Can My Prior Criminal History Affect My Drug Trafficking Case
The possession of illegal drugs, prescription drugs, and even drug paraphernalia could all lead to a criminal drug charge in Oklahoma. Drug trafficking charges are some of the most serious offenses an individual could face and can be prosecuted through either the state or federal court systems. A drug trafficking charge alongside a history of previous convictions can increase the severity of potential penalties.
Oklahoma’s hard-line stance on drug trafficking, combined with statutes that allow for enhanced penalties for repeat offenders and the three strikes rule, increase the critical nature of a drug trafficking charge with a criminal record. In some circumstances, an individual could find themselves facing a substantial amount of time behind bars or even life in prison if convicted.
Cannon & Associates criminal defense attorneys have a wealth of experience defending clients against drug charges in both federal and state courts. We know what is at stake in a drug trafficking case, and have what it takes to build a strong defense against such serious charges. We understand the substantial implications that a criminal history can have on the outlook of a drug trafficking case, and will fight passionately for your freedom and to secure the best possible outcome.
A criminal history can severely impact a drug trafficking case and increase the risk of losing your freedom. To discuss your defense, schedule a free and confidential consultation with a skilled Oklahoma drug defense attorney by calling the Cannon & Associates team at 405-591-3935.
Drug Trafficking Criminal Charges In Oklahoma
An individual could be facing criminal charges for drug trafficking of either illegal drugs or prescription drugs. The main differences between a drug trafficking charge as opposed to a drug possession charge are the quantity of the substance involved and the intent to distribute. Drug trafficking offenses can be charged under either the state or federal system. Oklahoma’s trafficking in illegal drugs laws strictly prohibit:
- Knowingly manufacturing, distributing, possessing, or bringing a controlled substance into the state above specific quantity thresholds.
- Possessing any controlled substance above the specific quantities with intent to manufacture a controlled substance.
- Involving minors under the age of 18 to distribute or manufacture a controlled substance.
Substance Thresholds For A Trafficking Charge
Oklahoma Statute 63-2-415 outlines the thresholds of quantities of substances for a drug trafficking charge. It is worth noting that for a drug trafficking charge, the substance in question does not have to be 100% composed of the illegal drug.
To secure a charge, the mixture only needs to weigh over the specified threshold and test positive for a detectable amount of the drug in question. Specific quantities per substance are as follows:
- Heroin – 10 grams
- Oxycodone – 400 grams
- Fentanyl – 1 gram
- Marijuana – 25 pounds
- Cocaine, cocaine base, or coca leaves – 28 grams
- Amphetamine or methamphetamine – 20 grams
- Lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD) – 1 gram
- Benzodiazepine – 500 grams
Drug Trafficking Penalties
Drug trafficking penalties in Oklahoma are harsh, and if you are convicted, you could be looking at sacrificing your freedom for a long time. Even a first-offense drug trafficking charge is punishable by up to 20 years behind bars. Additionally, most individuals serving a custodial sentence for drug trafficking in Oklahoma must complete at least 50% of their sentence before they can be eligible for parole.
A conviction will also result in a permanent criminal record. Often a drug crime on your record is viewed poorly in society and can significantly hinder your future and limit your access to future opportunities, such as work and education.
Fines for drug trafficking offenses in Oklahoma can be eye-waveringly high, with charges involving some substances, such as oxycodone and fentanyl, carrying mandatory minimum fines of $100,000.
As of 2018, a first offense of drug trafficking does not carry a mandatory minimum sentence. However, penalties in Oklahoma are still severe and can include up to 20 years of incarceration for a first-time drug trafficking conviction. If convicted, you can also face a fine of up to $500,000 and additional fees to support the Oklahoma Trauma Care Assistance Revolving Fund.
Prior convictions will likely increase the severity of penalties you face for a drug offense. If you have a previous conviction for drug trafficking and receive a second conviction you could face penalties of a minimum of four years of incarceration up to a maximum of life and a fine of up to $500,000. Depending on the substance, some drug trafficking charges carry a mandatory minimum fine of $100,000.
A drug trafficking charge could be escalated to an aggravated trafficking charge if the offense involved large quantities of illegal drugs. The potential prison sentences for an aggravated trafficking conviction are the same as those for a standard drug trafficking conviction in Oklahoma.
