Can I be Charged with Drug Trafficking if I Didn’t Know the Drugs were in My Possession?
Crimes involving illegal drugs are some of the most serious offenses a person can commit in Oklahoma. Among them, drug trafficking is one of the most severe drug crimes. As a federal offense, if you are successfully convicted and found guilty you can expect a huge fine, a long stint in prison, and a criminal record that will impact your ability to live normally for the rest of your life.
However, being accused of drug trafficking is not the same as being convicted – especially if you are able to argue that you did not know the drugs in question were in your possession. It is possible to get the charges leveled against you either diminished or dismissed entirely, especially with the assistance of a skilled criminal defense lawyer. They will help you collect and collate evidence into a strong defense and work tirelessly to reduce the impact of your accusation.
The sooner you contact a criminal defense attorney, the greater chance you stand of achieving a favorable result in your drug trafficking case. For more information about how the drug trafficking defense lawyers at our law firm could help you, call us today for a free consultation.
The number to call is 405-591-3935.
What Is Drug Trafficking?
Drug trafficking charges are more severe than simple drug possession charges.
They usually involve an amount of illegal drugs in the possession of the accused that implies distribution, or catching the accused in the process of transporting large quantities of illegal drugs.
The Drug Possession Boundaries For Drug Trafficking
The legal boundary between possession of drugs and trafficking of drugs will differ depending on the type of controlled substance in question. Higher Schedule drugs will usually be punished more severely, with a lower amount of them needed in possession for trafficking charges to be leveled.
Here are some examples of amounts of possession of drugs that will trigger an accusation of drug trafficking:
- Crack cocaine – 5 grams
- Heroin – 10 grams
- MDMA (Ecstasy) – 10 grams or 30 pills
- Amphetamine and methamphetamine – 20 grams
- Cocaine – 28 grams
- PCP – 28 grams
- LSD (Acid) – 50 tabs
- Marijuana – 25 pounds
Drug trafficking accusations can also be made due to possession of prescription drugs. For prescription drugs, the number of grams encompasses the whole medicine or tablet, not just the controlled ingredient.
Here are some examples of drug trafficking boundaries for prescription substances:
- Oxycodone – 400 grams
- Benzodiazepine – 500 grams
- Morphine – 1,000 grams
- Hydrocodone – 3,750 grams
Trafficking Charges Without Knowledge Of Possession
Theoretically, if you are caught with an illegal drug in your possession without having knowledge of it, you should not receive a guilty conviction. There are many situations that could cause you to be possessing drugs without knowledge or involvement, such as:
- Situations where drugs have been planted on your person, vehicle, or house by someone else
- Situations where someone has stashed their drugs in your property or vehicle without your knowledge
However, you and your drug defense attorney will need to demonstrate this lack of knowledge. Criminal proceedings work in a way that means the prosecutor must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the accused is guilty. If you and your criminal defense attorney are able to introduce doubt that the drugs belonged to you, then you may have your charge dismissed or diminished in severity.
The Different Levels Of Possession
Oklahoma drug laws contain different types of drug possession types, which can influence the way your case is perceived.
These are constructive possession and actual possession. As drug trafficking operations are often complex affairs, the person with actual control of the criminal enterprise is often not the person in physical possession of the drugs found by law enforcement.
We will explain the difference between constructive possession and actual possession in the following sections.
What Constructive Possession Means In Relation To Drug Charges
Constructive possession means that somebody has knowledge of the existence of the drugs and the ability and the intent to control their use and distribution. As per Oklahoma drug laws, this person does not need to have physical possession of the drugs
This is a common scenario, as the person with actual control of a trafficking operation will try to avoid circumstances where they could be caught with drugs on their person and easily convicted of the crime.
What Actual Possession Means In Relation To Drug Charges
Actual drug possession is different from constructive possession in that it requires actual physical possession of the substance – either on the body, in the property, or in the car or other vehicle of the accused.
The good news with this type of drug possession is that it is often more easily fought than a drug possession charge of constructive possession that implies intent or control of the substances.
For example, you may not be aware that someone you share your car or property with is using that space to store marijuana (or any other type of drug) for their drug distribution operation.
If this is the case with your drug trafficking or drug possession charge, you will still need a skilled criminal defense attorney to assemble the evidence and fight the prosecutor in the trial to cast doubt and get your charge dismissed or diminished. Contact us today for a free consultation to see how we could help with your court case.
Can You Be Charged With Drug Trafficking For Drugs That Were Mailed Or Shipped To You?
