What is Drug Trafficking?
Drug trafficking is the act of participating in the illicit drug trade. There are many different ways an individual can be involved in the illegal drug trade, and these are all criminal offenses.
Like other drug offenses, there is no “one size fits all” charge for drug trafficking. The charge an individual faces for alleged involvement in the drug trade depends on the type and amount of drug he or she moved, where the offense occurred, and the individual’s previous criminal record.
Examples of Drug Trafficking
Many different actions can be charged as drug trafficking. A few examples include:
- Transporting illegal substances along the supply chain, such as from manufacturers to distributors, distributors to sellers, or sellers to buyers;
- Permitting one’s home to be used to store or manufacture illegal drugs;
- Importing illegal substances to the United States;
- Selling illegal drugs; and
- Obtaining drugs through illegal means, such as forging a doctor’s signature on a prescription in order to obtain drugs from a pharmacy.
Charges and Penalties for Drug Trafficking in Illinois
In Illinois, drug trafficking is a felony. Penalties for drug trafficking convictions in Illinois are as varied as the charges for this offense and can be as steep as up to 60 years in prison and a fine of up to $500,000. These extreme penalties are for individuals convicted of Class X felonies, which include the trafficking of substantial amounts of fentanyl, heroin, and morphine. Less serious cases are charged as Class 1, Class 2, and Class 3 felonies.
It is possible for a drug trafficking charge to be elevated from a state-level charge to a federal charge.
When an offense is charged at the federal level, it is heard in federal court and the defendant faces the penalties associated with the federal charge, which can be steeper than those for the state-level version of the same charge. An offense can be elevated to a federal charge in the following scenarios:
- The trafficking was part of an operation that spanned multiple states and/or international borders;
- Another party informed on the accused in exchange for leniency, and that party was charged at the federal level. The court may charge the accused at the federal level as well in this case;
- State authorities agreed with federal authorities that the case would be handled better in federal court and moved it there; and
- The defendant was arrested on federal land, such as in a national park.
Work with an Experienced Naperville Criminal Defense Lawyer
If you have been charged with drug trafficking or any other drug-related offense, you need to work with an experienced criminal defense lawyer to fight the charge. Contact our team of experienced Naperville drug charge defense lawyers at Donahue & Sowa today to schedule your initial consultation in our office. We are here to help you fight your drug trafficking charge to preserve your future liberty, clear your name, and save you money.