What Is The Difference Between Drug Trafficking And Drug Distribution Charges
Oklahoma’s geographic position within the United States means some areas and specific state highways are hot spots for drug trafficking activity. This activity is one of many reasons that Oklahoma has some of the strictest drug laws, charges, and associated penalties in the United States.
Almost all drug crimes in Oklahoma are felony charges, with the exception of simple drug possession. Drug trafficking and distribution offenses are serious crimes that could result in an extensive period of someone’s life in prison if convicted.
The main differences between drug trafficking and distribution offenses are the weight of drugs involved, and the potential penalties associated with each charge. While a drug trafficking charge has minimum quantities of drugs that must be found to qualify, there is no minimum amount of substance required for an individual to be charged with drug distribution.
A conviction for either drug trafficking or distribution can have life-changing consequences. Between harsh custodial sentences and mandatory minimums, even for first-time offenses, eye-watering fines, and a permanent criminal record, a conviction can be devastating to your life, freedom, and future.
Cannon & Associates Drug Charge Defense Attorneys
Cannon & Associates is a highly-rated, reputable law firm providing fierce criminal defense services for anyone facing drug charges in Oklahoma. Our team has over 30 years of experience fighting a vast range of drug charges in the state, ranging from first-time misdemeanor possession charges to high-stakes federal drug trafficking cases.
Our team of former prosecutors has experience on both sides of the criminal justice system, and we know what it takes for the prosecution to secure a conviction. We use this first-hand knowledge to our client’s benefit to counter the state’s case against you and provide a compelling, well-evidenced, and strategic defense. We are aggressive and tenacious in our representation and will fight to protect your freedom from the potential repercussions of a drug trafficking or distribution conviction.
Secure fierce representation and give yourself the best possible chance of a successful outcome with Cannon & Associates criminal defense attorneys. Contact our legal team today at 405-591-3935 to book a free, confidential consultation to discuss how we can help your case.
Drug Trafficking Charges In Oklahoma
An individual may be charged with drug trafficking if they are found in possession of an amount of illegal drugs or some prescription drugs over the specified minimum amount for a trafficking charge.
You could face trafficking charges in Oklahoma under either state or federal law. In Oklahoma, both state and federal charges for drug trafficking carry harsh punishments. If convicted, there is the potential for extortionately large fines, minimum jail sentences, and extensive periods of time behind bars.
One main difference between drug distribution and trafficking is the quantities involved in a trafficking charge. The quantity thresholds for common controlled substances that could result in trafficking in charges include the following:
- Cocaine – 28 grams
- Marijuana – 25 pounds
- Oxycodone – 400 grams.
- Methamphetamine – 20 grams
- Heroin – 10 grams
An individual may be charged with drug distribution, as opposed to trafficking, if they are found by law enforcement in possession of a substantial quantity of a controlled substance below these thresholds.
Drug Trafficking Penalties
A drug trafficking charge carries harsh penalties and can result in a substantial period of incarceration. For a first-time drug trafficking offense, you could face up to 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $500,000. Depending on the substance, there may be a mandatory minimum fine in place of $100,000.
Past convictions can also play a role in the severity of drug trafficking penalties. An individual with a criminal history could find themselves facing enhanced penalties under the Oklahoma habitual offenders statute or a mandatory minimum sentence of four years up to life in prison if this is their second drug trafficking conviction.
Drug Distribution Charges In Oklahoma
Possession with intent to distribute is an elevated charge from simple drug possession. An individual could be charged with possession of a controlled substance with the intent to distribute if they are found with a quantity of drugs that a police officer believes is more than would be considered for personal use. Additional evidence such as scales, drug paraphernalia, cash, baggies, and witness statements, could also be used to support a distribution charge.
Drug possession with intent to distribute is a felony offense, as opposed to simple possession, which is often a misdemeanor charge. Additionally, an individual does not have to have sold drugs for money to face distribution charges. The offense is the actual distribution, as opposed to the sale of drugs. As such, the act of giving a controlled substance to a friend could be grounds for a drug distribution charge.
Drug Distribution Penalties
Penalties for drug distribution are typically less severe than those for drug trafficking in Oklahoma. However, they are still far more severe than those for simple possession. Depending on the specific circumstances of the offense and the substances involved, a conviction can still carry a mandatory minimum sentence and a considerable amount of time in prison.
