When you or your loved one faces drug trafficking charges in San Diego, the consequences are serious. The penalties may include years in prison or a huge fine if the law finds you guilty. You get both a prison sentence and a fine in the worst scenario.
The good news is that drug trafficking lawyers from Superior Law Center are here to protect you in this difficult moment. We offer you the legal guidance you can rely on. We fight for you with all possible means to help you get the best possible results. Call our criminal defense lawyer today at (619) 743-9130 for a free case evaluation.
How Does the Law Define Drug Trafficking?
According to California’s law, drug trafficking is the unlawful selling, transportation, and possession of controlled substances with the intent to distribute. Controlled substances are either illegal or prescription drugs. These drugs include (but are not limited to):
- Lysergic Acid Diethylamide (LSD)
- Unprescribed Oxycontin and Vicodin
The drug trafficking laws apply to both large-scale and small-scale operations. Trafficking is a serious offense whether you distribute controlled substances by foot, plane, vehicle, or bicycle.
Must You Be In Actual Possession of Drugs to Be Convicted of Trafficking?
When facing a drug trafficking criminal charge, the law can find you guilty even if you didn’t personally handle the drugs. The law differentiates actual possession from constructive possession.
Actual possession means you were holding the drugs in your hand or could easily access it. For example, if the police found the drugs in your pocket, the law may convict you of actual possession.
On the other hand, constructive possession means you don’t have immediate access to drugs. The law may find you guilty of constructive possession if, for instance, you hire someone to transport the drug and pay the person upon delivery.
In other words, constructive possession means you don’t have direct access but have dominion and control over the drugs intended for sale. In most cases, it’s difficult for the prosecution to prove constructive possession because it isn’t direct as actual possession.
How Serious Are Drug Trafficking Penalties?
In California, drug trafficking is a felony offense. The standard penalties for this offense include one or both of the following:
- A fine of up to $20,000
- Jail time of 3 to 9 years
However, some factors make the penalties even more severe. These factors include:
- Prior convictions of drug crimes: A first-time conviction may have less severe consequences than a third-time conviction within a specific period.
- The drug quantity in the case— the more the drugs, the more severe the consequences. Drug possession in large amounts signifies intent to sell, which worsens the penalties.
- Inter-county drug trafficking: Trafficking drugs between two or more counties in California increases the severity of the penalties.
- The type of drugs in the case: The law categorizes drugsbased on their potential for abuse and effects on the user. Trafficking dangerous drugs like heroin comes with heavier penalties than less abused drugs like valium.
- Selling drugs in high-intensity drug trafficking areas (HIDTA): These are areas with extreme drug trafficking operations.
- Trafficking drugs near school zones and treatment facilities (like rehab centers)
- Supplying drugs to specific people like minors, pregnant women, and people with mental disorders
Apart from fines and jail time, a drug trafficking conviction can negatively impact your personal and professional life. For example, the government may revoke your professional licenses and include a permanent felony record in your profile, even after serving your sentence.
Other consequences include difficulty retaining custody of your children and the government revoking your immigration documents if you’re not a citizen.
The good news is that a drug crime lawyer at Superior Law Center can help you create a powerful defense strategy for the best possible result. Contact us today to partner with a reliable lawyer that prioritizes your needs.
When Does a Drug Trafficking Offense Become a Federal Crime (Very Serious)?
A federal crime is more serious than a state offense. State and federal laws impose different penalties, with the latter more severe than the former. Federal authorities like the FBI and DEA are likely to get involved in a drug trafficking case under the following circumstances:
- When drug trafficking occurs between states or national borders
- When large amounts of dangerous drugs, like meth, are involved
- When trafficking occurs in High-Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas (HIDTA).
Penalties for federal drug trafficking offenses are extremely severe. These penalties depend on the drug quantity involved, whether the drugs caused death, injuries related to the drugs, and other factors. Generally, the minimum imprisonment period is five years and a maximum of 20 years. But if aggravating factors are considered, the maximum prison time can be 40 years or a lifetime.
A reliable attorney can help you reduce the severity of the penalties and ensure you get the best possible results from your case. Whether you’re facing state or federal charges, an experienced attorney will fight for you throughout the entire process.
"Eric is very good at being your voice in the field of law. If you need some that is responsible, when it come to taking care of your legal needs. This lawyer has gone the extra mile for me and so has the great people he works with. I thank you."
Benefits of Hiring a Reliable Lawyer in Your Drug Trafficking Case
It can be disorienting when the prosecution slaps you with a drug trafficking charge. You need reliable legal guidance when facing charges, even if you’re innocent. The following reasons explain why you need a lawyer.
1. An Attorney Helps You Prepare for the Worst
When facing criminal charges, the prosecution will work day and night to prove that you’re guilty, even if you aren’t. An attorney will help you prepare defenses that protect your rights and prioritize your freedom in the case.
2. An Attorney Helps You Understand Valuable Plea Deals
A plea deal is where a prosecutor provides a compromise in the case in exchange for a plea of guilt. Some plea agreements are good, while others are meant to make your suffering (jail time and heavy fines) start early. An attorney will explain whether or not a plea deal is worth it to ensure the best possible results in your case.
3. A Lawyer Manages All the Legal Paperwork in Your Case
Paperwork is the core of legal systems. Your lawyer will ensure you don’t miss the deadline for filing essential documents in your case.