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Matthew A. Radefeld and Daniel A. Juengel

Felony drug charges: Drug trafficking

On Behalf of | Jul 8, 2021 | Drug Crimes |

Felony drug charges can carry significant prison time in addition to fines. Drug trafficking carries some of the highest sentences, with many charges being Classified as Class A felonies. However, charges differ from substance to substance. For example, as little as one gram of PCP can lead to Class A felony charges, while trafficking over 100 kilograms of marijuana is also considered a Class A felony. There are also other subtle differences between first degree and second degree trafficking charges, as explained below.

First degree trafficking

Drug trafficking in the first degree is either a Class A or Class B felony. A Class A felony carries a prison sentence of 10-30 years, while a Class B carries a sentence of five to15 years (or 10-30 years for repeat offenders). The distinction between a Class A and a Class B felony charge is determined by the number of drugs being brought in, and the amount differs between substances. Over 90 grams of heroin is considered a Class A felony, while more than 24 grams of crack cocaine is also considered a Class A felony. For methamphetamine and ecstasy, trafficking over 30 grams and being within 2,000 feet of a school, college, public housing or in any building that could be used to house guests is a Class A felony. The same amount is only a Class B felony if you are not within 2,000 feet of the previously mentioned places.

Second degree trafficking

Drug trafficking in the second degree is either a Class B or a Class C felony. A Class C felony carries a sentence of three to 10 years, or five to 15 for repeat offenders. Whether you are charged with trafficking in the first degree or the second degree is based on the manner in which you engaged in trafficking. For first degree charges, you have to have knowingly engaged in trafficking illegal substances. For a second degree charge, you must have recklessly engaged in trafficking illegal substances. In this manner, second degree charges are designed to be more in line with possession charges.