Usually, penalties for a drug distribution conviction included a mandatory minimum sentence of two years, up to life in prison, even for a first offense. Individuals may also face a fine of up to $20,000 or $100,000 if the offense involved a schedule I or schedule II substance. The minimum sentence an individual can face could also increase to five years with the involvement of Schedule I or II substances, such as heroin, cocaine, and oxycodone.
Penalties can be increased if an individual is found distributing drugs in certain settings and with aggravating factors, such as distributing to minors under the age of 18, or within 2,000 feet of a school, playground, or housing project. The exact penalty will vary with every case, but a prison sentence could even be doubled if the offense included such aggravating factors.
Drug Possession Charges In Oklahoma
Oklahoma’s drug possession laws have been relaxed in recent years. As a result, drug possession is the only drug offense in Oklahoma that can be charged as a misdemeanor. Unlawful, or simple, possession of substances such as Marijuana is a misdemeanor, punishable by up to one year in jail and a fine of up to $1,000.
However, there is no minimum amount for a possession charge to be elevated to a felony possession with intent to distribute charge. If you are found sharing drugs with your friend or caught with any amount of illegal drugs, alongside evidence such as scales, cash, or baggies, that could indicate distribution, you could face more severe charges.
Do I Need An Attorney For Drug Charges In Oklahoma?
Most drug offenses in Oklahoma carry serious charges and penalties, especially drug trafficking and distribution offenses. Representation from an experienced attorney could be the difference between facing the most severe charges and penalties and lesser charges, more lenient sentences, and even avoiding a conviction entirely.
An experienced attorney will always go into your case with the intention of having your charges dropped or your case dismissed. They will scrutinize the prosecution’s case against you and exploit any weaknesses, errors, or inconsistencies to weaken their argument and increase your chances of a successful outcome. Your criminal defense attorney will also gather evidence and witness testimony to support your defense and provide a compelling argument against the prosecution.
In situations where it is not possible to have your charges dismissed entirely, a skilled attorney may be able to negotiate a lesser charge in your case. For example, if you are facing drug trafficking charges, these could potentially be reduced to distribution charges, and if you are facing a distribution charge, it could be possible to have it reduced to a simple possession charge.
The criminal defense attorneys at Cannon & Associates have a comprehensive understanding and experience of the criminal justice system in Oklahoma. Our team comprises former prosecutors and assistant district attorneys with extensive experience in a wide variety of drug cases in state and federal courts. We pride ourselves on fierce advocacy for our clients and strive to achieve the best possible outcome in every case.
Having an attorney from Cannon & Associates by your side during your drug crime case can give you peace of mind that your lawyer is leaving no stone unturned when it comes to fighting your charges and protecting your freedom.
Book Your Free Case Evaluation With Cannon & Associates Criminal Defense Attorneys
Although drug distribution could be viewed as a less severe charge than drug trafficking, both offenses can lead to substantial time behind bars, sizable fines, and permanent felony convictions on your criminal record. In more severe situations, an individual could sacrifice a substantial portion of their life to incarceration if convicted, with both charges carrying the potential of life sentences. If you avoid life-changing prison sentences, just the fines associated with these convictions can have substantial repercussions for your future.
It can be unnerving that an individual could find themselves facing drug distribution charges without knowingly distributing or selling substances, purely by sharing their drugs with a friend or possessing an amount that a police officer believes is more than for personal use.
Regardless of how you came to be facing drug charges, experienced legal counsel is a necessity to increase your chances of a favorable outcome from your case. Oklahoma has some of the strictest penalties for drug trafficking and distribution offenses and prosecutes these charges aggressively. You will need a fierce advocate representing you to fight your charges and provide you with a strong defense.
As soon as you secure your representation, your attorney can begin early, aggressive intervention with the aim of having your case dismissed or charges dropped before you even reach a trial. Do not take risks with charges such as drug distribution and trafficking. Secure legal counsel as soon as possible to protect yourself and your future. Contact Cannon & Associates today to discuss possible defense strategies and how we can help you fight your charges. Call our legal team at 405-591-3935 to book your free consultation.
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