Drug Trafficking Doesn’t Require Any Intent to Sell
Video Transcribed: What should you know about drug trafficking in Oklahoma? My name is Ryan Cannonie, I am the Tahlequah Criminal Defense Attorney for the Wirth Law Office in Cherokee County. I just wanted to give you a few facts about drug trafficking charges, because I’ve had a few cases that have come up, or at least people calling about cases, and so I wanted to make sure everyone knows the facts around drug trafficking.
Well, the first thing is drug trafficking, unlike distribution and some other drug crimes, doesn’t require any intent to sell, any intent to be a trafficker, as it were. You don’t have to have aspirations of being the next Pablo Escobar or anything like that.
All you have to do is be in possession of a certain amount of controlled, dangerous substance at a certain weight. Now, these weights vary depending on what the substance is. For instance, marijuana, 25 pounds, which is a decent amount of marijuana. However, for something like methamphetamine or amphetamine, 20 grams, for LSD as low as one gram.
Now, the drug laws have changed a lot in the past few years, but drug trafficking is still something that’s taken pretty seriously by Oklahoma prosecutors.
Even though the punishment ranges have changed, they’re still pretty severe. Your first time with a drug trafficking charge you can be looking at up to 20 years in prison. If you get a second charge for drug trafficking, your punishment range can go up to four to life. If you get third, well, you’re really looking at something there. You’re looking at it no less than 20, up to life, so no less than 20 years in prison.
While some people who know about our prison system know that, well, five years could be 90 days, that’s not to be taken literally there. But depending on your good time credits, how long you stay in prison can be vastly different depending on how many credits you get.
Well, for drug trafficking, just a standard drug trafficking charge, you cannot earn credits that reduce your sentence by more than half. All those credits you’re earning, if they would reduce your sentence below 50% of the time you’re supposed to serve, you only get credit up to that 50%. You’ll be serving approximately 50% of whatever sentence you get if you go in on a drug trafficking charge.
Now, that’s assuming it’s not an aggravated charge. Aggravated is going to be a higher amount of substance. Still, the only thing they have to prove is you were in possession of a certain amount of an illegal substance. For marijuana, I believe it’s about 1,000 pounds. Some of the other substances have different amounts that are usually much higher. Methamphetamine you’re going to be looking at 450 grams and so forth throughout the different substances there.
But if you get aggravated trafficking based on those higher substance amounts, then you’re looking at the 85% rule is applied. That means you will not qualify for any type of parole until at least 85% of your sentence has been served. If you get a 10 year aggravated sentence, you’re serving eight and a half years minimum.
You can see where a drug trafficking charge has a little more teeth to it than many of our other drug charges and why it’s important to talk to an experienced attorney dealing with drug trafficking cases, specifically dealing with search and seizure aspects with drug trafficking because that’s where you’re going to end up, most cases, having a fight is whether or not the search was done correctly to find the substances.
If you’ve got questions about substances and searches, you can look at past videos I’ve put out about consensual encounters, consensual searches to see one method law enforcement uses to try to be able to search your vehicle with your consent, even if you don’t realize that’s what’s going on.
These are just some things about drug trafficking that I think you should know. The one I forgot to mention until just now that’s on my list is a big one. Drug trafficking is probation ineligible. That means that any type of drug trafficking, if that’s the charge, if it doesn’t get reduced or amended to something else, if you’re going on a drug trafficking, if you don’t like the prosecutor’s plea offer, you don’t have as good of bargaining position, as it were, to just go and a blind plea to the judge, because if you do, by law the judge is going to have to sentence you into some type of a DOC.
Whatever the years the judge puts on there, they can’t give you probation on trafficking, because it’s probation ineligible. That’s a deferred, suspended, drug court. Any of that doesn’t apply to drug trafficking. If you have questions about drug trafficking, if you have been charged with this offense, then please give us a call. Go to our tahlequahattorney.com website and send us a web form. Let us know, and we’ll see if we can help you out.