Carl Barkemeyer wrote the book on How to Defend Drug Charges in Louisiana. Download your free copy to learn more about the criminal process and drug defenses in Louisiana.
Drug trafficking is the illegal possession of drugs, transporting drugs, distributing drugs, selling drugs and so on. You could be involved in one or all of these activities and it can be seen as drug trafficking. Drug trafficking charges are basically possession cases involving a very large amount of drugs. The most common scenario occurs when the defendant is pulled over for a traffic violation. The officer may obtain probable cause to search through the facts and circumstances, such as a dog alerting to possible drugs. The driver may also give consent to search and a large amount of drugs are found in the vehicle. Trafficking can be prosecuted on the state or federal level and trafficking charges in federal court involve much harsher sentences than in state court in Louisiana.
For years, we have handled matters related to a drug charge, and the thing that has taught us as drug attorneys in Baton Rouge is that talking to the authorities without a criminal attorney in Baton Rouge present can ruin you. When you hire us as your criminal defense attorneys in Baton Rouge, we can introduce our drug defense experience into your case.
Do you know that the reason some people are in jail is that they decided to defend themselves, talked to the police without a drug attorney nearby, used a Public defender, or used a crappy attorney? A drug charge is no child's play, especially in the state of Louisiana. You should not think that the fact that you are innocent, and you have nothing to hide, you shouldn't hire a drug attorney in Baton Rouge to defend you. We have seen cases where people dug their graves with their hands because they said incriminating things that overzealous cops used to their advantage. We have seen innocent people being jailed for drug crimes that they didn't commit, and at the end of the day, they had their lives ruined. We have seen those that were in the wrong place at the wrong time being jailed because drugs they didn't know existed were seen close to them. Do you know that the police can arrest you and charge you for an illicit drug that was seen in the car that you were in, even when you claimed you knew nothing of such? Do you know that drugs could be planted on you while at the airport, and you are arrested for intent to distribute? These cases and more exist. We are lucky that in the state of Louisiana and US in general, drug charge isn't a death penalty charge, unlike in some countries in Asia that have zero tolerance for drugs and are ready to kill those that are caught with drugs whether they knew of their existence or not.
The law in Louisiana allows the drug charge attorney to prove that his client didn't know that the drugs were in the car; neither did he have the intent to distribute, which is drug trafficking. If it can be proved, it becomes easier.
How can you prove that you had no intention of trafficking, if you speak to the authorities without a drug attorney around to help? When you work with our team, you rest assured that we will bring our A-game to the defense. We will try to look at all the facts of the case, especially the loopholes that can be used to your advantage.
You are not allowed to mail prescription drugs across state lines. You are not even allowed to mail it at all.
If you are caught, the package is collected and destroyed. You could even be arrested for it.
Those permitted to mail prescription drugs across state lines are drug manufacturers, pharmacies & other licensed dispensers. If you are registered with DEA, you can be involved in mailing drugs. You must still follow some guidelines. You must be operating in a legal manner and the receiver of the said drugs should have prescriptions for the drugs.
The only time you are permitted to mail prescription drugs across state lines is when you are returning drugs back to the manufacturers because of dispensing error. It could also be because it was recalled.
Only those that are allowed to mail drugs are those that have been registered with DEA, and they have been granted the permission to do it. If not, both the sender and receiver can be charged and convicted for drug trafficking.
This is why one can order drugs from a pharmacist that is licensed and get it in the mail.
You can still be arrested if you are trying to mail the drugs that someone with a prescription left in your home. It doesn't matter if it is in your state or across state lines.
The only time that you are exempted from the no mailing regulation is when certain drugs have been recalled or in times when the wrong amount of the drug has been sent to you.
You are allowed to mail it but solely to the agent of the manufacturer or the manufacturer itself.
Before you send anything, talk to your pharmacist, doctor or manufacturer first.
DEA and other law enforcement agents are permitted to get involved in mail-back programs. They can ask people to send back their unused drugs for collection to ensure that the drugs are safely disposed of. If you have not been registered with the program, you are not permitted to mail it back via mail.
If you have been registered, you are only allowed to use the ready-made, pre-addressed packaging given to you by the collector in charge of the mail back. You are also expected to follow the stipulated information.
