Drug trafficking charges are serious offenses nationwide, and Connecticut is no exception. Often, the penalties include jail time and quite hefty fines, though some factors can help mitigate the punishment imposed. If you’ve been accused of drug trafficking, contact our Hartford County drug possession attorneys. We’ll fight to get you the best possible outcome.
Factors That Can Help or Hurt a Case
Before we get into what the penalties for drug trafficking are, we’ll review some factors that can limit or exacerbate your punishment if convicted, depending on the circumstances of your case.
These factors are:
- The type of drugs involved
- The quantity of drugs involved
- Whether this charge represents a first or subsequent offense.
Whether the accused is a drug-dependent person can also have a big influence on the conclusion of the case. Drug dependency is an affirmative defense to drug crime charges in Connecticut, and while it won’t save you from typical penalties, it may make the court willing to consider alternative sentencing for the purposes of rehabilitation.
Connecticut courts use the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Medical Disorders to define drug dependence. The most recent edition, the DSM-5-TR, uses these categories to determine drug dependence, among others:
- Using a substance in a higher quantity or for more time than you should
- Having a desire to reduce or end its use but struggling to do so
- Desire, sometimes sudden, to take the substance
- Needing a lot of time to use and then recover from using the substance
To prove you have a drug dependence in Connecticut court, you have to prove three of seven similar factors.
- Taking the substance in a larger amount or for a longer time than intended
- Repeated but unsuccessful attempts to stop using the substance
- Spending a lot of time to be able to acquire substance
- Missing or cutting back on social, recreational, or occupational activities because of substance abuse
- Using the substance despite knowing you have a health problem that is worsened and/or was caused by the substance use (for example, continuing to drink alcohol despite having had an ulcer exacerbated by alcohol use)
On the other hand, there are factors that can increase jail time by up to five years or even lead to the death penalty:
- Selling drugs in a school zone
- Selling drugs to a minor
- Hiring a minor to sell drugs
- Selling drugs to someone who ultimately dies
Penalties for Drug Trafficking in Connecticut
Keeping in mind that the above can modify the following, these are the typical penalties for drug trafficking in Connecticut:
Cultivating up to three mature plants and three immature plants may cause you to receive a written warning if it is a first offense or a $500 fine if it is a subsequent offense. Cultivating, selling, or delivering less than one kilogram of marijuana can lead to 7 years in jail and $25,000 in fines for a first offense, and up to 15 years and $100,000 in fines for subsequent offenses.
Over one kilogram rockets jail time up to 5-20 years for a first offense or 10-25 years for a subsequent offense. Fines for over a kilogram can be up to $25,000 for a first offense and up to $100,000 for a second offense.
Sale of hallucinogens or narcotics besides marijuana can lead to spending up to 15 years in jail and/or paying a $50,000 fine for a first offense, or up to 30 years in jail and/or a $100,000 fine for subsequent offenses. Additional convictions can add up to 30 more years and $250,000 more in fines.
If you’ve been charged with selling one ounce of heroin, cocaine, or methadone, five milligrams of LSD, or half a gram of crack cocaine, and you are not a drug-dependent person, you may face 5 years of mandatory imprisonment with the possibility of life in prison.