In Maine, drug trafficking can be charged when there is an “intent” to sell drugs. In other words you can be accused of drug trafficking in Maine without being caught in the act of selling drugs. Let’s say that as a part of determining probable cause, the drug sniffing dogs indicated the vehicle you were driving had drugs. When police search the car they find a sizeable amount of drugs. In this scenario, you can be charged with drug trafficking in Maine due to the quantity of the illegal drug possessed. Legal guidance for drug trafficking in Maine is provided in the Maine Drug trafficking statutes. A person charged with “Drug Trafficking” is facing a serious criminal drug related offense under Maine Law. In addition, most drug trafficking charges are felony level offenses, some of which have a mandatory minimum prison sentences, depending on the quantity and illegal drug in question. The weight of the consequences for a drug trafficking conviction is determined in part by the circumstances of the crime – was it on school grounds? Did you have a fire arm? For the least serious (CLASS C) Felony drug trafficking charges in Maine, a criminal conviction can result in fines of up to $5000 and up to 5 years of incarceration if the offender was unarmed. For the most serious (CLASS A) Felony drug trafficking charges in Maine, a criminal conviction can result in fines of up to $50000 and up to 30 years of incarceration.
Let’s take a moment to examine what a person accused of drug trafficking in Maine can anticipate and what they can do to help in their defense.
- What is drug trafficking in Maine?
- What are the penalties for drug trafficking in Maine?
- Understanding the court criminal process for drug trafficking cases.
- How a Criminal Defense Lawyer can help?
What is Drug Trafficking in Maine?
Drug Trafficking in Maine is defined as the manufacture, packaging, distribution, or sale of illegal scheduled drugs. A consideration of a drug trafficking charge is that the accused “intentionally or knowingly” engaged in illegal drug trafficking. This means that the charge considers the state of mind of the accused. Most drug trafficking charges are felonies. Drug Trafficking in Maine is governed by the Maine statues which are 17-A M.R.S.A §1103 and 17-A M.R.S.A. §1105.
Drug trafficking in Maine can be charged when someone possesses “large” amounts of certain illegal drugs. If the accused has different amounts of several types of illegal drugs, then they can be accused of multiple types of charges relating to drug trafficking in Maine. As you would expect the Maine Drug Trafficking Statutes clearly define the specific amount of drugs required to qualify for a drug trafficking in Maine charge. The presumptive amounts or “Trafficking” amount of certain drugs include:
- More than 1 pound of marijuana
- At least 14 grams cocaine or 4 grams cocaine base
- 50 or more squares containing a detectable amount of LSD
- A minimum of 14 grams of methamphetamine
- At least 90 pills containing narcotics (other than Heroin)
- Any quantity of pills that add up to at least 800 milligrams of Oxycodone or 100 milligrams of hydromorphone
- 30 or more pills of ecstasy
The key takeaway point for an individual accused of drug trafficking in Maine is that if the district attorney can provide evidence that the accused possessed these amounts of drugs, then no other evidence for intent is necessary to support a the drug trafficking in Maine charge. Under these circumstances, your criminal defense attorney will argue on your behalf the presumption of the intent to traffic, but ultimately the jury will consider the evidence in their decision making.
A criminal charge for drug trafficking in Maine can be elevated with the presence of aggravating factors. An elevated charge increases the severity of the charge and thus the severity of the sentencing. In order for a drug trafficking charge to be elevated to aggravated drug trafficking, the following circumstances must be present with the evidence.
- Evidence that the accused had specific amounts of certain drugs in their possession, such as:
- At least 112 grams cocaine or 32 grams cocaine base
- 300 or more pills methamphetamine
- 300 or more pills ecstasy
- 6 or more grams heroin
- The accused sold drugs on a school bus or within 1000 feet of a school
- The accused attempted to sell drugs to a minor under the age of 18 years old.
- The accused has a criminal history of felony convictions or similar drug-related convictions
- You were accused of drug trafficking in Maine and had a firearm when the crime was committed.
A charge of Aggravated Trafficking in Maine also can arise if the accused sold a person drugs that resulted in serious or fatal injury to that person.
Penalties for Drug Trafficking in Maine
If convicted of drug trafficking in Maine, the potential penalties depend on the “schedule” of illegal drug trafficked:
Scheduled W Drug Trafficking (For example Cocaine, Heroin, LSD)- Class B felony. Maximum penalties include up to $20,000.00 in fines and up to 10 years jail time.
Schedule X Drug Trafficking (For Example Hashish)- Class C felony. Maximum penalties include up to $5,000.00 in fines and up to 5 years jail time.
Schedule Y Drug Trafficking (For Example Codeine)- Class D misdemeanor. Maximum penalties include up to $2,000.00 in fines and up to 364 days jail time.
Schedule Z Drug Trafficking (For Example Marijuana)- The penalties depend on the amount of marijuana involved:
- More than 1 pound of marijuana- C felony
- Growing 100 or more marijuana plants- C felony
- 20 or more pounds of marijuana- B felony
- Growing 500 or more marijuana plants- B felony
In addition to the above penalties, a conviction for drug trafficking can also suspend your driver’s license for up to 5 years. Furthermore, an important collateral consequence of a drug trafficking conviction is a loss of any federal student aid that the defendant may be receiving or hope to receive.