It doesn't matter if it is prescription drugs or it is over the counter drugs, you are not allowed to mail it. The drugs will be destroyed, and you could be arrested. Both the sender and receiver could face jail time, fines or both.
Usually, the penalty that is meted out is dependent on a number of factors. It could be dependent on how much drugs you have if this is your first time and so on.
You may not be allowed to mail drugs abroad. This is why you have to talk to your doctor, lawyer and even to an immigration agent of both home and foreign country that you are going to. You have to find out if it is illegal to carry drugs with you while traveling. You have to find out if you can fill out a prescription in the foreign country you are going to. You should ask questions to ensure that you are not caught breaking drug trafficking laws.
We have heard different clients ask if drug trafficking is a felony. The answer is a big 'yes'. There is hardly any state that doesn't take drug trafficking seriously. The state of Louisiana is one state that doesn't take this lightly.
Distribution means the sales, moving or importing illegal substance. When you are caught trying to move the drugs, you can be slammed with drug distribution charges.
You don't have to be caught trying to collect money for drugs before you can be charged with drug distribution charges.
While you are carrying above the required amount of the drugs, you can be slammed with possession with intent to distribute charges. The penalties are usually dependent on the kind of illegal substance that you were caught with and the amount that you were caught with.
It could also be dependent on the age of the recipient if the action had led to bodily injury if you possess any past convictions and so on.
It doesn't matter if this is a first offense drug trafficking case, it is a felony charge. You could spend up to five years in jail.
Drug distribution charge is dependent on the fact that the drugs are in motion. Drug trafficking charges are dependent on the weight and measurement of the drugs.
You don't have to be taking the controlled substances anywhere. It could be resting in your apartment. As long as you have at least the required amount, you can be charged with drug trafficking.
Based on federal drug laws, the following can be listed as under drug trafficking:
Producing the said illegal substance.
Distributing the illegal substance.
Possessing the drugs with the intent to distribute them.
Some people erroneously believe that the drugs must be going across state lines before it can be drug trafficking and that is false.
It doesn't matter if you were not moving to another state. As long as you are caught with drugs of at least the required amount, you can be charged with drug trafficking charges.
Sometimes, you may have a smaller amount of drugs, which is below the stipulated amount, and you could be charged with drug trafficking. This is because the prosecution team thinks that it can prove that you have the intent to sell the drugs. It doesn't matter if the cocaine in your possession is below the stated requirement, it could still be a drug trafficking charge. The prosecutor might try to prove that you have intent to sell. If the prosecutor can't prove that, it is reduced to drug possession charges. Do not think that the fact that it is a drug possession charge that it is a walk in the park.
This involves moving the illegal substances from a state to another one. It could also involve moving it across different states. For this to be drug smuggling, it should be an illegal drug. If the drug is not illegal, it involves the fact that the smugglers didn't want to pay taxes or custom duties.
This charge involves the moving of drugs. When the intent to sell comes into the mix, it then becomes drug trafficking.
A person can be charged with drug possession when he or she is caught with an illicit substance like drugs, or the person doesn't possess the needed prescription. For a person to be charged with such a crime, the authorities should prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the person knew that he had it. It should also be proved that the person showed the actual physical control of its usage. If the lawyer can prove that you had no idea of its existence, it could help.
The law is against drug trafficking and distribution, and has severe penalties against those caught with drugs and have the intention of carrying out the following:
When you are caught anywhere trying to peddle an illicit substance, this is an act of drug trafficking, and it is punishable.
When you are caught transporting illicit drugs in your vehicle, whether concealed or not, or you knew of its existence or not, you may face a drug trafficking charge. If found guilty, you may face a tough penalty. This is why you need a drug attorney in Baton Rouge immediately you are arrested, to handle the situation at hand, or to prevent you from worsening it by words or actions.
If you are caught trying to deliver such drugs to another person, you can be charged with drug trafficking, and this is punishable when you are found guilty. A person may be charged with distribution or intent to distribute if the person is caught with the illicit drug physically trying to give it to someone else.
If you are caught trying to produce, sell, move, or distribute illegal substances, you could be charged for drug trafficking.
