NJ DRUG TRAFFICKING PENALTIES AND SENTENCING
Drug Trafficking: Understanding Penalties, Sentencing & Mandatory Minimums
Drug trafficking is a grave criminal offense that involves the production, transportation, importation, or sale of illegal substances. Possession of controlled substances without legal authorization can result in severe penalties and sentences. However, drug trafficking charges carry more severe consequences since they involve an individual’s intent to profit off manufacturing, distributing, and/or selling an illicit substance. When two or more people collaborate to traffic Schedule I or II substances, they can also face charges for drug trafficking.
In New Jersey, the Kingpin Law identifies an individual as the leader of a narcotics trafficking network if they conspire with two or more persons in a drug-trafficking scheme and are a financier, organizer, supervisor or manager of at least one other person. Under certain circumstances and conditions such as these, committing a first-degree offense can result.
Severe mandatory minimum sentences that include imprisonment and fines accompany both state and federal drug trafficking charges. The severity of these charges and associated penalties depend on several factors; one such factor is the type and amount of the illicit substance involved in the crime.
Table: Standard Penalties and Mandatory Minimums for Drug Trafficking
| Factors | Penalties & Sentencing |
| — | — |
| Type & amount of illicit substance | The contributing factors to drug trafficking charges vary because New Jersey follows the federal classification when it comes to scheduling illegal drugs. Schedule I & II drugs carry the most significant charges and penalties than any other schedule level would warrant. |
| Mandatory minimums | Drug trafficking is always a first-degree offense involving interminable mandate sentences ranging from 25 years to life imprisonment requiring 25 years served before becoming eligible for parole. A fine up to $750,000 is also applicable or five times greater than your estimated CDS (controlled dangerous substance) street value at trial if you are convicted intended meaning of trafficking. |
| Aggravating factors | Any activities that aid in the conspiracy against anyone under 18 years of age, use of a firearm, or distribution and selling of drugs to someone less than 21 years old or pregnant can result in aggravating penalties. A federal penalty applies if one makes drugs in one state and sells them in another state. |
Mandatory minimum penalties vary by the type and amount of illicit substance used in the illegal transaction. For example, life imprisonment is mandatory for those convicted of trafficking marijuana weighing over 1,000 kilograms. However, trafficking marijuana with a weight lower than 100 kilograms carries a five-year mandatory minimum sentence instead. The same mandatory minimum penalties are applicable to other Schedule I or II drugs like heroin, cocaine, LSD, and methamphetamines.
Due to the severity of these offenses, federal charges are almost inevitable given how severe drug-trafficking crimes tend to be. Additionally,, federal charges become prevalent when these offenses cross state lines or are committed on national parks or other federal lands. Mandatory minimum penalty ranges for federal charges are mostly based on the type and amount of controlled substances intended for trafficking.
The Anti-Drug Abuse Act of 1986 provides enhanced prison terms and monetary fines if certain circumstances apply to the drug-related crime committed; this includes penalties such as distributing drugs to a pregnant woman or anyone below the age of twenty-one, involving minors in a drug-trafficking scheme, selling illicit substances on college or school grounds, distributing drugs that cause injury or death.
Even first-time drug trafficking offenders are likely to serve prison time because it’s challenging to suspend mandated minimum sentences without legal means.Prevalent penalty enhancements may go up to $250 000 for trafficking charges involving Schedule V drugs while Schedule I-IV drug trafficking fines range from $1 million up to $50 million.
Expert Legal Assistance
Navigating through legal proceedings without adequate legal support when facing drug trafficking charges can be both frustrating and overwhelming. Hence, it is urgent that you work alongside an attorney who specializes in criminal defense with an extensive understanding of the legal proceedings and associated consequences. Todd Spodek, the principal attorney at Spodek Law Group, has earned recognition as a Super Lawyer in his profession, thanks to his exceptional knowledge and professional legal services in defending clients against criminal drug charges. Don’t hesitate to reach out for comprehensive legal support if you or someone you know is currently facing drug trafficking charges.
NEW JERSEY CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEYS