An Experienced Chicago Area Drug Trafficking Attorney
Drug trafficking is a type of drug crime that involves the unlawful distribution, possession with intent to distribute, manufacture, import or export of controlled substances. It is a type of drug crime that carries with it serious sentencing because it is considered a felony, as opposed to drug possession. Depending on the amount of drugs, type of drug, and the location in which an individual is arrested, these felony charges can result in several years in prison. Additionally, the presence of any paraphernalia or accessory that aids in distribution can further solidify the charges and establish the existence of the offense.
In order to be charged with drug trafficking, the state must be able to prove that an individual possessed the drugs and intended to distribute them to others. There are a number of additional charges that can accompany a drug trafficking charge. In the investigation into whether an individual was partaking in drug trafficking, he or she may also be charged with drug transportation, importing illegal drugs, operating a drug ring, housing illegal drugs, as well as conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute and attempt to possess with intent to distribute. Some cases do not amount to a trafficking charge, but will result in conspiracy and attempt charges if the state is able to prove that the individual would have distributed had they been in his or her possession.
Federal Drug Trafficking Penalties
Federal laws regarding drug trafficking can be much more severe than state law, depending on the drug in possession. In a federal drug trafficking case, the court will look at the type and amount of controlled substance you were found with, as well as where you were arrested, and any past criminal history. The longer the criminal record, the more harsh the sentencing will be. Unlike state law, federal law looks at the federal Controlled Substances Act to determine the schedule under which a drug will be classified which then influences the sentencing guidelines as well as the rest of the case.
Fines for drug trafficking can be very hefty, equaling into the hundreds of thousands if found with large amounts of drugs in the individual’s possession. Even if it is a first time offense, prison sentencing can be over a year for the criminal, and can go as long as life in prison if this is a repeat offense for him or her. In some cases, a suspect will be able to take a plea bargain and admit guilt to a lesser crime and therefore receive mandated probation of anywhere between a few months to a few years. There are also mandatory minimum sentences that the court does not have discretion to overrule.
Illinois Drug Trafficking Penalties
Depending on the drug, some states have more lenient sentencing guidelines than others. While federally, marijuana is still considered a Schedule I drug, meaning it is viewed as having (1) high potential for abuse (2) no currently accepted medical use in the United States, and (3) a lack of accepted safety for use of the drug under medical supervision. However, many states such as Illinois, have passed legislation that acknowledges the current research proving marijuana’s medical properties for many terminally or chronically ill patients. Additionally, other states such as Colorado have no only legalized the medical use, but have also legalized the recreational use.
In Illinois, it must be shown that the suspect knowingly brought a controlled substance or causes it to be brought into the state for the purpose of delivery or with an intent to deliver elsewhere. Penalties will range depending on the classification, but if convicted of controlled substance trafficking, the individual shall be sentenced to not less than twice the minimum term and fined an amount outlined in the state statute. A Class 3 felony results in prison time between 2 to 5 years, which means that a drug trafficking offender would receive 4 to 10 years, while Class X felony would result in a minimum term of anywhere from 6 to 30 years, but not more than 60 years.
What Are Some Common Defenses?
The defenses for drug trafficking are similar to those for drug crimes. Some possible defenses will help reduce the sentence for the crime or amount to an acquittal altogether. Some of these defenses include:
- Illegal Search and Seizure – under the 4th Amendment, the search and seizure of property was not permitted;
- Lack of knowledge – individual was not aware of the drug possession on their property;
- Insanity – individual is not responsible for criminal activity due to psychiatric condition or episode;
- Infancy – individual is under 13 years old and thus lacks the ability to be held criminally responsible for his or her actions;
- Duress – due to threat of serious injury or bodily harm, the individual consented to the criminal act;
- Entrapment – an individual is illegally coerced or induced into committing a criminal act due to interaction with undercover police officers;
Contact an Illinois Drug Trafficking Defense Attorney Today
If you or someone you know has been accused of a drug crime such as drug trafficking, you need a knowledgeable criminal attorney on your side. These cases can result in lengthy prison sentencing and can also jeopardize your career and reputation if not handled properly.
Do not hesitate to contact Sami Azhari any time, day or night, weekday or weekend, to discuss your claim. Feel free to call Sami directly at (312) 626 – 2871 or (847) 255 – 2100. No commitment is required and the consultation is always free. We can help you establish the best possible legal defense for your case.