Alabama's laws regarding trafficking in fentanyl are severe
Alabama law regarding trafficking in fentanyl has recently changed such that the quantities of fentanyl required for trafficking have been reduced.
Now if a person is found in possession of just one gram or more of pure fentanyl they face severe prison sentences.
Minimum sentences for trafficking in fentanyl
A person convicted of trafficking who had between one and two grams of fentanyl must serve a mandatory three years in prison out of a 10-year sentence. In other words three years must be served day for day before person has any possibility of an early release from prison but as in any trafficking case the judge could, in their discretion, since that person to up to life in prison.
A person who is convicted of trafficking between two grams and four grams of fentanyl will a minimum sentence of ten years in prison. The minimum sentences must be served in full. Below I've only listed the minimum sentences. A person could be sentenced to up to life in prison for possession of pure fentanyl in any amount of one gram or more..
A person who is convicted of trafficking who was in possession of between four grams and eight grams of fentanyl will have a minimum sentence of 25 years in prison
Anyone who is convicted of trafficking and had eight or more grams of fentanyl is facing life in prison with the possibility of parole.
Because the consequences in a fentanyl trafficking case are so severe is critical for anyone facing these charges to have an attorney. If you're facing these charges and want to talk to us just give us a call. Our phone number is below.
Compared to other drug trafficking crimes, the amount of fentanyl required to meet the threshold for trafficking is minuscule. Fentanyl is an extremely powerful drug designed to treat chronic pain in cancer patients.
How powerful? It is 50 times more powerful than heroin and 80 to 100 times stronger than morphine. Just two milligrams of fentanyl is enough to kill most people.
Much of the fentanyl available on the streets is homebrewed. Street names include Apache, China White, Dance Fever, and others.
The folks making homebrewing fentanyl may be smart enough to make a drug that gets you high, but they're dumb enough to make a drug that easily kills. Because of this drug's potency and danger, Alabama law has become more severe when it comes to fentanyl.
If you're charged with trafficking fentanyl, you're in deep legal trouble.
What defenses are available for someone charged with trafficking in fentany?
So, what kind of defenses do lawyers raise to help an accused in these cases?
The defenses are similar to those raised in any other drug trafficking case and vary with a particular case's facts.
Typically, lawyers will first see if the drugs were discovered illegally by the police. The lawyers will often raise this issue through a suppression motion. There are many kinds of suppression motions, but a lawyer will typically argue that certain evidence, usually the drugs themselves, should not be allowed to be presented in the trial because of some improper action on the part of the police. For example, I had a drug case where my client was factually guilty of possessing the drugs, but because the police made some mistakes, I prevented the drugs from coming into evidence. With no legally admissible evidence of drugs, we won the case.
Another issue common in trafficking cases is if the state can prove the accused knew ("had knowing possession") of the drugs. For example, an automobile is stopped, and a trafficking amount of fentanyl is found in the car and claimed by absolutely none of the vehicle's occupants. The question is, did the accused person have "knowing possession" of the drugs? A jury often decides that issue upon the specific facts of the case.
Other issues come up: where the drugs were correctly tested by the lab and/or properly handled and stored?
Of course, these are not all of the issues. Your lawyer will look at the facts and circumstances and your case and investigate what issues provide for the best defense and resolution for you.
Trafficking cases - because of their severity- have a higher chance of being tried than less serious drug cases. Even so, many trafficking cases resolve without a trial.
There are several reasons for this. Sometimes the prosecutor may offer the accused a plea agreement to a lesser crime without the mandatory prison sentence of a trafficking case. Many people facing time in prison will accept a plea to a lesser crime if it means they avoid being incarcerated.
Almost every trafficking case will have a plea offer made to the accused. The strength or weakness of that offer depends on the case's strength or weakness and other factors, such as your lawyer's negotiating skill.
Whether a case goes to trial is a decision the accused must make; if you are wise, you will do so after consultation with your lawyer.
No matter the circumstances, anyone charged with trafficking needs a competent and experienced lawyer.
If you are charged in North Alabama and you'd like our help, feel free to contact us.