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Drug Trafficking

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Maine Drug Trafficking Defense Lawyers

Despite what you see on many crime shows on TV, drug trafficking is typically a low-key thing. The drug kingpins, the undercover agents that spend years infiltrating a gang, the legions of overly-armed bodyguards, and the police stakeout that always ends in a firefight make for great TV, and a lot of misconceptions about how drug trafficking actually works in the real world.

The state of Maine makes it illegal to “traffic” controlled substances. Trafficking means, in a nutshell, to “deal” drugs.

Controlled Substances

A “controlled substance” is a drug that the government regulates. Maine puts these drugs into four categories, which it calls Schedules.

  • Schedule W is where the most serious drugs are found. Schedule W includes dangerous, highly addictive, drugs that have little to no medicinal purpose, like cocaine and heroin.
  • Schedule X includes addictive drugs and other hallucinogens that pose less of a threat, or have a higher medicinal value than Schedule W drugs. The types of drugs included in Schedule X are, for example, peyote, ketamine, and other hallucinogenic substances that come from plants or mushrooms.
  • The substances listed in Schedule Y include predominantly prescription drugs. These drugs have high medicinal value, but can also be very addictive, and therefore easily abused. Included in Schedule Y are drugs like codeine and valium.
  • Schedule Z is a catch-all category and includes all other prescription and non-prescription drugs not included in the other three Schedules. Marijuana is among the drugs listed in Schedule Z.

For a more complete listing of the drugs listed in each one of Maine’s Schedules, you can read more in this post in our blog.

“Trafficking” Controlled Substances

Now that we have a firm grasp on what kinds of drugs are illegal to traffic, we can delve into what it means to actually do the trafficking.

While it might seem that “trafficking” drugs would mean the act of selling them, in reality, it means much, much more. Maine’s definition of “trafficking” drugs encompasses not only selling drugs, but also giving them away or trading them, moving or possessing drugs in order to sell them, give them, or trade them, as well as the act of growing, creating, or cultivating them. Maine’s definition of “drug trafficking” even includes simply possessing over a certain amount of specific drugs. Because of the wide range of activities that falls within Maine’s definition of “trafficking drugs,” it can be surprisingly easy to find yourself caught in its nasty web of drug charges.

Penalties for Drug Trafficking

Generally, the penalties that you could face if you get convicted for drug trafficking depend on what type of drug you were found with.

Class of CrimeFinesJail Time
Schedule WClass B felonyUp to $20,000Up to 10 years
Schedule XClass C felonyUp to $5,000Up to 5 years
Schedule YClass D misdemeanorUp to $2,000Up to 364 days
Schedule ZClass D misdemeanorUp to $1,000Up to 6 months

However, Maine’s drug trafficking laws don’t stop there. They also create a series of “presumptive trafficking” situations. These allow law enforcement to presume that you were trafficking, simply because of what kinds of drugs you possess, or how much of them you possess. When it comes to marijuana, simply possessing large amounts or a lot of plants can lead to trafficking charges, regardless of what you intended to do with what you have:

Class of CrimeFinesJail Time
20lbs or more of marijuana, or 500 or more marijuana plantsClass B felonyUp to $20,000Up to 10 years
1lb or more of marijuana, or 100 or more marijuana plantsClass C felonyUp to $5,000Up to 5 years

With regard to other drugs, the same principle applies: Maine’s drug trafficking laws say that simply possessing over a set amount lets prosecutors pursue drug trafficking charges, regardless of what you were going to do with the drugs. These other drugs, and the set amount that lets prosecutors do this are:

  • 14 grams or more of powder cocaine or methamphetamine,
  • 4 grams or more of crack cocaine,
  • 90 or more pills containing any narcotic drug,
  • Pills containing 800 or more milligrams of oxycodone,
  • Pills containing 100 or more milligrams of hydromorphone,
  • 30 or more pills of MDMA or similar drugs.

Again, it doesn’t matter what you intend on doing with these drugs. Simply having them is enough to get charged with drug trafficking, in Maine.

Moreover, these are just the state laws regarding drug trafficking. The federal government also has the ability to regulate drug trafficking, as well. If federal prosecutors want to, they can pick up state cases in Maine and tack on federal criminal charges, as well. These can increase the penalties that you could be facing.

How a Maine Defense Attorney Fights Against Drug Trafficking Charges

As always, the first thing to remember is that the prosecutor carries the burden of proof and that they have to meet this burden beyond a reasonable doubt. This means that the jury in a trial cannot have a reasonable doubt that the prosecutor has successfully shown that all of the elements of a drug trafficking charge have been met. And there are a lot of these elements for the prosecutor to meet. They need to show that you:

  1. Intentionally or knowingly trafficked…
  2. What you knew, or believed to be, a controlled substance…
  3. And which was, in fact, a controlled substance.

Let our Maine Drug Trafficking Defense Lawyers Fight for You!

Good criminal defense attorneys, like The Maine Criminal Defense Group, know how to attack every weak link in the prosecution’s case, using everything from criminal procedure arguments to evidentiary questions. The Maine Criminal Defense Group uses his unique set of experiences as a criminal defense attorney to look for minute details in the case against you, and leverage them to your advantage. His track record shows that his techniques defending against drug trafficking charges are among the best in the state of Maine.

Contact our law office today!

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