Drug trafficking and other drug related offenses are considered a felony under the strict New York Rockefeller Drug Laws. A felony is any crime that could warrant a prison sentence of more than one year.
Nature of Drug Trafficking
The state of New York has some of the harshest drug laws in America. The Rockefeller Drug Laws were enacted and signed by Governor Nelson Rockefeller in 1973. Drug possession of 4 ounces of narcotics could land you a minimum 15-year imprisonment according to the laws.
Some of the cases involving drug trafficking include the sale of drugs and other controlled substances, possession of drugs, drug trafficking, marijuana charges, and narcotics charges.
Drug trafficking is the illegal production, transportation, and sale of drugs. According to the 10th article of the New York Penal Law, a drug trafficking felony includes any of the following charges:
• Use of a child to traffic drugs.
• Sale of controlled substances in first, second, third and fourth degrees.
• Sale of drugs and other controlled substances near school property.
• Manufacturing Methamphetamine unlawfully.
• Managing major drug trafficking operations.
Penalties for Drug Trafficking in Queens, New York
If you’re convicted of drug trafficking charges in New York, there’s a wide range of penalties that you could get. The penalty you get depends on the charges brought against you.
If you are found in possession of drugs with the intent to traffic, that is, you intended to sell them, or you manufacture them, this is a very serious case, and the prison term, as well as the bail amount and fines, go up. Factors that affect drug penalties include but are not limited to the type of drug, the amount of drugs, whether the person is receiving drug treatment, whether there was possession of firearms along with the drug trafficking charge, and whether the person had any prior convictions.
Drug possession charges could get you a maximum of 1 year in prison or a fine of $1,000. This is considered a 7th degree charge and is a misdemeanor. Criminal drug trafficking charges are classified as a fifth degree (class D felony), fourth degree (class C felony), third degree (class B felony), second degree (class A-I felony) and first degree (class A-II felony).
First degree offenders who are not major drug traffickers could face between 8-20 years in prison and fines of between $5,000 and $ 100,000. If you are a major drug trafficker, your sentence could range from 15 years to life imprisonment.
A person is considered a major drug trafficker under the following circumstances:
• Lead a drug organization for a period of 12 months or less and during this period sell drugs and collect a total of $75,000 or more.
• Profit from the knowledgeable sale of narcotics within a 6 month period and collect a total of $75,000 or more.
• If a person is in possession of drugs, sells said drugs and make a profit of $75,000 or more within a 6-month period.
Your defense team lead by the drug trafficking lawyer will come up with a number of possible defenses to help you in your case. They can choose to quote lack of intent, lack of knowledge, entrapment, infancy, and possession for personal use. If there is no intent, then the charges could be dropped or lowered to less serious charges like a misdemeanor charge. Lack of knowledge is the legal definition of ignorance. If you are under age, your defense team could plead infancy and have the criminal charges dropped. Possession for personal use is a downgrade and will get you a lesser fine and fewer years in prison. Entrapment is a case where the law enforcement forces you to break the law when you wouldn’t have ordinarily done so.
Why You Need a Lawyer if You Have a Drug Trafficking Charge Against You
You need an experienced criminal defense lawyer to assess your case and come up with the most appropriate defense for you because the stakes are high and you cannot afford to lose. A good attorney will be able to have the drug charges dropped or the sentence and fines reduced. You might even be offered the chance to have your charges dropped if you cooperate with law enforcement to bring down major drug traffickers.
Hiring a lawyer can keep you out of jail and other negative consequences.