Drug trafficking occurs in situations where a person allegedly imports or transfers drugs from outside of Virginia to somewhere inside of Virginia with the intent to further distribute that drug to others. This is a separate drug crime from whatever the accused may have done before or after bringing the drugs into Virginia. Being found responsible for endangering people by transporting dangerous controlled substances could significantly aggravate the punishment that the prosecution is seeking in the case, or the punishment that the judge feels is appropriate to give if the accused is convicted of the charge.
A defendant may be recommended to consult a Prince William County drug trafficking lawyer when facing criminal allegations. Experienced criminal attorneys may be able to build a defense case on behalf of the accused person.
Drugs crossing a Virginia border is an element of a trafficking charge and plays a substantial role in these cases. It may be the only element that could be legitimately disputed in a trafficking case, since it may be difficult to prove if the defendant has not made any admissions about an interstate transfer.
Drug trafficking cases may involve multiple defendants since interstate drug commerce is rarely attempted or sustained by just a single individual. The inclusion of multiple defendants typically complicates an accused’s defense to the charges. It could create great pressure for one defendant to turn on another in exchange for a better plea deal, which is referred to as ‘flipping.’ This may disrupt a unified defense strategy, the acquisition of evidence, and could create hearsay and confrontation problems for the adverse defendants. It may also cause a fight between the defense and the prosecution about whether each defendant’s trial will be done simultaneously or separately and in the same place.
Drug trafficking charges could be proven with transportation by any means, which may include the mail. Recipients of imported drugs may still be charged as accomplices to the importation. If the drug in question is a Schedule I or II Drug, the quantity threshold is very low, (usually just one ounce or more).
Drug trafficking charges also carry sizeable penalties. A first offense could be punishable by 5 to 40 years in prison, with a 3-year mandatory minimum and a $1 million fine. While a second or a subsequent offense could be punishable by the same penalties, there is a 10-year mandatory minimum term of imprisonment.
If you were accused of bringing drugs into the Commonwealth of Virginia, you could face serious penalties including jail time. For help crafting a strong defense, you should consider contacting an experienced criminal attorney as soon as possible. Call today to set up a consultation.
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