The law surrounding drug-related criminal activity in North Carolina and on a federal level can quickly become confusing. Different terms for activities that seem similar exist, and if you are facing allegations after a recent arrest, you certainly do not want to confuse a more serious charge with a less serious accusation. After all, the type of formal charges against you could affect the potential consequences.
If you stand accused of drug trafficking charges, you face a more serious predicament than if authorities accused you of simple possession. Drug trafficking falls into the category of a federal crime, which means that the penalties in the event of a conviction are steeper and could have longer lasting effects on your life.
What should you know about drug trafficking?
Because drug trafficking is a federal crime, the laws pertaining to this type of activity apply to the entire country. However, the penalties could change depending on the area in which the alleged trafficking occurred. It is also important to note that if the trafficking does not cross state lines, state laws for handling the matter will apply.
Federal trafficking laws apply when authorities suspect a person or multiple people distributed controlled substances across state lines. Federal laws make it illegal to manufacture, distribute, dispense, or possess controlled or illegal substances. Trafficking laws and charges could apply depending on the amount of a particular substance that authorities find during an investigation. Typically, if investigators find a large quantity of a substance, distribution or trafficking allegations may result.
What are possible consequences?
For federal drug trafficking convictions, the consequences that could include the following:
- 50 kilograms of marijuana could result in a maximum of five years in prison.
- 1 kilogram of heroin, 1000 kilograms of marijuana or 5 kilograms of cocaine could lead to 10 years to life in prison.
- 500 grams of cocaine or 100 grams of heroin could result in five to 40 years in prison.
Understandably, if you are facing federal charges, you would want to avoid such consequences if possible. These cases are taken seriously by the court, and you would be wise to take the predicament seriously as well. As your case moves forward, you may want to ensure that you understand your criminal defense options and legal rights as well as possible.