If you or a loved one has been charged with trafficking or transportation of drugs, you may be worried about the penalties a conviction could bring. Punishments for drug crimes are usually severe and can include spending time in prison and paying huge fines. In order to avoid these penalties, talk to a skilled Fresno drug transportation defense attorney today. With time spent as a criminal prosecutor and a drug defense attorney familiar with California laws, Michael McKneely is very familiar with the strategies used by the prosecution. With this knowledge, Mike is able to select the defense that will work best for you. Call Michael McKneely, Criminal Defense Lawyer at (559) 443-7442 for a free consultation. Mike will work hard to get your charges reduced or dismissed, if possible.
Understanding Drug Transportation
Prohibited by sections 11352 and 11379 of the California Health and Safety Code, drug transportation falls under the category of drug trafficking. Drug trafficking is broadly defined as the illegal transportation, importing, exporting, selling, or giving away of controlled substances. Separate laws exist for punishing drug possession for personal use.
In California, a controlled substance is characterized as either an illegal drug or a prescribed medicine. Drugs that you can be charged for transporting include:
- Methamphetamine Charges
- Cocaine Charges
- Heroin Charges
- LSD Charges
- Marijuana Trafficking Charges
- Other Narcotics
Many drug crimes can be brought in both state and federal court. Prosecutors and police agencies generally collaborate to determine which court system will handle the case. Lower level drug crimes, and those involving smaller quantities of drugs, are commonly tried at the state level. However, a case may be taken to federal court if the arrest is made by a federal agent, there are large quantities of drugs involved, the crime falls within federal jurisdiction, or the drugs are found on federal property.
Consequences for Drug Transportation in California
Many crimes punished under California drug trafficking laws carry similar penalties. However, sentencing varies based on whether or not aggravating factors, those that increase a sentence, are present. Factors that can enhance the consequences of drug transportation include:
- Transporting drugs from one county to another
- Hiring or forcing a minor to transport drugs
- Transporting drugs within 1,000 feet of playgrounds, schools, or school programs
- Use of violence
Drug transportation crimes carry penalties that are unfair when considering their typical nonviolent nature. The penalties for certain drug transportation offenses are:
- Drug Transportation – 3 to 5 years in state prison
- Drug Transportation (Marijuana) – 2, 3, or 4 years in state prison
- Drug Transportation Between Counties – 3 to 9 years in state prison
- Drug Transportation Involving Hiring or Forcing Minors – 3, 6, or 9 years in state prison
- Drug Transportation Within 1,000 Feet of a School – Enhancement determined by a judge
Recently, an exception to California drug trafficking law has been created. If the drug transportation involves less than 28.5 grams (one ounce) of marijuana, the crime can only be charged with a misdemeanor. The penalty for this crime typically involves paying a fine of no more than $100.
A California Drug Transportation Attorney Can Help You Keep Your Record Clean
The best way to defend against drug transportation penalties is to avoid a conviction altogether. The first line of attack involves evaluating how your arrest was handled. Finding evidence of police misconduct or rights violations through an independent investigation can lead to certain elements of the prosecution’s case being inadmissible. This alone could lead to your charges being dismissed.
If wiping out your charges is not an option, it may be possible to have them reduced to simple drug possession. This can be done by establishing that you had the drugs for personal use, or by proving that you had absolutely no intention of selling or transporting the substance. Drug possession penalties are less severe, making possession preferable to a drug trafficking charge.
Talk to a Fresno Drug Transportation Defense Attorney Today
With the help of a knowledgeable and experienced criminal defense lawyer in Fresno, many strategies may be available to prove your innocence and defend your freedom if you are facing drug trafficking or drug transportation charges in Fresno. To speak with a criminal defense attorney from Michael McKneely, Criminal Defense Lawyer today, call (559) 443-7442.