Usually, the case depends on how much illegal substance you had. What is its weight or measurement? You have to possess at least an amount of the substance before you can be charged with drug trafficking.
If the amount doesn't reach that amount and there is no proof like paraphernalia that shows that you are trying to distribute the drug, it could end in a possession charge.
It does not matter if you produce, distribute or sell those drugs, as long as you have an amount that is stated by the law, you could be charged for drug trafficking and even found guilty.
Before you can be convicted of drug trafficking, the prosecution team should be able to show that you had the amount of that substance that is stated within the laws. It should also show that you intentionally possessed the drugs. What does this mean?
Let's say that you went to rent a car, and you were arrested. The car had at least a kilogram of cocaine cleverly hidden in the car, you had no intention of possessing it because you didn't know it was there.
The prosecution team might want to show that you personally held the drugs or you had control over it wherever the drug was, not minding that it was not in your possession. If the prosecution team can prove that, it could lead to a drug trafficking conviction.
The amount of the drug that you had in your possession matters a lot. The specific amount that you are expected to have is dependent on the kind of drug that it is.
You can be charged for marijuana trafficking if you are caught with at least twenty-five pounds of marijuana. The same applies if you are caught with at least 300 pounds of marijuana plants.
You could be charged for cocaine trafficking if you have at least twenty-eight grams of cocaine.
Once you possess an amount of illegal drugs that is above the limit, it could end in a drug trafficking charge brought against you.
When you are about to be charged for drug trafficking, it does not matter if you were the one that produced the drug. It doesn't matter if you are the one that sold it. It doesn't matter if you tried to sell the drugs. It doesn't matter if you were the one that moved the drugs, you could be charged for drug trafficking if you have at least the required amount.
The major requirements are if you possessed the drug and if you had at least the required amount.
Every state might have its own drug trafficking laws, but the federal government is still involved in prosecuting drug cases too.
This usually happens when a trafficking activity happened between state lines. It could also happen when the trafficking activity occurred in more than a state in the country.
It doesn't matter if this is first offense drug trafficking, you should take it seriously. Louisiana is one state that kicks against drug trafficking. If you are caught, you could face the highest drug trafficking penalties. You need a drug trafficking lawyer that understands the law of Louisiana to represent you.
As long as you are involved in a drug network, you can be charged for drug trafficking. This falls under drug trafficking definitions.
If you are convicted of drug trafficking, the penalties may be extreme. It could be imprisonment, fines, or both of them. Louisiana has launched a serious war on drugs and does not take it lightly.
This is why you need a criminal defense attorney like Carl Barkemeyer to represent you and defend you in your felony drug trafficking charges.
Below are some defenses that are used regularly in trying to beat a cocaine distribution charge.
1. Your defense attorney can use entrapment in defending your felony drug trafficking charges. If your lawyer uses this, it means that you are admitting to committing the crime. If things do not go right, you have given the persecution team what they crave for on a platter of gold. Using this defense, the defense team tries to prove that the undercover cop pressurized the defendant into doing it. This is called the “absolute defense”. It is usually used when no other defense exists. Here, your attorney proves that if the undercover cop had not pressurized you, you won't have done it. It could have been by cajoling you or by outrightly using force to get you to carry out drug trafficking.
2. The search was illegal. In most cases, searches done without a warrant are seen as illegal, especially when there was no probable cause. Apart from that, some cops may have warrants but they didn't keep to the tenets of the search warrant. Let's say that they had the warrant to search a part of a building and they ended up searching another part, the drug trafficking lawyer can argue against the federal drug charges.
The criminal defense attorney could prove that the search was done in an illegal manner, meaning that any evidence gotten through the search should be struck out. This is a defense that is covered in the Fourth Amendment.
In legal terms, when a drug trafficking lawyer uses this defense, it is called a “motion to suppress”. This normally occurs during pre-trial.
It is usually difficult to prove this because the defendant has to prove that there was improper conduct of law enforcement.