Understanding the Criminal Court Process in Maine
Depending upon the circumstances of your case, there are situations like drug trafficking across state lines, where the federal government may “pick up” the Maine state drug trafficking charge. In these situations the charges is then prosecuted at the federal level. We are only detailing drug trafficking in Maine charges, which are prosecuted by York, Cumberland, Androscoggin and other Maine Counties.
Arrest for Drug Trafficking in Maine
An arrest for drug trafficking can arise from different circumstances, all of them involving contact with law enforcement:
- A tipoff made to police or MDEA
- Direct police investigation
- Contact with undercover MDEA agent or a Confidential Informant
- Contact with law enforcement from routine traffic stop
Regardless of how the police find out about possible trafficking activity, your constitutional rights need to be respected. These include your Fourth Amendment right against unreasonable searches and seizures and your Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination. If the police searched or seized anything without the proper warrant, your criminal defense attorney can argue that this evidence should be suppressed (excluded) from being introduced at later court proceedings.
Often, law enforcement might attempt to obtain your consent to search your place or car, even if they do not have a warrant. Police might ask simply to “have a look around.” If you give your consent or invite them in, you will be held criminally responsible for anything the police find in their search, and this evidence will not be able to be suppressed. A good rule of thumb is if the police cannot show you a warrant, do not let them in.
If you are arrested on drug trafficking charges in Maine, you may be taken to the county jail to be processed. Depending on the case, bail in Maine may be set.
If a person is charged with a felony in Maine, such as often the case with drug trafficking charges, the accused needs to be indicted by a grand jury before that person can be Arraigned. At the Arraignment, the Defense Attorney would receive a copy of the discovery materials (police reports, etc.) from the District Attorney. Based on defense counsel’s review of the discovery, if the assistance of a private investigator or forensic expert might prove beneficial for the person’s defense, this would be discussed.
The next important dates in a trafficking case is a Dispositional Hearing often called a Dispositional Conference or Docket Call. A Dispositional Conference is the time for the attorneys to attempt to negotiate a resolution to the case without going to trial. The State may offer plea deals, and your defense attorney would explain these plea deals to you. If none of the offers are acceptable to you, then the case would progress to a Suppression Hearing and then trial.
The next important date in a trafficking case is the Suppression Hearing. Perhaps one of the most important pretrial proceedings in a drug trafficking case is a Suppression Hearing. In a suppression matter, the criminal defense attorney files a Motion to Suppress. In a Motion to Suppress, your defense attorney will argue that certain evidence was obtained in violation of your constitutional rights, and therefore should be excluded from evidence at trial. A hearing on the Motion shall be set by the Court, and arguments would be heard at a Suppression Hearing. After arguments are heard by the Court, it is up to the Justice to decide whether the questionable evidence should be kept out of evidence at trial or whether the State may use that evidence against the accused at trial.
The strength of the Suppression Hearing can affect your prospects of winning at trial. If some of the State’s best evidence has been excluded from evidence, then this will help in your defense. On the other hand, trial might be more of a challenge if the State is permitted to use certain evidence against you in front of a jury. Before going to a trial, your attorney should prepare you for all of the possible outcomes, including a win as well as a loss. In a trial, what the jury says is the outcome of your case.
How a Criminal Defense Lawyer Can Help
Drug trafficking in Maine charges are serious, with chemical evidence, witness statements, and police reports. With the State building its case to prove your guilt, you also need an attorney to fight for your rights. Here are some things to consider when looking to hire a drug trafficking defense attorney:
Experience in Drug Trafficking Defense- If the attorney is experienced in representing your type of case, the attorney will know how to approach the case at court for the best possible outcome.
Fight for your Constitutional Rights- When police conduct investigations, even when conducting undercover operations, your constitutional rights need to be respected. If any evidence was obtained in violation of your constitutional rights, then your drug trafficking defense attorney will work to have any questionable evidence prevented from being introduced at trial.
Employ Expert Witnesses for Trial- Drug trafficking cases include technical evidence, including the measurement of the volume of drugs involved, as well as the chemical composition of the drugs. In some trafficking matters, expert witnesses can assist to find any potential holes in the State’s case.
Contact a Maine Drug Trafficking Defense Attorney
In situations like these, the stakes are high. It is important that you take swift action to have an advocate counsel you on the Maine legal system. There are proven strategies to defending drug trafficking in Maine cases. The sooner our legal team becomes involved in the case the more time we will have to do our own fact finding as we help to prepare your defense. Effective action taken by a skilled drug trafficking lawyer before charges are filed by the DA could result in a lesser charge or in some cases prevent any charges from being filed. Whether the drug trafficking charge involves meth, narcotics or another controlled substance, it is imperative that you contact our firm as quickly as possible after the arrest.
Our committed legal team is determined to take immediate action to seek a positive case outcome. If you or someone you know is facing drug trafficking charges in Maine, I encourage you to contact The Nielsen Group for your free legal consultation with an experienced illegal drug defense attorney. We will take the time to answer your questions and to put your mind at ease as we work with you to determine a defense strategy.
If you enjoyed this post regarding drug trafficking in Maine, perhaps you would also enjoy these other articles:
- About Maine Drug Charges
- The Life of a Drug Trafficking Charge in Maine