Drug Trafficking and Smuggling
Drug and narcotics offenses are some of the most widely prosecuted crimes in Kentucky. In state and federal courts, prosecutors aggressively pursue people accused of drug crimes, particularly those related to smuggling or trafficking.
If you are under investigation for one of these crimes or have been charged with drug trafficking in Kentucky, the stakes are incredibly high. At Ron Aslam Law Office, our practice is devoted to defending the rights and interests of clients throughout the Louisville and surrounding area.
This is something you need to take seriously and deal with immediately. Contact our office today to schedule a free consultation.
The Complexities of Drug Trafficking
When people hear the term drug trafficking or smuggling, the most common thing that comes to mind is drug transportation. In reality, trafficking is just a label that is used to describe a wide variety of serious drug-related crimes.
According to the federal government and the state of Kentucky, drug trafficking can include the following offenses:
- Possessing illegal substances
- Selling illegal substances
- Purchasing illegal substances
- Manufacturing illegal substances
- Transporting illegal substances
This isn’t the end to the confusion, however. Any of the crimes just listed are only punishable as drug trafficking when certain amounts of an illegal substance are present. This amount will vary depending on the substance, but it doesn’t take much. For example, you can be charged with trafficking marijuana with just eight ounces in your possession.
Penalties for Drug Trafficking in Kentucky
Anyone convicted of a drug trafficking charge can easily find themselves facing years or decades in prison. The decision to charge a person with trafficking instead of just drug possession in Kentucky is typically based on factors such as the quantity of the drug found, how the drugs were packaged, the presence of large amounts of cash, and other items such as plastic bags and scales.
The penalties are most severe for trafficking charges related to Schedule I and Schedule II substances, but your case can also intersect with federal charges if it’s alleged that you’ve violated federal law or crossed state lines.
Similar to other states, Kentucky imposes significant penalties for drug trafficking that include:
- Prison – Even for a first-time offender, a drug trafficking conviction often results in a prison sentence of over a year. If you’re convicted of trafficking in the first-degree, which involves a Schedule 1 or Schedule II substance, the penalty can be 10 years or more in prison.
- Fines – Fines can also be significant for these crimes. These can range from $500 to $1,000 as a starting point and are at the discretion of the courts.
- Probation – While probation is possible in some minor cases, this is generally only achieved as part of a plea bargain where there is a guilty plea to a lesser charge.
- Mandatory Minimum Sentences – Kentucky imposes mandatory minimum jail and prison sentences for drug trafficking convictions. For example, trafficking in the second degree has a mandatory minimum sentence of one year for a class D felony and five years for a class C felony.
Defenses Against a Drug Smuggling or Trafficking Charge
While a drug trafficking charge is serious, it’s not the same thing as a conviction. You’ve been accused of a crime in the eyes of the law, but you also have rights.
The police might have done something wrong, or the circumstances of your case might be such that your charges should be dropped entirely. In the alternative, there might be an argument for a reduction in charges to something with less harsh penalties.
Some of the common defenses our law office has used against drug smuggling and trafficking charges include:
- Unlawful search and seizure. You have the right to be free from illegal searches and seizure, according to the U.S. Constitution. If your home, office, vehicle, or person was illegally searched, your attorney can use this as a defense and ask that your charges be dismissed.
- No Miranda Rights. By law, you must be read your Miranda Rights upon arrest and before questioning by law enforcement. If this didn’t happen, any statements you give could be thrown out, and your charges might be dropped.
- Lack of Knowledge. While ignorance of the law isn’t a defense, it can reduce the severity of your situation in the eyes of the court. If you had no idea that you were trafficking drugs and there is no proof of this, you might have a strong case for at least a reduction in charges.
- Duress. If you were moving drugs because your safety or that of your loved ones was threatened, this could be a valid defense.
- Coercion. A bit different from duress, law enforcement will sometimes “trick” people into committing crimes so that they can achieve an arrest. This is referred to as entrapment, and it can be used as a defense in this type of case.
- Mistake of Fact. With this defense, you are stating that you assumed the substance you were transporting was something other than illegal drugs. In other words, you thought those boxes were really filled with candy as labeled instead of cocaine.
- Not for Human Consumption. Perhaps you were carrying a substance and had knowledge of this, but it was not meant for human consumption. If there is another legal purpose for the substance, this could be used as a defense.
These are the most common defenses for this type of charge, but every case is unique. It’s critical that you get a reputable criminal defense attorney on your side immediately that will investigate these charges and pursue every legal remedy possible to minimize your exposure to consequences.
You Need the Strongest Legal Defense Possible
If you are facing drug smuggling or trafficking charges in Kentucky, your future and freedom are at stake. From altered relationships to a ruined career, no area of your life is left unaffected by a case like this.
At Ron Aslam Law Office, we understand the seriousness of your situation and will do everything possible to achieve a positive outcome in your case. With his vast experience in criminal law, attorney Ron Aslam can anticipate the prosecution’s strategy and craft an effective defense.
Don’t be taken advantage of by an inequitable system. Call our Louisville office today at 502.581.1676 to schedule your initial consultation.