Wisconsin State Charges for Drug Trafficking

Gavel next to drugsAre you facing a drug trafficking charge in Milwaukee? If so, having an experienced criminal defense attorney on your side can make a substantial difference in the outcome of your case and the impact the charge has on your life. Drug trafficking is a severe offense that can lead to life-changing consequences, so taking it seriously and acting immediately is vital.

At Hart Powell, S.C., we understand how stressful it is to deal with a drug trafficking charge. You don’t have to go through it alone. Our drug trafficking attorneys understand how to defend against state charges and are ready to review your case and develop a strong defense. Call us today at (414) 271-9595 or contact us online to discuss your legal options.

What Is Drug Trafficking?

Drug trafficking involves manufacturing, distributing, or delivering a controlled substance, which can lead to felony charges in Wisconsin and federally. Typically, law enforcement associates transporting or manufacturing a large quantity of an illegal substance or narcotic with drug trafficking. This is because the movement or creation of a large amount of drugs indicates a commercial drug operation.

What are Drug Schedules?

The seriousness of an offense depends on the category of the controlled substance. Wisconsin adopted the Uniform Controlled Substances Act, which classifies drugs into schedules depending on their potential for abuse and dependence. The schedules are:

  • Schedule I – Substances under this schedule are not accepted for medical use and have a high potential for abuse. Examples of Schedule I controlled substances are heroin, LSD, and Ecstasy.
  • Schedule II – Drugs with a high potential for abuse and may lead to severe psychological or physical dependence will fall into this schedule. Currently, this category includes morphine, opium, codeine, and oxycodone.
  • Schedule III – Substances in this category have a potential for abuse, but that potential is less than substances in Schedules I and II. Examples of schedule III substances are benzphetamine, ketamine, and anabolic steroids.
  • Schedule IV – Drugs classified as Schedule IV have a low potential for abuse and include substances like Xanax, Restoril, and Valium.
  • Schedule V – Substances in this schedule have the lowest level of abuse and include drugs such as Robitussin.

Felony Classifications for Drug Trafficking in Wisconsin

Drug trafficking in Wisconsin is a felony offense. However, the class of felony depends on the type and quantity of drugs involved. For example, you could face the following charges depending on the quantity of cocaine you allegedly distributed, manufactured, or delivered:

  • Class G felony for one gram or less
  • Class F felony for one to five grams
  • Class E felony for five to 15 grams
  • Class C felony for 40 grams

In contrast, you could face the following in a heroin trafficking operation:

  • Class F felony for three grams or less
  • Class E felony for between three to ten grams
  • Class D felony for between ten and 50 grams
  • Class C felony for less than 50 grams

Penalties for Drug Trafficking in Wisconsin

Wisconsin drug trafficking arrestDepending on the class felony you are convicted of, you could face up to life in prison. For example, you could face the following penalties for a heroin or cocaine trafficking conviction:

  • Class G – A class G felony is punishable by up to ten years in prison and a fine of up to $25,000.
  • Class F – This felony class can result in up to 12 and a half years in prison and a fine not to exceed $25,000.
  • Class E – This is punishable by up to 15 years in prison and a fine of up to $50,000.
  • Class D – A class D felony is punishable by a maximum of 25 years in prison and a $100,000 fine.
  • Class C – A class C felony is punishable by up to 40 years in prison and a fine of up to $100,000 in fines.

What Role Does a Drug Trafficking Defense Attorney Play?

At Hart Powell, S.C., we understand how important it is to have a strong team on your side, and we can help by doing the following:

  • Investigation of the case – Our attorneys can use our experience and resources to thoroughly investigate and determine the strength of the prosecution’s case against you.
  • Negotiating with the prosecution – Depending on your case and desires, we can negotiate with the prosecutor to reduce your charges or enter a plea deal that could result in a shorter sentence.
  • Representing you in court – Our criminal defense attorneys will represent you by selecting impartial jury members, making a strong opening statement, presenting evidence, and cross-examining witnesses.
  • Filing appeals – If the trial result is not favorable, our attorneys can file an appeal to try and get your conviction overturned.

Having an attorney fighting for your rights can make a substantial difference in the outcome of your case.

Possible Defenses in Drug Trafficking Cases

There are several defenses that our attorneys could employ depending on the facts of your case, including:

  • Illegal search and seizure – If law enforcement found the drugs leading to your drug trafficking during an unlawful search, our attorneys could use this to suppress that evidence. With the suppression of the most important piece of evidence, chances of a dismissal or favorable verdict increase exponentially.
  • Insufficient evidence – To convict you for drug trafficking, the prosecution must show that you knowingly manufactured, distributed, or delivered a certain quantity of drugs. If they do not have enough evidence to show that, your case should get dismissed or result in a not guilty finding.
  • Duress – If you manufactured, distributed, or delivered the alleged drugs because they threatened you or your family with immediate harm, you could argue duress. Typically, a valid duress defense will result in the case getting dismissed or a not guilty verdict.

Frequently Asked Questions About Drug Trafficking

  • Can I be charged with drug trafficking if I didn’t transport drugs? – Yes, the prosecution can charge you with drug trafficking if the police reasonably believe that you had or were going to distribute or deliver the drugs.
  • Are there immigration consequences for a drug trafficking conviction? – A drug trafficking conviction can affect your immigration status. For example, it could lead to deportation or denial of a visa.

Contact the Drug Trafficking Defense Attorneys of Hart Powell, S.C.

Our criminal defense attorneys understand how scary it is to be charged and the impact a felony conviction could have on your life. We want to help protect you against that. Using our experience, we can review your case and build a strong case that limits the effect your drug trafficking case has on your life.

To discuss your options and get started on your defense today, contact us at (414) 271-9595 or online.

Written by Michael Hart & Craig Powell

Last Updated : April 28, 2023