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Former Prosecutors Dedicated to Protecting Your Rights
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Former Prosecutors Dedicated to Protecting Your Rights
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Former Prosecutors Dedicated to Protecting Your Rights

Drug Trafficking Charges and Penalties

If you have been criminally charged with drug trafficking in the state of Pennsylvania, you can face significant fines and jail time. The amount of the substance you are accused of trafficking, the type of substance, and previous criminal history, will all play a factor in your sentencing if you are found guilty. It’s important to understand the differences between drug possession, drug trafficking, and the punishments that result.

What is Drug Trafficking?

drug-traffickingWhen you are charged with drug trafficking, this means that you had more of the illegal substance on you than for a simple possession charge. Drug trafficking means that you had enough on you to distribute the drugs on a wide scale. This is a larger offense than possession with intent to sell. Possession with intent is determined by the amount of drugs you have on you when you are caught. Drug trafficking is the illegal selling of drugs for money on a large scale, and it comes with a higher penalty than possession alone. Drug trafficking focuses on mass distribution, and there are significant consequences for being found guilty of drug trafficking.

Intent to Distribute or Drug Trafficking Charge

Trafficking charges are criminal charges, and the penalties are more severe than with simple possession. Intent to distribute narcotics, also known as schedule I and schedule II drugs, is a felony charge with potential jail time of up to 15 years. You can be penalized a maximum $250,000 penalty in addition to receiving jail time, which is meant to take away your profits from selling illegal drugs.

If you are caught with PCP, meth, or cocaine, your penalties can be up to 10 years in jail and up to a $100,000 fine. When you are found with more than 1,000 pounds of marijuana, you can face the same consequences. Schedule I and II possession with intent to distribute charges face a higher penalty than for schedule IV or schedule V. When faced with charges stemming from possession with intent to distribute a schedule IV substance, you can face three years in jail and a $10,000 fine. With a schedule V substance, you can face up to one year in jail and a fine of $5000.

Federal Penalties for Drug Trafficking

The minimum penalties for drug trafficking charges are on a federal level. Your first offense can get you five to forty years in jail, and a life sentence if a death was involved. You can face a fine of up to five million dollars on your first offense. For a second drug trafficking offense, your jail sentence will be between ten years and a life sentence, with fines of up to eight million dollars. Drug trafficking charges are very serious, and you need to hire a qualified attorney to help you fight these charges to ensure your liberty.

When You’ve Been Searched Illegally

A possible defense for a drug trafficking case is an illegal search and seizure. If the police are unable to show probable cause for searching your vehicle, the search was not conducted legally. While recent changes in Pennsylvania law have made it easier for police to search a vehicle without a search warrant, they still must be able to show that there was probable cause to conduct the search. If you believe you have been searched illegally and this resulted in your charges, it’s important to meet with an experienced attorney who will defend your case in court.

Drug possession and drug trafficking charges can make it very difficult for your employment future. If you are charged with either possession or drug trafficking, your potential employers may pass on hiring you on as an employee. If you are facing drug charges, it’s important to fight these charges with a qualified attorney on your side. Drug trafficking is a serious offense, and one that is difficult for most potential employers to overlook.

If you need a criminal defense attorney in Pittsburgh or the surrounding area, call DRK Attorneys today at 855-976-2198 to schedule your free initial consultation. Together we will talk about the merits of your case, and determine how we can best defend the charges that have been made against you. It’s important to fight your charges to avoid potential jail time and heavy fines.

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Mr. Ricciuti handled three different cases for my daughter. The outcome in each was much better than expected. Charges were withdrawn and now can be expunged. He was definitely a part of getting my daughter’s life back in order. - Jim, a criminal defense client 

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Contact DRK Lawyers in Pittsburgh for a Free Consultation

Learn more about our federal fraud defense services by calling our Pittsburgh office at 855-976-2198 or by sending our legal team an email.We can discuss your charges and your options for moving forward during your free initial consultation.