Oklahoma City, like many other major cities in the United States, is dealing with an increase in drug abuse and drug trafficking. In response to the increased volume of drug trafficking activity through Oklahoma, specifically I-35 and I-40, local and state law enforcement agencies have cracked down on drug trafficking to reduce the number of drug traffickers moving drugs through the state. So, if you’re facing drug trafficking charges in Oklahoma, you need to consult a drug trafficking lawyer to understand the potential punishment for this offense and identify a way forward in your case.
Ask A Drug Trafficking Lawyer: What Is the Punishment for Drug Trafficking in Oklahoma City?
Type and Quantity of Drug Determine Penalty
In Oklahoma, the penalties for drug trafficking depend on the quantity and type of drug that’s involved. However, the sentence that will be imposed for a first drug trafficking conviction is always significantly greater than distribution of a specific drug. For a second drug trafficking conviction, the punishment range is even greater.
If this is your first drug trafficking offense, you may face a minimum of four to 10 years in prison, depending on the drug involved. The maximum penalty you face is a life sentence, again depending on the drug involved. You will also receive a fine of up to $500,000 of a first conviction. Drug trafficking laws in Oklahoma are strict liability offenses, meaning there is no necessary intent element. Rather, actual or constructive possession of a specific quantity of a specific illegal drug determines whether an offense meets the weight requirement for trafficking drugs or aggravated trafficking of drugs in Oklahoma. The penalties and fines increase with a greater amount or weight of illegal drugs.
The state’s Trafficking in Illegal Drugs Act specifies the minimum amount of drugs that elevate a drug distribution or possession charge to a drug trafficking charge, which is the harshest drug offense in Oklahoma. You can be charged with drug trafficking even if you are only driving through Oklahoma and have no intent to distribute the drugs you have in your possession. As stated above, drug trafficking in Oklahoma is only based on possession, either actual or constructive possession of the amount of a specific drug. The minimums for each drug are as follows.
- 50 doses of LSD
- 20 grams of methamphetamine
- 20 grams of amphetamine
- 25 pounds of marijuana
- 28 grams (or 1 ounce) of PCP
- 28 grams of cocaine
- 5 grams of crack
- 10 grams of heroin
The amounts of drugs that can trigger a trafficking charge are small in the grand scheme of things. For example, 28 grams of cocaine or PCP weighs about the same as a AA battery, while 5 grams of crack weighs the same as a nickel. You could be in possession of these drugs for personal use and still be charged with trafficking and face extremely stiff penalties, which is why hiring an experienced lawyer is vital to your case.
Penalties for Drug Distribution and Drug Trafficking
Since the penalty for a first-time trafficking offense is twice the penalty for a first-time distribution offense, the penalties for distribution determine the penalties for trafficking. The distribution of a schedule I drug (opiates, LSD, marijuana, mescaline, quaaludes, GHB, synthetic cannabinoids, etc.) is punishable by five years to life in prison and less than $100,000 in fines. Therefore, trafficking of the same substance would have a penalty of 10 years to life and less than $200,000 in fines.
The distribution of a schedule II drug (codeine, morphine, opium poppies, cocaine, synthetic THC amphetamines, methamphetamines, ritalin, Vyvanse, etc.) carries a punishment of four years to life in prison and a fine of less than $20,000. Trafficking of the same substance would carry a penalty of four years to life in prison and a fine of less than $40,000.
Schedule III, IV, and V drug distribution (anabolic steroids, barbiturates, Ativan, Klonopin, etc.) is punishable by one year in prison and a fine of less than $1,000. Therefore, trafficking of these drugs would carry a penalty of two years in prison and a fine of less than $2,000. The distribution of a schedule III, IV, and V is a misdemeanor, but trafficking is a felony, even if these drugs are considered less addictive than schedule I or II drugs.
Importance of an Experienced Drug Trafficking Defense Lawyer
They Know the Law
Trafficking is taken extremely seriously in Oklahoma, and the laws are somewhat convoluted, especially considering you could get a sentence of anywhere from two years to life depending on the type and amount of drug you had in your possession. With such a range of penalties at the judge’s discretion, you need every advantage you can get. A drug trafficking defense attorney knows the nuances of the laws and how to ensure you get the minimum penalty possible.
They Have Relationships With the Other Players
Your attorney will know the other players involved in your case, including the prosecutor, police officers, and judge. They will know what type of deal they can get you based on their past dealings with the prosecutor in your case or the Court, if you decide to resolve your case before the judge in your drug trafficking case. You want someone who knows how to negotiate on your behalf so that you don’t go to prison for a lengthy sentence because of a mistake you made by carrying drugs that perhaps you didn’t even intend to distribute.
They Won’t Make Amateur Mistakes
Every case is unique, but they all have some aspects in common, such as filing deadlines and paperwork requirements. When you hire an experienced drug trafficking defense lawyer, you’ll know that your attorney will take all the necessary steps to protect your interests and rights in your case, so that your future and your case is not decided on a technicality. Your drug trafficking case is a chess match and having an experienced Oklahoma drug trafficking defense attorney will greatly improve your chances for a positive outcome in your case.
They Won’t Judge You
If you’ve been charged with drug trafficking, you might be embarrassed and hesitant to tell anyone what happened. However, your Oklahoma criminal defense lawyer is on your side and won’t judge you based on the allegations against you. They’ll fight for your rights as a defendant, and won’t let the prosecutor get away with treating you like a criminal. Our team is dedicated to Fierce Advocacy for every client and will fight for you every step of the process.
They Allow You to Focus on Your Life
The legal process can be slow, and you don’t need to be present for all of it, especially if you’ve been granted bail. There are some hearings that you don’t have to attend that your attorney can take care of for you. Hiring an experienced criminal defense attorney allows you to put your case in their hands and know you’re getting quality representation while you deal with the impact of your case on other aspects of your life.
They Have Access to Resources
Your case may require investigation, which you should not participate in directly. Your drug trafficking defense attorney has access to professionals who can perform an investigation in your drug trafficking case and give you the best chances of success. They’ll talk to witnesses, examine police reports, and dig up evidence that supports your case, including investigating the investigation by law enforcement!
You can’t afford to hire the wrong attorney when you’re facing the possibility of a harsh sentence if you’re convicted of drug trafficking.
Conclusion – Your Fierce Advocate for Drug Trafficking Defense
Oklahoma prosecutors and law enforcement agencies do not mess around regarding drug trafficking charges and punishments. You need a Fierce Advocate to help you through the legal process and provide you with the best representation possible. Contact Cannon & Associates today to discover how we can protect your rights and help you fight your drug trafficking charges.