Drug trafficking or drug distribution refers to manufacturing, selling, moving or importing illegal drugs. It is often confused with drug possession, but these are two different types of drug crimes. Drug trafficking is considered a federal crime as well as a felony crime in Minnesota.
Is drug trafficking a violent crime? A drug trafficking charge in Minnesota can have serious repercussions on the accused’s life, especially if the case involves a conviction. Often, prosecutors seek maximum penalties in such cases in the wake of increased drug usage plaguing the country.
If you or your loved one has been charged with or are suspected of drug trafficking, you should ensure that you’re adequately prepared to tackle the accusation, while protecting your rights. Working with a reputed drug crime lawyer is always a good idea.
It is important to realize that there are no guarantees to beat any drugs-related charge, and every case is different. Most seasoned lawyers fight hard to try and save the day for their clients.
A Quick Overview of Drug Crime Laws in Minnesota
Usually, federal and state prosecutors can levy drug trafficking charges when they believe that controlled substances have been sold, imported, or moved around. In most cases, these charges involve drugs such as heroin, marijuana, cocaine, and methamphetamine. US drug crime statistics reveal that, “Between 2011 and 2015, there was an almost 50% increase in the number of people sentenced for crimes related to heroin trafficking in the U.S.”
A drug trafficking charge can also extend to the unlawful distribution of prescription drugs, such as sleeping pills, pain killers, or products containing hydrocodone, oxycodone, and pharmaceutical opiates.
Often, drug possession charges tend to escalate to trafficking because of the amount of substance found on the accused. This means that a person found with controlled substances even for personal use may have to deal with trafficking charges, and the associated legal sentences. So, someone who may have been found with large quantities of drugs on his/her person for personal use might end up facing a decades-long prison sentence.
Any Minnesota drug crime attorney will tell you that the consequences for drug charges are extremely severe. The state laws here oversee penalties in keeping with the type and quantity of drugs involved, area of distribution, and whether or not children were targeted.
A drug trafficking charge can be brought against you if you have been accused of manufacturing or distributing an illegal controlled substance, or if you have been found possessing a large quantity of the substance that exceeds the estimated quantity for personal use.
Sentences for drug trafficking typically range between three and five years to life imprisonment, but can be considerably higher when large quantities are involved. In extreme cases, where large amounts of drugs are involved, the accused can be charged with a first-degree felony, which can result in a prison sentence of up to 40 years.
Defending a Drug Trafficking Charge in Minnesota
Experienced drug crime attorneys in Minnesota employ the following commonly-used defenses to help their clients in attempting to beat a drug trafficking charge.
- Illegal Search and Seizure
Law enforcement authorities need to have probable cause before searching through your personal property to check for possession of illegal drugs. If they did not have a valid warrant or probable cause, it means they violated your Constitutional rights, in which case, your charges may be reduced or dismissed altogether.
- Miranda Violation
Any statement by you on your drug trafficking charge cannot be used against you in court if it was obtained when you were placed under arrest and weren’t familiarized with your right to remain silent. As per the American Constitution, providing any answer to unwarned police questions can be avoided.
- Mistake of Fact
You can defend your charges by stating that you happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. And because of this, you were mistaken for the actual offender. This defense can be especially effective if the evidence presented fails to prove that you were involved in the crime in the first place.
- The Lack of Intent
The drug trafficking charge levied against you is rooted in your (or the defendant’s) intent to distribute the controlled substances. The charge may carry no weight if this intent cannot be proven.
- The Lack of Knowledge
When defending your drug trafficking charge, you can also state that you lacked the knowledge that the drugs were on your person to begin with. For instance, you may have been asked to drive a car or a delivery truck from one place to another, without you knowing that the vehicle contained a package of heroin.
- Challenging Proof of Substance
This defense can be employed to refute state-presented evidence. While the state may allege that the substance found in your possession is a controlled substance or an illegal drug, it need not necessarily be so. The state will have to prove to the court that the substance is a drug through scientific evidence. You can then proceed to question the reliability of drug testing with the aim of either suppressing the evidence presented in court or creating doubts on the certainty of said evidence.
- Not Meant for Human Consumption
This defense can work if the material in question is not drugs, but more like cannabinoids used in the production of skin creams. Proving this will render your drug trafficking charge baseless, and it will likely be dropped.
If you can prove that you were trafficking drugs under the threat of you or your family being harmed if you didn’t do so, you may find relief in your case.
- Suppression of Pre-trial Identification
This is a slightly complex one and requires thorough knowledge of the law as well as the Constitution, which does not allow vague and unreliable identification processes. With the help of this defense, law enforcement authorities can be stopped from identifying you (the defendant) in court by proving that the identification procedures (mugshots, witness photos) used by the police were unreliable to begin with.
It is crucial for you or any individual who has been charged with drug trafficking to let neither the police nor the judiciary intimidate them. Most importantly, you should never give up hope and remember that you are going to be considered innocent until proven guilty.
The above time-tested defenses are used by most Minnesota drug crime attorneys when defending their clients in drug trafficking cases. If you find yourself in tricky waters, make sure to consult a qualified and experienced lawyer at the earliest.
Consult Our Drug Crime Lawyer in Minnesota for a Positive Outcome
Call us for a free consultation at (855) 976-2444 today or contact us online. We will help you explore every legal option available and applicable to your case, preserve your rights, and get you the just outcome you deserve.