The Oklahoma Trafficking in Illegal Drugs Act and Its Consequences
In Oklahoma, the Trafficking in Illegal Drugs Act prohibits drug crimes involving large amounts of controlled substances. Sentencing requirements for people convicted of drug trafficking have changed in recent years, but Oklahoma still has one of the strictest sets of drug laws in the country.
Oklahoma law criminalizes possessing, distributing, manufacturing, or transporting into the state certain quantities of various different controlled dangerous substances. Further, the Trafficking in Illegal Drugs Act also prohibits (1) possessing CDS with the intent to manufacture drugs in large quantities and (2) using or soliciting services of a minor to distribute or manufacture a CDS. All of these crimes are referred to as “drug trafficking”. 63 O.S. § 2-415.
Only certain controlled dangerous substances qualify offenders for drug trafficking violations. These include: marijuana, cocaine, heroin, amphetamine or methamphetamine, LSD, PCP, crack or rock cocaine, MDMA (ecstasy), morphine; oxycodone, hydrocodone, and benzodiazepines. 63 O.S. § 2-415. To show drug trafficking, prosecutors must prove that a defendant committed one of the above-listed crimes with a large quantity of one or more of these CDS.
Each CDS has a specific quantity level that must be met for trafficking, along with an associated fine and sentence. A suspect in possession of more than 28 grams of cocaine, for example, could receive a fine of $25,000 to $100,000 and a sentence two times as long as a sentence for simple possession. Possession of more than 300 grams carries a $100,000 to $500,000 fine, and more than 450 grams is considered aggravated trafficking, with a $100,000 to $500,000 fine and a longer sentence. 63 O.S. § 2-415(C)(2). Prosecutors routinely charge people with drug trafficking if they find even one ounce over the limit in the police records.
If a person convicted of drug trafficking has one prior felony drug crime on his record, the law requires a term of imprisonment three times as long as a sentence for simple possession or distribution. In 2015, the legislature reduced the mandatory minimum sentence for offenders with two prior felony drug crimes on their record. Before the change in law, the required sentence was life without the possibility of parole. Now, two priors has a sentence of 20 years to life. Those two priors, however, must not be for drug trafficking. If they are, a life without parole sentence is still mandatory.
You should take charges under the Trafficking in Illegal Drugs Act extremely seriously because of the potential consequences. If you or a loved one face trafficking charges, consult a knowledgeable criminal defense attorney right away.
To learn more about drug trafficking and drug crimes, seek out the local criminal defense attorney who cares about seeking the best outcomes for his clients. Clint Patterson, Esq., of Patterson Law Firm, a former Tulsa prosecutor, is familiar with fighting drug-related charges. Schedule a case evaluation by visiting Patterson Law Firm online or calling Clint’s office at (918) 550-9175.