Your Guide to Aggravated Drug Trafficking in Oklahoma
Oklahoma is known for its agriculture, oil, and wind energy industries. Chicken fried steak is an unofficial state dish, and the OKC Thunder are always a hot ticket. But there’s something else the “Sooner State” is known for: drug transportation. With several major interstates and a location in the heartland of America, aggravated trafficking in Oklahoma may be more common than you think – and the penalties are harsh.
According to Oklahoma law, trafficking means to “knowingly distribute, manufacture, bring into this state or possess a controlled substance” in certain amounts. Essentially, if you are caught with an excessive amount of drugs, the state assumes you must be selling them – that’s when possession becomes “trafficking.” If you traffic an excessively large amount of drugs, it will elevate the crime to “aggravated” status. What constitutes an excessive amount depends on the drug. But regardless of the drug, aggravated trafficking is a serious crime in Oklahoma and carries severe punishments.
Trafficking vs. Possession
In 2016, Oklahoma voters confirmed State Question 780, which reclassified possession of controlled substances as a misdemeanor and banned sentencing enhancements based on prior drug possession. But trafficking is still a very serious charge. So what’s the difference? To be charged with trafficking, you must possess large amounts of drugs, such as:
- 25 pounds of marijuana
- 28 grams of cocaine
- 10 grams of heroin
- 20 grams of amphetamines
- 30 tablets or 10 grams of MDMA
Aggravated vs. Simple Trafficking
For a charge to be elevated from simple to aggravated trafficking in Oklahoma, you’ll need to possess even larger amounts of drugs:
- 1,000 pounds of marijuana
- 450 grams of cocaine
- 28 grams of heroin
- 450 grams of amphetamines
- 100 tablets or 30 grams of MDMA
What’s the Punishment for Aggravated Trafficking?
Aggravated trafficking in Oklahoma has a mandatory minimum sentence of 15 years in prison for any drug, up to life imprisonment. If you’ve been arrested before, especially for drug crimes, or you’re arrested in a public place, near a school, or in the presence of a minor, you can expect a harsher sentence. You’ll also face harsher punishments if you’ve been convicted of multiple offenses.
Aggravated trafficking is an “85% crime,” which means you’re not eligible for parole until 85% of your sentence has been served. You also can’t earn credits toward early release until you’ve reached 85% of your sentence. The charge also carries huge fines, including:
- $50,000–$500,000 for heroin and amphetamines
- $100,000–$500,000 for marijuana, cocaine, and MDMA
Oklahoma law also allows the state to seize “drug proceeds,” which includes:
- Property used to store drugs, drug-making equipment, or financial records
- Vehicle and farm equipment used to transport, conceal, or cultivate a drug
- Money traced to the exchange of drugs or found near drugs, drug-making equipment, or paraphernalia
- Real estate used to commit or facilitate a drug violation
As you can imagine, the seizure of drug-related money and property can create big problems for your family members and friends.
How to Fight an Aggravated Drug Trafficking Charge
Aggravated trafficking is a major crime, and you’ll want to do everything in your power to advocate for yourself. The first thing to do is hire an experienced attorney – one who has dealt specifically with drug trafficking cases in Oklahoma. Your attorney may be able to:
- Suppress evidence: Many aggravated trafficking cases in Oklahoma begin with a traffic stop. If you were pulled over without probable cause, your attorney can argue to suppress any evidence that was seized during the traffic stop. You may also have been searched unconstitutionally, and that evidence could also be suppressed.
- Get your case dismissed: The evidence found during a traffic stop or search of your home is typically the drugs themselves. If this evidence is thrown out, your case will likely be dismissed.
- Secure a plea for a lesser charge: Charges such as simple trafficking or possession with intent to distribute carry lighter penalties than aggravated trafficking in Oklahoma. Your attorney will investigate the strength of the state’s case and may be able to get the charges amended or negotiate a plea deal.
- Argue for lesser fines: The fines for trafficking can be massive, and judges have some freedom when deciding how much you will pay. Your attorney can make your case for a lower fine.
The Bottom Line
If you’ve been arrested for aggravated trafficking in Oklahoma, it can be a scary time, but it doesn’t mean your life is over. It’s important to take action right away. The sooner you get an experienced attorney involved in your case, the better chance you’ll have for a favorable outcome. The Khalaf Law Firm has the experience you need, and our record in drug cases speaks for itself. Contact us today for a free evaluation and put our expertise to work for you.