However, aggravated trafficking is considered an 85% offense under Oklahoma law. The 85% crime law means that if convicted, an individual will not be eligible for parole until they have served at least 85% of their sentence.
In comparison to other states, Oklahoma has some of the strictest laws regarding penalties for criminal offenses, particularly felonies. Oklahoma has a specific habitual offender statute that allows prosecutors to enhance the penalties an individual can face if they receive a second conviction within ten years of an initial felony.
The specific way a penalty is enhanced is down to the discretion of the Judge. It will not be cruel or excessive but could result in a longer prison sentence or larger fines, for example.
Oklahoma Three Strikes Law
The Oklahoma three strikes law outlines some of the harshest penalties for repeat offenders in the state. If an individual is convicted of three criminal offenses, one of which is a violent felony charge, they could be sentenced to life in prison for their third offense.
This law can have life-changing consequences and should be a consideration for all offenders with a criminal history. The three strikes law is one of many reasons that securing the best possible attorney to increase your chances of avoiding conviction is essential.
How Will My Criminal History Affect My Charges?
Previous criminal convictions can affect the penalties associated with a drug trafficking conviction in several ways. For example, if you already have a conviction for drug trafficking and are convicted for a second time, your penalties are likely to include a mandatory minimum prison sentence of four years to life. A third drug trafficking offense in Oklahoma carries a mandatory minimum prison sentence of seven to 20 years, up to a maximum of life.
Additionally, Oklahoma’s habitual offenders statute allows the court to enhance the penalties you face for a drug trafficking charge if you have a prior felony criminal conviction from less than ten years ago.
Prior felony convictions can seriously impact the potential outlook of any drug trafficking charges you are facing, particularly if you have been convicted of a violent felony. If you have a previous violent felony conviction for offenses such as felony domestic violence, aggravated assault, rape, and some weapons offenses, the three strikes rule could apply to you. If this law does apply to you, and you are facing your third criminal conviction, you could be sentenced to life in prison.
Will My Assets Be Seized?
The Uniform Controlled Dangerous Substances Act in Statute 63-2-503 permits the seizure of assets considered proceeds of drugs. This statute aims to remove the profit of drug trafficking and reduce the financial incentives of such offenses.
Any real estate and vehicles used for drug trafficking offenses, as well as any property used to store drugs and cash found in close proximity to drugs, paraphernalia, or manufacturing equipment, can all be seized by the state.
Contact Cannon & Associates Drug Defense Attorneys As Soon As Possible
Drug trafficking charges are not to be taken lightly, and the stakes are even higher if you have a criminal history. Depending on your prior convictions, you could be facing enhanced penalties, mandatory minimum sentences, fines of up to half a million dollars, and in some circumstances, life in prison.
If you have a previous violent felony conviction, the stakes can’t get much higher for you. Even if this offense is not your third strike, another conviction could count towards your three and leave you closer to receiving a lifetime prison sentence.
If you are facing drug trafficking charges with a criminal record, you can’t afford to take chances with less than adequate representation. The risk of losing your freedom and spending a considerable portion of your life behind bars is high, alongside life-changing fines that can affect your future outside prison. Experienced legal representation is crucial to fight your charges and increase the likelihood of a favorable outcome.
At Cannon & Associates, our Oklahoma criminal defense attorneys have successfully represented hundreds of clients in courtrooms across Oklahoma. Founded by former prosecutors, our team has an in-depth knowledge of the criminal justice system in Oklahoma and over 30 years of experience fighting on behalf of our clients. This in-depth understanding allows us to develop bespoke defense strategies, drawing upon our experience and knowledge to deliver the best possible chance of beating your charges or securing reduced penalties.
Drug trafficking is taken very seriously in Oklahoma, and trafficking charges can be challenging to beat. Rest assured, at Cannon & Associates, we are up for the challenge. If you have been charged with drug trafficking, seek legal representation as soon as possible. The sooner you secure legal counsel, the more time your attorney has to perfect your defense strategy.
Do not take the risk of facing such potentially life-changing charges without reputable legal representation by your side. Contact Cannon & Associates today to schedule your free case evaluation and consultation by calling us at 405-591-3935.
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