Dothan Alabama Drug Trafficking Defense Lawyers
The Difference Between Drug Trafficking and Drug Possession
Under Alabama law, an individual accused of drug trafficking might have sold, delivered, or transported drugs into the state in the following amounts (or more):
- 28 grams of cocaine
- 2 pounds of marijuana
- 28 grams of methamphetamine, or
- 4 grams of morphine or heroin
- 4 grams of LSD
The above quantities for state criminal charges also apply at the federal level. The jurisdiction of federal laws has concurrent jurisdiction with state law. A person may face dual prosecution if they cross state lines with drugs. (The possession of over 500 grams of cocaine could mean many years behind bars in a state penitentiary if found guilty.)
Criminal defense attorneys fighting charges of drug trafficking work hard to avoid a federal case in favor of letting the state of Alabama handle the lawsuit.
Drug Trafficking in AL: Serious Legal Repercussions
The drug trafficking laws in Alabama are very stringent. The consequences of an unfavorable verdict include mandatory jail time, massive fines, and lengthy prison sentences. The Alabama drug trafficking statute provides a mandatory minimum jail sentence for people found guilty of drug trafficking in the state.
Mandatory Three-Year Prison Time
Being found with the following amounts of prohibited drugs carries a mandatory three-year jail sentence:
- 2 pounds, but below 100 pounds of marijuana
- 28 grams, but below 500 grams of cocaine
- 4 grams, but under 14 grams of morphine, heroin, or opiates
- 4 grams, but under 14 grams of LSD
- 1,000 pills, but under 5,000 pills comprising methaqualone
- 500 pills, but under 1,000 pills containing hydromorphone
- 28 grams, but under 500 grams of X /Ecstasy
- 4 grams, but under 14 grams of PCP
- 28 grams, but under 500 grams of Amphetamines
- 28 grams, but under 500 grams of Methamphetamine
- 56 grams, but under 500 grams of synthetic controlled substances
In such cases, the court will impose a mandatory fine of $50,000 under the Alabama drug trafficking statute.
Mandatory Five-Year Jail Sentence
The Alabama drug trafficking statute imposes a mandatory minimum prison sentence of five years for offenders found with drugs in the following amounts:
- 100 pounds but under 500 pounds of marijuana
- 500 grams but under one kilo of cocaine
Alabama drug trafficking charges can lead to longer sentences under the Alabama drug trafficking statute. In cases involving certain higher quantities of drugs, these sentences include mandatory minimum prison time of 15, 25, and life without parole.
Class C Felony Drug Cases: Multiple Defendants
Multiple defendants are involved in nearly all drug trafficking cases in AL. Law enforcement personnel usually have contact with only one individual who is found transporting the drugs. However, if the defendant cooperates, multiple other parties can be found to be involved in the drug trafficking operation.
If a drug trafficking case in AL involves multiple defendants, including the other defendants, it can affect the case via cooperation agreements. In general, the first individual who cooperates gets reduced sentences compared to accused individuals who choose not to cooperate and take their chances at trial, who, if convicted, face harsher penalties.
Therefore, your Alabama drug defense lawyer’s timely action may mean a lighter sentence for you under the drug court program in AL. Further, an AL drug court can allow the reduction of your charge to possession, rather than trafficking.
In case there are multiple defendants, it is vital to have an Alabama drug trafficking attorney present to negotiate with the prosecutor and the state to try to have the penalties mitigated or acquire immunity from the state for their cooperation in prosecuting the lawsuit.
Defenses for Charges of Drug Trafficking
Drug trafficking is a serious charge, and prosecutors are likely to pursue such charges in an exceptionally aggressive manner. In fact, the prosecution may think of this type of case as “taking out a drug kingpin.”
It is incumbent upon the prosecution to prove every aspect of their case “beyond a reasonable doubt,” which is a challenging undertaking. In drug trafficking cases, whether or not you were legally in possession of the illegal substance is critical. Possession does not necessarily mean on your actual person. The prosecution can argue “constructive possession,” which means that they were in a place under your control. At times, prosecutors can take this aspect too far.
For example, they may argue that a substantial supply of drugs found on your property, but you do not routinely maintain the building. This creates grounds to challenge the constructive possession charges.
Another central element is the quantity of drugs found. If the prosecutor is unable to prove that you had 2.2 pounds of marijuana rather than 2.19 pounds, the charges could be changed from trafficking to possession. Possession with intent to distribute is also a lesser charge with substantially reduced penalties. The specific circumstances of your case will determine the best defense for you. A seasoned criminal defense lawyer can review those specifics and help you create a robust defense.
Also, law enforcement personnel must follow strict protocol when collecting evidence or risk breaching your Fourth Amendment rights. If they cannot meet those standards, it is possible to have any evidence found during an illegal search to be made inadmissible.
Work with an Aggressive Drug Trafficking Defense Attorney in Alabama
The aggressive, experienced criminal defense lawyers at the law offices of Smith & McGhee fight hard to protect your rights in a drug trafficking case. We defend clients against serious state or federal drug trafficking allegations and focus on creating the strongest defense possible depending on the specifics of the case. Often, drug trafficking cases are the outcome of long-term surveillance measures, extensive research, and even informants’ use.
The information sourced using these methods can sometimes be inaccurate or incomplete, which a skilled and experienced lawyer can use to demolish the case against you. We will mount a robust defense to refute any incorrect or insufficiently supported charges against you, as well as unlawful searches and violations of your rights by over-enthusiastic law enforcement officers.
If a trial is imminent, our legal team will prepare meticulously for the legal and factual elements of a significant drug case, including engaging experienced investigators, experts, and others required to prove that you deserve a verdict of “not guilty.” If you or someone close to you is facing drug trafficking charges, call promptly at (334) 702-1744 to schedule a free initial consultation.