequent law enforcement action in your drug trafficking case must be contested. The government has the burden to prove the CI is reliable prior to the evidence they present being held admissible. It is important that your Oklahoma drug trafficking defense lawyer is familiar with contesting issues dealing with confidential informants.
- An Oklahoma drug trafficking defense lawyer may claim entrapment. While this is a risky defense, it can help you reach the desired outcome in your drug trafficking case, if the court determines entrapment occurred. For an entrapment defense, the defendant is expected to admit to committing the crime, however, the defendant's counsel is burdened with the task to prove that the crime was justifiable. The defendant may claim he or she was pressured to commit the crime due to threats. Many law enforcement officers or agencies will participate in orchestrating a larger crime to obtain a conviction for a more serious offense or to catch the “kingpin” of a drug trafficking ring. In cases that are in part orchestrated by law enforcement, entrapment may be a viable defense to drug trafficking charges.
An experienced drug trafficking defense attorney may use the following defenses and tactics to fight for you in your drug trafficking case:
- Formally request the amendment of the charges against you in your drug trafficking case;
- Seek compensation for the defendant’s cooperation and provision of substantial assistance in federal court;
- Request deferred prosecution of reduced drug charges;
- Submit to treatment and participation in programs in exchange for a reduced sentence or probation; or
- Cooperate with the government in exchange for a reduction in charges or sentence.
Quantity of Drugs in Trafficking Cases
the following specific quantities of the underlying controlled dangerous substance in Oklahoma Drug Trafficking Cases:
- Marijuana: twenty-five (25) pounds or more of a mixture or substance containing a detectable amount of marihuana;
- Cocaine: twenty-eight (28) grams or more of a mixture or substance containing a detectable amount of cocaine or coca leaves;
- Heroin: ten (10) grams or more of a mixture or substance containing a detectable amount of heroin;
- Methamphetamine: twenty (20) grams or more of a mixture or substance containing a detectable amount of amphetamine or methamphetamine;
- PCP: one (1) ounce or more of a substance containing a mixture or substance containing a detectable amount of phencyclidine (PCP);
- Cocaine Base: five (5) grams or more of a mixture or substance described in paragraph 2 of this subsection which contains cocaine base; or
- MDMA: (30) tablets or ten (10) grams of a mixture or substance containing a detectable amount of 3,4-Methylenedioxy methamphetamine
Crimes of Oklahoma: Drug Trafficking
More Information on Drug Trafficking charges and Defense in Oklahoma. The following page includes the criminal statutes and elements of the crime of Drug Trafficking in Oklahoma. Please visit this page for more information:
Contact – Cannon & Associates: Oklahoma Fierce Advocates For Drug Trafficking Defense
The punishment for drug trafficking varies. The results can lead to dismissal, reduction in charges, or in some cases substantial prison sentences. Cannon & Associates has the years of experience and expertise needed to deliver an aggressive legal representation to all clients faced with drug trafficking charges in Oklahoma, whether in state or federal court.
Founder John Cannon has been recognized as a Super Lawyer and National Trial Lawyers Top 40 under 40. Contact Cannon & Associates by completing the CONTACT FORM ON THIS PAGE NOW or CALL at 405-657-2323 for a free confidential case evaluation.