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Drug trafficking involves the cultivation, manufacture, distribution, and sale of substances which are subject to the Oklahoma Uniform Controlled Dangerous Substance Act. These substances include cocaine, heroin, methamphetamine, LSD, PCP, cocaine-base or “crack,” and ecstasy. Any person who manufactures, transports, or sells controlled substances can be charged with drug trafficking by any number of different law enforcement agencies and should consult with a drug trafficking defense attorney immediately.e charged with drug trafficking by any number of different law enforcement agencies.
The weight of the narcotics involved differentiates trafficking from possession with intent to distribute. Prosecutors often file cases based solely on the amount of narcotics discovered; it does not matter whether the individual was transporting, selling, or distributing the narcotics. As such, it is one of the most difficult drug charges to defend. Below is a chart of narcotics and the corresponding weights that constitute trafficking:
Drug Type [ Weight for Trafficking ]
Recently, methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA) was also added to the list of controlled dangerous substances that can result in trafficking charges based on the amount of the drug found. Any person caught with at least thirty (30) tablets or ten (10) grams of a mixture or substance containing a detectable amount of MDMA will now be charged with trafficking in illegal drugs as opposed to mere possession with intent to distribute.
The same is true for a list of other controlled dangerous substances. Possession of at least 1,000 grams of Morphine, 400 grams of Oxycodone, 3750 grams of Hydrocodone, and 500 grams of Benzodiazepine is all now classified as trafficking in illegal drugs.
Prior to November 1, 2018, anyone charged with trafficking was not eligible for probation. Consequently, they could not receive a deferred sentence or a suspended sentence if convicted. Moreover, anyone convicted was ineligible for “earned credits” once he or she enters the Oklahoma Department of Corrections. That means that a sentence will not be cut short due to “good-time” days which would normally shorten a sentence if the inmate progressed through the system without any issues.
Still, those individuals convicted under the old law could become eligible for parole once they served one-third of their sentence. The laws have changed considerably in regards to trafficking charges, though. Individuals are now eligible for deferred and suspended sentences. The tradeoff, however, is that anyone convicted of trafficking in illegal drugs now has to serve at least 50% of any prison time he or she receives prior to becoming eligible for parole or any earned credits or other credits that could reduce the length of the sentence as a whole.
The mandatory minimum for a first-time charge was previously four (4) years in prison, with a maximum penalty of up to life incarceration. With the new laws in place, however, a first-time offense of drug trafficking now has no mandatory minimum sentence. A first of offense for trafficking in illegal drugs carries a penalty of zero to twenty years in prison, with fines in the hundreds of thousands of dollars in some instances. A second violation of the Trafficking in Illegal Drugs Act carries a mandatory minimum sentence of four years to a maximum of life. A third or subsequent trafficking conviction now carries a mandatory minimum sentence of twenty years and a maximum penalty of life in prison.
Individuals charged with aggravated trafficking in illegal drugs are put in that category simply based on the amount or weight of the drug they allegedly possess. Aggravated charges carry the same punishment ranges as simple Trafficking listed above. This is good news for those facing charges, as individuals facing aggravated trafficking previously faced a mandatory minimum of fifteen (15) years in prison.
Even though the punishment ranges are the same for simple trafficking and aggravated trafficking, there is one very important difference. Aggravated trafficking is considered an 85% crime: a convict will not receive earned credits until 85% of the sentence has been served, and he or she will not become eligible for parole until 85% of the sentence has been served. This crime carries a fine as well, and anyone convicted of the crime can expect to pay up to $500,000.00.
It is important to note that not all controlled dangerous substances can lead to aggravated trafficking charges. Only the possession of certain amounts of marijuana, powder cocaine, crack cocaine, methamphetamine, amphetamine, and MDMA can result in someone being charged with aggravated trafficking in illegal drugs.
Moreover, being caught in certain locations can also enhance penalty ranges for trafficking and aggravated trafficking charges. If an individual is caught with trafficking or aggravated trafficking weight in the presence of a minor or in certain proximity of a school, park, or other similar location, he or she can face even more harsh punishment than that listed above.
Oklahoma is the heartland for drug trafficking. With I-40 and I-35 cutting across the state, many individuals find themselves transporting drugs through a state with some of the harshest drug-crime penalties in the nation. As such, most cases will begin with a stop on the interstate. Officers and troopers will regularly travel with canines which they can deploy at any given time. Oklahoma law enforcement is trained to make a stop and continue the detention in a method and manner that will be sufficient under the law. More often than not, the case will begin with law enforcement casually asking the occupant of the vehicle if he or she minds answering “a few more questions.” That threshold question can be the difference between a conviction and a dismissal of the charges.
With this in mind, it is extremely important that you hire an attorney who has handled drug trafficking cases all across the state. We have experience in fighting every aspect of drug charges. When the case hinges on an illegal stop or an unconstitutional search, our attorneys will exhaust every avenue to review all of the officer reports, dash-camera videos, and canine credentials in order to protect our clients’ Fourth Amendment rights. If there are no search and seizure issues, our lawyers can work to mitigate the case. We have had success in getting drug trafficking cases amended down to possession with intent, which removes the 50% or 85% mandatory sentence provision. Our lawyers have had success in suspending the ridiculously large fines that come with convictions. If all else fails, we have experience litigating trafficking in illegal drugs cases at preliminary hearing and jury trial. See this page to find a drug possession lawyer in Oklahoma for related information.
If you or a loved one has been charged in Oklahoma, time is of the essence. You need an experienced drug trafficking defense attorney, and you need one right now. Contact a trafficking lawyer at the Law Offices of Adam R. Banner, P.C., and retain an accomplished attorney ready to fight for your rights. Call us today at (405) 778-4800 for a free consultation.