Understanding Indiana Drug Trafficking Laws and Penalties

Any transaction in which money is offered in exchange for controlled substances makes the seller open to charges of drug trafficking in Indiana. As an Evansville criminal defense lawyer will tell you, this is a very serious offense, carrying severe penalties.

Let us discuss the laws and potential penalties related to drug trafficking.

Dealing in All Controlled Substances Is Punishable in Indiana

Indiana Code 35-48-4-1 through 10 makes it illegal to manufacture and sell any kind of drugs, from cocaine to hemp. The laws determine the severity on the crime (and its associated penalties) depending on several factors:

  • Type of drug
  • Quantity
  • Intent.

Let us examine these elements in detail.

1. Type of Controlled Substance

Indiana legislators follow the federal classification of controlled substances. This classification (or schedule) is:

Schedule I

Schedule I controlled substances are considered addictive. They have no accepted medical use. These substances are considered unsafe, even if they are administered under the supervision of a trained medical professional.

A few examples are: heroin, LSD and ecstasy.

Schedule II

These substances are also highly addictive, but also have a medicinal use. They pose a high risk of dependency. OxyContin, Fentanyl, Adderall, Ritalin, and Vicodin are a few examples of Schedule II drugs.

Schedule III

Drugs and controlled substances in this class pose a very low risk of abuse. They have accepted medical use, but they pose a moderate risk of dependency. Any drug containing less than 90 milligrams of codeine per dosage unit (for example Tylenol with codeine) falls into this category.

drug crimes carry severe penalties

Schedule IV and V

These controlled substances pose a low risk of addiction or dependency and are widely used for medical purposes. Cannabis is one of the substances included on these schedules.

2. Quantity

Drug trafficking charges and penalties depend not only on the type of substance but also on the quantity found on the person. For cocaine and narcotics, the classification of the crime, based on quantity, is:

  • Less that 1 gram: level 5 felony
  • 1-5 grams: level 4 felony
  • 5-10 grams: level 3 felony
  • Over 10 grams: level 2 felony.

For all the other Schedule I, II and III controlled substances, the offenses are:

  • Less than 1 gram: level 6 felony
  • 1-5 grams: level 5 felony
  • 5-10 grams: level 4 felony
  • 10-28 grams: level 3 felony
  • Over 28 grams: level 2 felony.

3. Intent

An experienced Evansville criminal defense attorney often builds their defense on this specific point. The crime of drug trafficking exists if you had the intent to traffic the respective substance. Mere possession is not enough to convict you.

Penalties for Drug Trafficking in Indiana

Drug trafficking crimes are classified as felonies in Indiana, carrying the following penalties:

  • Level 6: 6 to 30 months in prison
  • Level 5: 1 to 6 years in prison
  • Level 4: 2 to 12 years in prison
  • Level 3: 3 to 16 years in prison
  • Level 2: 10 to 30 years in prison.

In addition, you will have to pay a fine of up to $10,000. The conviction will stay on your criminal record and may not be expunged in all situations.

Consult with a Skilled Evansville Criminal Defense Lawyer

A drug trafficking conviction can permanently tarnish your life. If you were charged, you should get in touch with an experienced Evansville criminal defense lawyer  as soon as possible. You can rely on the experience and dedication of Verdelski Miller – an attorney with a track record of more than 85 jury trials and in-depth knowledge of Indiana criminal law.

We offer each new client a free case review, so call us today at 812-247-6453!

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