3. The evidence is insufficient. This is another defense that criminal defense attorneys can use in defending their clients and beating trafficking drugs charges. When the lawyer wants to show that the drug distribution charges are false, The defense team tries to question how strong the evidence brought against his client is. The prosecutor has to prove beyond reasonable doubt that the defendant is guilty. Your criminal defense attorney like Carl Barkemeyer will try to discredit even the tiniest element of the evidence. We use investigators to investigate the evidence and see if holes can be poked. It could be based on the character of the enforcement officer and so on. This is done to either strike out the entire federal drug charges or to reduce them.
4. By interviewing the confidential informants.
A lot of drug trafficking arrests are done via confidential informants. They are sometimes called snitches. A lot of convictions are gotten via their testimonies. Your drug trafficking attorney can try to poke holes in your cocaine distribution charges by poking holes into the story of the CI.
Some attorneys go-ahead to poke holes into the characters of these confidential informants. Most times, the prosecution team would want to hide the identity of their confidential informants, and this usually ends up in them giving a reduced charge. They end up agreeing to a plea deal.
5. Asking that the drug distribution charges be amended. The state can decide to agree to this and amend the charges.
There are usually two kinds of possession in most drug trafficking cases. They are constructive and actual possessions.
In actuality, you were the one that had the drug. The drug was actually in your possession. You were caught with the drug in your possession.
In constructive, you were not in possession of the drugs yourself, but you were within that area and could have possessed control over those drugs. For example, the prosecution team may want to prove that you are the owner of the drug but you are using a system that allows you to not touch the drugs yourself.
It is common to see those living in a house where a drug trafficker was caught also been charged for drug trafficking. Your defense team might prove that you had no idea that the drugs existed in that house.
If you are arrested for heroin trafficking, your attorney might try to prove this.
5. The defendant might try to offer “substantial assistance”. The defense team might offer information or evidence to help the authorities in another case. This prosecutor might decide to give a lighter sentence or allow you to take a walk. If you can give up a bigger network, you might take a walk or have a lighter sentence.
6. Asking for a deferred prosecution.
In this case, if you are eligible, you can ask that you be given a spot in a deferred prosecution program. This is usually open for those that do not have a felony conviction. If you are a first offense drug trafficking offender, you could be eligible for this.
Once you are done with the program, your drug trafficking charge will be judged as a “not guilty” verdict. This is not a walk in the park. They are usually designed to be so strict and take a lot of time to complete. It will still be placed on your record once you are done.
7. Asking for a reduced sentence then agreeing to undergo rehabilitation.
Though the state of Louisiana may have string drug trafficking laws, the state tends to see addiction as more of a disease. This means that if it can be shown that the accused would take a permanent walk away from drugs if they are rehabilitated, the authorities might push for that. This usually occurs when it is a first offense drug trafficking charge.
If they undergo the treatment, their sentences may be reduced. Carl Barkemeyer can argue this for you.
Some people think drug trafficking only involves cocaine distribution and drug smuggling of illegal substances. They think that it doesn't involve selling prescription drugs. Some get confused about why they should be arrested for selling prescription drugs that they had prescriptions for. It is illegal to do that. It is also illegal to be caught mailing prescription drugs across state lines. How much jail time for selling drugs you are given may be dependent on if it is your first time and other condition. We have seen cases of the authorities using first offense drug trafficking offenders as an example to deter others from getting involved in drug trafficking. Do not think you can beat the charge without having a drug trafficking lawyer in Louisiana to represent you. It is common to see some prosecutors deciding to charge the defendant the drug trafficking charge, instead of going for a drug charge that is lesser. When prosecutors do this, they are trying to show that they are against the usage and sales of drugs.
Usually, how much jail time for selling drugs that you get is usually dependent on the quantity of drugs that you were caught with, and other factors. If you had between eighteen grams and thirty-six grams, you can get a sentence of at least two years to at most fifteen years.
The penalty may be dependent on how much you were caught with, if it were your first conviction or if you had a firearm with you if a kid was with you and so on.
You could end up paying a fine within $2,500 to $25,000. Sometimes, you could do both.
If you were caught with at least 200 grams, the following could happen:
At least twelve years to at most twenty years.
Made to pay a fine of at least $50,000 to at most $500,000. It could also be both. Cocaine trafficking or cocaine distribution in Louisiana is taken seriously.
If you are caught trying to distribute from eighteen grams to thirty-six grams of heroin, the following could happen:
A sentence of at least three years to at most twenty years.