It is possible for you to receive a drug charge of illegal possession or trafficking if you receive drugs in the mail. However, this is not a foregone conclusion. In some circumstances, you may be able to cast doubt on the prosecutor and demonstrate that you did not have control, knowledge, or play part in the process of ordering the drugs.
Once again, you will need to present a strong case to the jury at the trial to stand a chance of the best possible outcome here. As such, you will need a skilled and experienced drug defense lawyer to fight your criminal charges.
The Consequences Of A Guilty Conviction For Drug Trafficking
If the prosecutor is able to prove beyond a reasonable level of doubt that you were engaged in the crime of drug trafficking, you will face serious consequences. What these consequences are will depend on the details of your case, namely on the Schedule and weight of the drug you are accused of possessing.
For example, if you are arrested and successfully convicted of smuggling 100 kilograms of marijuana in Oklahoma, you will face a minimum prison sentence of 10 years and a maximum of a life sentence in prison. This is made worse by the fact that suspended sentences do not apply to the crime of drug trafficking. That means you will absolutely have to serve your mandatory prison time.
There are also severe financial consequences. You will likely be facing massive fines and any assets suspected to relate to your trafficking operation may be seized. This often means vehicles, property, cash, equipment, and even entire bank accounts.
Furthermore, trafficking is a felony offense, which comes with its own set of consequences. We will explain these in the next section.
The Additional Consequences Of A Felony Conviction
As drug trafficking is a felony, there are additional consequences involved in a guilty conviction other than the obvious prison sentence and fines.
- Being unable to own a firearm
- Being unable to hold public office
- Being unable to vote
- Difficulty obtaining certain permissions and licenses
- Difficulty being competitive in the job market, as your potential employers will be able to see your criminal record and it can act as evidence against you being a good choice for employment
Furthermore, once you have a felony on your criminal record, it is there for life. There is no legal way to get a felony expunged or sealed (the technical legal terms for removal of a record) from your criminal history.
All of this should adequately demonstrate the importance of securing a skilled and experienced criminal defense attorney from a reputable law firm to fight for you. The quality of your defense may well determine the trajectory of the rest of your life.
The Five Drug Schedules Explained
In Oklahoma, drugs are divided into five Schedules depending on the potential for harm, danger, abuse, and addiction of the substance in question.
Generally speaking, the higher the Schedule (with Schedule One being the highest), the more severe the consequences for possession and the lower the quantity needed to qualify for trafficking charges.
The Schedules are as follows:
- Schedule One – Methamphetamine, heroin, crack cocaine, LSD
- Schedule Two – Fentanyl, Adderall, Oxycodone
- Schedule Three – Ritalin, steroids, ketamine, codeine
- Schedule Four – Valium, Xanax, Soma, Ambien
- Schedule Five – Parepectolin and Lomita
These are just some examples. All controlled substances will fall somewhere within the Schedule system.
You may have noticed that prescription drugs are included within the Schedule system. The only tier not including prescription drugs is Schedule One, as this is reserved for particularly dangerous drugs with no accepted mainstream medical use.
Other Possible Legal Defenses Against A Drug Trafficking Charge
There are many different cases an attorney may make for their defendant, depending on the details of the case. These may include:
- That the police who made the arrest were guilty of entrapment.
- That the police did not follow all of the necessary due processes. For example, they may have not had probable cause to search the defendant or not had a search warrant to enter a property or car. If there was no warrant or probable cause, any seized evidence is inadmissible in court.
- That the substance was miss-weighed or wrongly identified. This can cause a trafficking charge to be lowered to a less severe charge of drug possession.
- That the case is one of mistaken identity.
These are just some examples of the way an attorney could defend their client from accusations of a drug crime. An attorney from a high-quality law firm will always personalize the defense strategy of their client to the facts of their case to give them the best chance of a positive outcome.
Hire A Criminal Defense Lawyer To Fight Your Illegal Drugs Charges
If you have been charged with drug trafficking, it is absolutely essential that you secure legal support from an experienced and reputable law firm. If you are found guilty, the consequences will follow you for the rest of your life. Beyond a long prison sentence and hefty fines, you will find it hard to seek gainful employment and lose many rights such as gun ownership and voting privileges.
However, with a law firm like Cannon & Associates at your side, you will have a legal team fighting tirelessly to get the charges leveled against you diminished or dismissed entirely. We have done amazing work in the past for clients in situations similar to yours and prevented the worst consequences of their accusations.
To find out how a lawyer from our firm could help with your case, call us today for a free consultation at 405-591-3935.
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