Have you been accused of drug trafficking?
Drug Trafficking Defense Lawyer Serving the Areas of Biddeford, Portland, Augusta, Saco and Bangor, Maine
You don't even have to make money selling drugs in order to be charged with drug trafficking under Maine's criminal law. Drug trafficking is legally defined as a criminal offense that involves the manufacturing, importing, exporting, distribution or dispensing of a controlled substance. Additionally, drug trafficking can also be the possession of a controlled substance with the intent to manufacture, import, export, distribute or dispense.
Drug Trafficking: a federal offense?
When drug trafficking crosses the state line, it becomes a federal offense that can be prosecuted by a federal prosecutor in a federal courtroom. Federal drug convictions for trafficking generally carry harsher penalties and longer sentences ranging from three years to life in prison, but the specific penalties will depend on the following factors:
- The type and amount of the controlled substance involved
- The location where the defendant was apprehended (may result in aggravated trafficking charges)
- The defendant's criminal history
A Criminal Prosecution is a War
The Maine criminal justice system is insanely competitive, and it operates on a complex set of rules of criminal procedure and evidence. Securing an acquittal or a plea bargain takes expertise and intimate familiarity with the nuances of the Maine criminal justice system. At WTB Law, we understand how much is at stake for you, and we offer bold and aggressive representation.
You are a human being, not a case number. This is more than just a slogan – our years of practice have taught us that no two cases are alike, just as no two clients are alike. Your case, like any other, is a complex web of fact patterns that a clever lawyer can use to build a defensive wall that might save years of your life. The stakes are simply too high to trust your fate to an amateur.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
What are Maine's “mandatory minimums”?
“Mandatory minimums” are minimum prison sentences for certain crimes, including aggravated drug trafficking. If you are subject to a mandatory minimum, the judge cannot sentence you to any lesser prison term unless the “safety valve” applies. The mandatory minimum for a Class A crime, for example, is four years (the maximum is 30 years).
What is “aggravated” drug trafficking?
An offense is “aggravated” when circumstances render the offense more serious than it otherwise would have been. In Maine, aggravated drug trafficking can trigger mandatory minimum sentencing or “step up” the category of the offense (from Class A to Class B, for example).
What factors are considered “aggravating”?
A Maine drug trafficking offense can be aggravated if:
- You are found with minimum amounts of certain types of drugs (6 or more grams of heroin triggers Maine's Class A mandatory minimum, for example)
- You have a prior drug trafficking conviction
- You are caught in proximity to a school or other “safe zone” (even if no students were involved in the transaction)
- Other aggravating factors (possession of a gun in connection with drug trafficking, for example)
What is the Maine “safety valve”?
The Maine statutory safety valve allows you to be sentenced to less than the mandatory minimum, despite your eligibility for it, under certain circumstances. An example would be a case where imposing a mandatory minimum sentence would result in “substantial injustice.”
What is the entrapment defense?
The entrapment defense applies at both the state and federal level and, if successful, results in a complete acquittal. Entrapment is present if the police goad you into committing a crime that you were not otherwise inclined to commit. Drug purchase “sting” operations, if properly executed, do not normally constitute entrapment.
What is the exclusionary rule?
The exclusionary rule is based on the U.S. Constitution, and it applies to both state and federal prosecutions. It allows the defense to exclude any evidence that was seized illegally (without probable cause, for example). If the excluded evidence is important enough to the prosecution, charges might be dropped.
What are some other defenses against a drug trafficking charge?
Other than entrapment and the exclusionary rule, some of the most commonly used defenses against drug trafficking charges include:
- The drugs belonged to someone else or cannot be identified as yours (they were found in an apartment you share with roommates, for example).
- The substance you were caught with was not actually an illegal drug and was harmless
- The drugs went missing after they were seized due to police incompetence
Many more defenses might be available, depending on the facts of your particular case.
How does a plea bargain work”?
In a plea bargain, you agree to plead guilty to a lesser offense such as drug possession, thereby avoiding a trial. In return, the prosecutor agrees to recommend that the judge accept your plea and drop the drug trafficking charge. Although the judge is not required to accept the plea, he or she usually does.
What are the biggest mistakes I can make in a drug trafficking prosecution?
There are too many to count. Some of the most common are:
- Attempting to represent yourself (the most serious mistake by far)
- Hiring inexperienced, indifferent, or incompetent counsel to represent you
- Speaking freely to the police (even if you are innocent)
- Waiting too long to retain a lawyer
Can the police search my car or my home without a warrant?
They can do so legally if one of the many exceptions to the warrant rule applies. An exception would probably apply, for example, if drugs were seized from you while you were attempting to flush them down the toilet. A lot depends on where the search occurred – as the police are much more likely to need a warrant to search your home than to search your car.
Let our Main Drug Trafficking Defense Lawyer Help Protect Your Rights!
To avoid being convicted of transporting or selling a controlled substance, it is always wise to contact an experienced criminal defense attorney who you can trust to provide you with strong and reliable defense. With the help of a legal professional, you may be able to prove that the officers conducted an illegal search and seizure or that police misconduct such as planting evidence was the cause for your drug crime charges. To learn more about how you can protect your freedom and future from a conviction, don't hesitate to contact our firm.