Made to pay a fine of at least five thousand dollars to fifty thousand dollars.
If you are caught heroin trafficking of at least two hundred grams, the following could happen:
At least twelve years to at most twenty years.
Made to pay a fine of at least fifty grand to five hundred grand.
If you are caught trafficking marijuana of from fifty pounds to at most 100 pounds, the following could happen:
You could get a sentence of at least a year and at most fifteen years in a state jail.
You could be made to pay a fine of at least five hundred dollars and at most the thousand dollars.
If you are involved in marijuana trafficking from ten thousand pounds, the following could happen:
You could spend at least eight years and at most fifteen years in jail.
You could be made to pay a fine of at least twenty thousand dollars and at most two hundred thousand dollars.
It is important to note that having felony drug trafficking charges brought against you doesn't mean that you will be convicted.
If you are caught trying to sell, product, transport, or you have at least fourteen grand of hydrocodone or a mixture of it, you are trafficking in hydrocodone. This is illegal.
If you have at least fourteen to twenty right grams of the substance, it could lead to at least three years. It could also lead to a fine of fifty thousand dollars.
If you are caught trafficking at least twenty-eight grams to fifty grams, you could spend at least seven years in state jail. It could also lead to a hundred thousand dollars fine.
If you are caught trafficking at least two hundred grams to thirty kilograms of the substance, it could lead to twenty-five years in state jail. It could also lead to a fine of at least $750,000.
If you are caught, holding, trying to sell, buy, create, or distribute at least ten grams of MDMA or a substance containing it, it is seen as MDMA trafficking.
If you are caught with at most two hundred grams, it could end in at least three years in state jail. It could also lead to a fine of fifty thousand dollars.
If you are caught trafficking at least two hundred grams to four hundred grams of the substance, it could lead to at least seven years in jail. It could also lead to a fine of one hundred thousand dollars.
If you are caught trafficking at least four hundred grams to thirty kilograms of the substance, you could spend at least fifteen years in jail. It could also end in $500,000 fine.
If you are caught, holding, trying to sell, buy, create, or distribute at least fourteen grams of methamphetamine or a substance containing it, it is seen as methamphetamine trafficking.
Sometimes, a person caught drug trafficking may have a mixture of one legal substance with a mixture of another illegal substance.
If you are caught with a mixture of a substance such as aspirin and hydrocodone, what happens?
Should we be allowed to take out that part that is illegal, which is the hydrocodone and weigh only that? Should both the legal part- the aspirin- and the illegal part- hydrocodone be weighed together when deciding the weight of the drug trafficking charges?
A lot of criminal defense lawyers were able to use the former for a long time.
When lawyers were allowed to remove the illegal part, which was the hydrocodone from the legal part, they could get an expert witness to show that the weight of the illegal substance was lower than the weight of the pill. This defense has sailed, as a new legislature removed it.
In today's drug trafficking case, it doesn't matter if hydrocodone is less than one percent of the entire weight of the pill, you will be charged based on the weight of the entire pills. We know it sucks, but that is how the law is now.
Apart from fines and person sentences, the other drug trafficking penalties are:
Sometimes, one can get probation sentences in a drug trafficking case, but most times, it comes from a plea bargain. When both sides agree to it, the defendant could be given a probation sentence.
Those that are under probation are given rigid rules that they are meant to live by. They will have a probation officer monitoring them and they have to seek permission before they can do different things. They can be forced to do random drug testing whenever the probation officer wants. They are not allowed to leave the state without the permission of the probation officer. They are not allowed to break any law, as they risk being sent to jail.
Sometimes, the probation sentences could be twelve months, and in other cases, it could even be three years. Sometimes, it is more.
Most times, drug trafficking laws state the minimum sentences that someone must do behind bars before he or she can be released if eligible.
One can't be released for parole if that said amount of years has not been completed. Let's use an example. If someone is sentenced to ten years in state jail, he or she must do at least three years behind bars. They can now be eligible for parole. If the three years are not completed, they can't be paroled.
