Milwaukee Schedule 2 Drug Trafficking Attorneys
Wisconsin takes drug crimes seriously. Although possession charges can yield significant criminal penalties, a drug trafficking charge is even more serious. Drug trafficking is a federal offense, meaning punishments can be severe and have far-reaching implications on almost every aspect of your life.
Have you been arrested for or charged with drug trafficking of a schedule II substance? Then you need immediate legal representation. You don’t have time to wait and see how things play out. In the aftermath of your arrest, police and prosecutors are already working to build a case against you. You need effective legal representation from a team with experience defending drug trafficking cases.
Hart Powell, S.C. has tried more than 300 felony cases in state and federal court. Our Milwaukee drug trafficking defense attorneys have years of experience navigating the complicated framework of the criminal legal system. Our goal is to help you achieve the most favorable outcome possible for the circumstances of your case.
What Is Drug Trafficking?
Drug trafficking is a federal crime that includes a range of different activities. Generally, drug trafficking is the manufacture, distribution, or possession of illegal narcotics or controlled substances. The definition is broad and covers activities such as possessing illegal drugs with the intent to sell them and manufacturing illicit drugs with the intent to sell them. You may even be on the hook for drug trafficking charges if you possess legal drugs but intend to illegally distribute them to others.
Drug trafficking is a felony offense, and because it is a federal crime, the penalties for trafficking are severe. Simple possession can potentially qualify as a felony drug trafficking offense if an individual has large quantities of drugs or cash in their possession.
Schedule II Substances
Controlled substances are placed into classifications called schedules. Each substance is categorized based on how addictive it is and whether it has any acceptable medical uses. In most cases, the type of drug an individual has in their possession will determine, in part, the severity of their potential penalty.
Schedule I substances are highly addictive and generally have no acceptable medical uses. Schedule II drugs are less addictive than Schedule I substances but are still highly addictive and have the potential to lead to severe physical and psychological dependence. Examples of Schedule II drugs include:
Schedule II drugs that are frequently the target of drug trafficking stings tend to include cocaine, methamphetamine, fentanyl, and OxyContin.
State vs. Federal Drug Trafficking Charges
State drug trafficking charges are like federal charges. However, the penalties for state drug trafficking of a Schedule II substance are typically less severe. When does drug trafficking transition from a state to a federal offense? It depends on the quantity of drugs found in a person’s possession. Law enforcement and prosecutors assume that large amounts of drugs are meant for distribution, not personal use. The larger the quantity, the better the odds a person will face federal charges. Charges and penalties can also vary depending on the type of drug in an individual’s possession.
People can also face federal drug trafficking charges if they distribute or transport a Schedule II substance across state lines.
Wisconsin’s Mandatory Minimum Sentencing Laws
Federal drug trafficking charges can subject an individual to mandatory minimum sentencing. Mandatory minimum sentencing laws establish specific sentencing guidelines a judge must follow when penalizing an individual convicted of drug trafficking. Factors that may influence the minimum sentence a convicted individual may receive include:
- Type of drug
- Weight of the drugs
- Number of previous convictions
- Whether the substance was trafficked in a school zone
- Whether a firearm was used in tandem with the drug trafficking
Drug trafficking laws also impose a maximum sentencing structure, essentially amounting to limits on the fines and prison time a judge can assign for certain criminal law violations.
How do the mandatory minimum and maximum sentencing laws work in practice? Suppose an individual is convicted of a Class G felony offense. Before mandatory minimum sentencing laws, a judge could order any sentence up to the ten-year maximum, meaning anything between one and ten years behind bars. However, if the mandatory minimum sentence for an offense is five years in prison, a judge cannot hand down a three-year prison term. They must at least sentence the individual between the five-year minimum and the ten-year maximum.
Penalties for Schedule II Drug Trafficking
It is difficult to pinpoint an individual’s penalties for Schedule II drug trafficking. Penalties will vary depending on:
- Weight of the drugs
- Number of previous convictions
- Circumstances of the offense
- Whether you face state or federal charges
Most drug trafficking offenses are felonies. Wisconsin separates felony offenses into different classifications, the most severe being a Class A felony and the least serious being a Class I felony. Depending on the circumstances of the case, a drug trafficking offense can range from a Class I felony to a Class C felony.
Class I felonies are punishable by fines up to $10,000 and prison time up to 3 ½ years, while Class C felonies are punishable by fines up to $100,000 and up to 40 years in prison. Additionally, Wisconsin law dictates that certain drug crime convictions can result in an individual losing their driving privileges. Driver’s license suspensions can range from six months up to five years.
Contact an Experienced Drug Trafficking Attorney Today
Have you been charged with drug trafficking of a Schedule II controlled substance? You need the advice of an experienced Milwaukee criminal defense attorney from Hart Powell, S.C. immediately. Being charged with a crime is not the same thing as being convicted of a crime. You deserve effective legal representation and need someone on your side to protect your rights.