If your loved one has struggled to make ends meet, he or she may have felt desperate enough to accept a high-risk opportunity to make some quick cash. That rash decision may have left your loved one facing drug trafficking charges in Oklahoma.
Drug enforcement authorities keep careful statistics relating to current trends in the illegal sale of certain drugs. One fact seems to encourage lawmakers; when penalties for drug offenses are harsh, trafficking decreases. Because of this, you have every right to be concerned about your loved one’s future.
The current climate
Even though you and your loved one may not live in Oklahoma, an arrest in the state must be dealt with there. Several of the most notorious districts for drug trafficking offenses are in Oklahoma and many of those arrested under suspicion of drug trafficking come from out-of-state and are passing through. Almost half of those convicted of trafficking drugs have no prior convictions on their records.
Penalties for drug offenses can vary based on many factors, such as whether the accused carried a weapon at the time of the arrest. However, one of the most important factors authorities will consider as they prepare a case against your loved one is the kind of drug involved in the alleged offense. Currently, the most commonly trafficked drugs include the following:
- Methamphetamine 33.6 percent
- Powder cocaine 19.8 percent
- Marijuana 17.6 percent
- Heroin 14.4 percent
- Crack cocaine 8.1 percent
- Oxycodone 2.8 percent
The legalization of marijuana and the negative impact of doctors overprescribing oxycodone may be factors in the recent sharp decline in the trafficking of these drugs. The crack cocaine trade dropped sharply after lawmakers strengthened penalties for the offense. However, meth and heroin trafficking has steadily increased over the past few years. If your loved one is charged with trafficking meth, he or she is facing a longer average sentence than for other drugs.
Penalties and alternatives
Authorities take the trade of drugs seriously. When drug enforcement agents intercept illegal substances coming into the state of Oklahoma, they tend to act swiftly and decisively. In fact, over 95 percent of convicted drug traffickers go to prison. Your loved one may face an average sentence of 66 months. This may be more or less, depending on the circumstances.
You can take courage in the fact that, with the appropriate defense representation, many people charged with drug trafficking do not remain subject to the mandatory minimum sentences. There are ways in which your loved one may receive relief from mandatory sentencing guidelines or even fight the charges altogether.