If you are convicted of drug trafficking, you may be made to forfeit the ownership of properties and assets thought to have been bought with the proceeds of the drug activities. This is why it is common to hear that assets have been frozen. Drug trafficking is not to be taken as a child's play. Sometimes, the state may even take more than what you made in drug trafficking activities.
If you are convicted of drug trafficking, you could lose your reputation in the society. People tend to avoid you and your family members. If care is not taken, you become a pariah in your family members.
Once you are convicted of drug trafficking, you could lose your job. No employer may want such a dent to its reputation. You could even lose your legitimate business to the state, your partners, creditors and so on. You could lose scholarships that you were awarded. You could even be rusticated from school and so on. Dry trafficking should not be taken lightly.
You are forced to lose some civil rights that once accrued to you. You won't be allowed to be voted for, or hold firearm. There are a number of restrictions that will be meted out on you even if you serve out your sentence.
You could be asked to do community service, especially if this is your first case, you provided enough information to bring down a gang, and so on.
If the crimes involve injuries or property damage, a civil suit could be brought against you, as well as the felony charge. Let us say that as you were trafficking drugs, you had an accident that damaged someone's car, you could have a civil suit brought against you by the owner of the said car.
It is important to note that drug trafficking is a serious offense. You could have federal drug charges brought against you or even state charges. This is dependent on how much drugs you had, the kind of drugs, if you were caught close to a school and so on.
When carrying out search and seizure operations, the police officers are expected to follow a strict routine. If they fail in doing this, the evidence can be suppressed. Sometimes, the case may even be dismissed.
Carl Barkemeyer has the skills, knowledge, and experience to investigate every aspect of the case, looking for loopholes that can be used against the prosecution team.
We try to look out for incorrect handling of the evidence, act of police misconduct, and other errors that could have occurred.
Carl Barkemeyer and his team follow every lead that could plead your innocence in court.
We Always Ask Questions.
We ask questions like what were you doing when you were stopped. Where were you stopped? Why did the officers stop you? Was it supposed to be a random search or was it planned?
We have to find these and more. We also try to question the confidential informants, if possible.
We have a team of investigators that dig deeper into the facts of the case, looking for loopholes. Is the confidential informant credible? Has he been caught perjuring on the stand before? These and more have to be asked.
Usually, when a client is caught committing any crime or suspected of committing a crime, he or she is advised to not talk. You are advised to not answer any question without your lawyer present. It is within your rights. You can ask that your lawyers be present. We advise our clients not to resist arrest. This could worsen your charges. Do not try to fight or run. Go peacefully with the officers. If the officers find out that the case may be dropped, they may end up bringing a resisting arrest charge against you.
We advise our clients to not discuss their cases with others. It doesn't matter if it is your family members or friends. If you tell them things, they can be brought on the stand and used against you. They have no choice other than to tell the truth.
Let's say that you are under detention, you are not to talk to anyone in prison. The truth remains that someone in detention with you can sell you out for a reduced sentence. It could also be that an officer could pose as someone in detention to gather information from you. Police officers are allowed to do that. Keep your mouth shut. You should only talk to your lawyers because they are under obligation to not disclose your information. Treat only your attorney as your close confidant.
When you use an experienced attorney in your quest to defend yourself against a drug charge, you tend to open yourself to the benefit of having experience, skills, resources, and knowledge working in your advantage.
There are a number of actions that can be done when a drug crime is concerned. We have a number of Baton Rouge drug charge attorneys that have been in the business of defending different people with drug charges, and they too can help you.
Get a strong case built to your advantage.
Carl Barkemeyer is a drug charge lawyer in Baton Rouge who helps in protecting your criminal record as well to ensure you don't get to go through all the troubles of finding a job or getting a scholarship. We are here to represent you in court in the most aggressive way possible and work towards giving you the best option you can get for your case.
We are a drug charge lawyer that cares about you as well and ensure you get the help you need if you are battling with addiction. We believe in transparency and work for hand in hand with you; therefore, you are always updated on your case.
We advise you to call us as soon as you've been charged as delay could be denial. So, if you are looking for the best criminal defense attorney or a drug charge lawyer in Baton Rouge, contact Carl Barkemeyer for representation. We handle drug charges anywhere in Louisiana.
Contact Carl Barkemeyer to discuss your drug trafficking charge.