Charged with Drug Trafficking: What Should I Do?
By Davis Law Firm | October 6, 2019
Charged with a Drug Crime in Trenton, NJ
Drug crimes are taken incredibly seriously by prosecutors, especially when such crimes involve more serious offenses like trafficking or distribution. Drug trafficking and distribution involves the illegal importation, transportation, or selling of controlled substances. If a drug trafficking operation occurs in only one state, typically only state law is implicated. However, if drug trafficking and distribution occurs across state borders, then such crimes are charged at the federal level, which typically impose far more severe penalties than state law does.
Definition of a Controlled Substance
State and federal law classify drugs as controlled substances by listing them into one of five “schedules.” The schedules are grouped based on a drug’s generally accepted medicinal uses and its risks for addiction and/or abuse. The most dangerous drugs are listed in each jurisdiction’s “Schedule I” – Schedule I drugs are those that have no commonly accepted medicinal use and have the highest risks for addiction or abuse. Examples of Schedule I drugs include heroin, ecstasy, and LSD. Marijuana is also classified as a Schedule I drug under federal law, although 10 states have legalized the recreational use of marijuana and 33 states have legalized medicinal uses of marijuana.
The other schedules of controlled substances are:
- Schedule II – drugs with some accepted medicinal uses, but are highly addictive and likely to be abused (examples include cocaine, methamphetamine, morphine, and oxycontin)
- Schedule III – drugs with some accepted medicinal uses but that pose a moderate risk of addiction and/or abuse (examples include barbiturates, anabolic steroids, and medications including small amounts of codeine)
- Schedule IV – drugs with commonly accepted medicinal uses and a moderate to low risk of addiction or abuse (examples include anti-anxiety medications like Xanax or valium, or sleep aids like Ambien)
- Schedule V – drugs with commonly accepted medicinal uses and low risk of addiction or abuse; over-the-counter medications containing limited quantities of narcotics typically fall into this schedule
Defenses to Drug Trafficking Charges
If you are charged with drug trafficking offenses, the first thing you should do is to retain an experienced drug trafficking criminal defense attorney. Depending on the facts and circumstances of your case, there may be possible factual and legal defenses you can raise against your charges.
The prosecution is required to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you were knowingly involved in the possession of controlled substances for importation, distribution, transportation, or sale. In many cases, the prosecution will try to prove knowledge through circumstantial evidence, such as if the defendant was arrested in possession of a large quantity of drugs or was in possession of drug manufacturing materials or equipment or packaging and sale equipment like scales and baggies.
An experienced criminal defense attorney may be able to raise defenses to drug trafficking charges, including:
- Challenging the probable cause underlying a search or search warrant
- Challenging the police’s failure to obtain a warrant before conducting a search
- Raising a reasonable doubt as to whether a defendant had intent to traffic or distribute controlled substances
- Raising a reasonable doubt as to whether the defendant had knowledge of the alleged drug trafficking activities
Since law enforcement uses aggressive tactics to combat drug trafficking, while drug smugglers combat these tactics by trying to role innocent parties into transporting controlled substances, these defenses may be viable in your case.
Contact an Experienced Hamilton Township Drug Defense Attorney About Your Drug Trafficking Crime Charges in New Jersey
Have you been charged with a drug related offense in New Jersey? A drug crime conviction can carry with it heavy fines, jail time, and driver’s license suspension! That is why it is imperative that you speak with a qualified drug defense lawyer about your case. The lawyers at The Davis Law Firm, LLC represent clients charged with use, possession, production, distribution, and related drug offenses in Trenton, Ewing, Lawrence, Princeton, and throughout New Jersey. Call (609) 498-7722 or fill out our confidential contact form to schedule a consultation about your case. We have an office located at 2653 Nottingham Way, Hamilton Township, NJ 08619.
The articles on this blog are for informative purposes only and are no substitute for legal advice or an attorney-client relationship. If you are seeking legal advice, please contact our law firm directly.