Have you been charged with drug trafficking in Indianapolis, IN? Drug trafficking and dealing charges often stem from simple possession or misinterpretation of the facts. You deserve sound legal representation to help you fight the charges you are facing.
Suhre & Associates, LLC has tirelessly represented clients facing serious drug charges for over 20 years. Call our law firm today to schedule a free case review with an Indianapolis drug trafficking lawyer who can help you.
How Suhre & Associates, LLC Can Help When You’re Charged with Drug Trafficking in Indianapolis, IN
When you are facing felony drug charges, it’s crucial to take action quickly to defend yourself. The state will likely try to bring the most serious charges possible, even when they do not fit the circumstances. This approach can transform drug possession into a serious trafficking offense. You deserve an Indianapolis criminal defense lawyer prepared to fight for you.
Suhre & Associates, LLC will put over 100 years of combined experience to work on your legal defense. Our team includes a former police officer and former prosecutor who use their insights to help build your defense. We have been admitted to the National Trial Lawyers Top 100 and earned the 2020 AVVO Clients’ Choice Award.
Choose Suhre & Associates, LLC to defend your drug case in Indianapolis, Indiana, and we will:
- Offer the legal advice and guidance you need to make informed decisions about your case
- Protect your constitutional rights
- Conduct an investigation for exculpatory evidence, constitutional violations, and misconduct
- Develop a legal defense based on evidentiary challenges, sound legal arguments, expert testimony, cross-examination, and other techniques
- Seek a case dismissal or reduced charges if there is a lack of evidence
- Negotiate a plea bargain if it is in your best interest or argue for the most lenient sentencing possible if convicted
- Present a compelling defense in the courtroom if your case goes to court
Contact Suhre & Associates, LLC today for a free case review with a passionate Indianapolis drug trafficking lawyer ready to help you.
What Is Drug Trafficking in Indiana?
Drug offenses in Indiana are covered under Section 35, Article 48, Chapter 4: Offenses Relating to Controlled Substances. “Trafficking” is usually defined as transporting or importing controlled substances. Indiana has a much broader definition. Indiana does not have a specific drug trafficking statute. Instead, it is charged under a broad statute covering many types of behaviors.
Ind. Code § 35-48-4-4.6 makes it a crime to intentionally or knowingly do any of the following with a controlled substance:
- Possess with intent to deliver, manufacture, or advertise
- Finance any of these activities
Drug trafficking is a Level 6 felony for a first time offense. If you have any prior conviction under this statute, it becomes a Level 5 felony.
There is usually a distinction between drug dealing and drug trafficking. Dealing usually refers to small-scale distribution while trafficking refers to larger-scale distribution. However, Indiana classifies delivery, manufacture, distribution, advertising, and possession with intent to distribute together.
Because Indiana’s trafficking and distribution statutes are so broad, you can face a serious felony offense in a wide range of scenarios. You do not have to be transporting a controlled substance to be charged.
You may face criminal charges for drug trafficking or delivery if a controlled substance changes hands. You do not need to be present during this delivery or exchange. If the controlled substance was in your possession and entered the possession of someone else, you can be charged.
You may face a charge for dealing narcotics or other controlled substances if you knowingly or intentionally delivered, manufactured, or possessed with intent to distribute.
Under Indiana law, financing the manufacture, delivery, or distribution of a controlled substance is charged just as if you performed the action yourself. For instance, someone can be charged with distribution if they pay someone to deliver drugs.
Distribution, Delivery, or Trafficking Can Be Charged as Drug Dealing in Indiana
Indiana drug laws are very complex. Drug possession often rises to a far more serious offense because of Indiana’s classification of controlled substances.
Under Indiana law, you can be charged with drug dealing even without any evidence of actual sales. This makes Indiana’s drug dealing laws closely related to trafficking and distribution. When law enforcement suspects any type of drug activity, they have a great deal of leeway in which type of charges they bring.
Ind. Code § 35-48-4-4.6 is the broadest statute referring to virtually all controlled substances. There are several statutes that are similar but address different types of controlled substances. The specific statute under which you can be charged will depend on the type and amount of drug.
The following are drug dealing offenses that can qualify for trafficking or distribution.
Dealing in cocaine or a narcotic drug
Ind. Code § 35-48-4-1 covers cocaine and pure Schedule I or II narcotics. Prosecutors can charge you with this offense for manufacturing, delivering, financing the delivery or manufacture, or possessing with intent to deliver or manufacture. This offense is a Level 5 felony for amounts under 1 gram.
This charge becomes a Level 4 felony for amounts between one and five grams or less than one gram with an enhancing circumstance. It is a Level 3 felony for five to ten grams or amounts between one to five grams grams with an enhancing circumstance. It is a Level 2 felony for ten or more grams or quantities between five and ten grams with an enhancing circumstance.
Different rules apply for heroin. In this case, the amount of heroin aggregated over a period of 90 days can be considered. It is a Level 4 felony for amounts between three and seven grams. It becomes a Level 3 felony for heroin between seven and 12 grams or three and seven grams with an enhancing circumstance. It is a Level 2 felony for 12+ grams or seven to 12 grams with an enhancing circumstance.
Dealing in methamphetamine
Ind. Code § 35-48-4-1.1 covers only delivery of methamphetamine and possession with intent to deliver.
You can be charged with dealing methamphetamine if you knowingly or intentionally deliver or finance the delivery of meth. It can also be charged for possession with intent to deliver methamphetamine.
The level of the offense depends on the amount:
- Level 5 felony for less than one gram
- Level 4 felony for one or more grams but under five grams; or less than one gram with an enhancing circumstance
- Level 3 felony for five grams but less than ten grams; or one to five grams with an enhancing circumstance
- Level 2 felony for ten plus grams; or five to ten grams with an enhancing circumstance.
Methamphetamine is treated differently than other controlled substances in Indiana. With other drugs, manufacturing is treated as the same type of offense as delivery and possession with intent to deliver. Manufacturing methamphetamine is covered under a different statute.
Dealing in a Schedule I, II, or III controlled substance
Ind. Code § 35-48-4-2 covers manufacturing, delivering, and possessing with intent to deliver or manufacture a Schedule I, II, or III controlled substance.
This is a Level 6 felony but it can be elevated depending on the amount.
It is a Level 5 felony for amounts between one and five grams or less than one gram with an enhancing circumstance.
It is a Level 4 felony for amounts between five and ten grams or one to five grams with an enhancing circumstance.
It is a Level 3 felony for ten to 28 grams or five to ten grams with an enhancing circumstance.
Amounts of 28 grams or more or ten to 28 grams with an enhancing circumstance is a Level 2 felony.
What is Possession with Intent to Distribute?
You may face a drug trafficking or distribution offense for simply possessing a controlled substance. The distribution and dealing offenses above can be charged for possession with intent to distribute (PWID). This is a more serious offense than possession of a controlled substance.
To be convicted under this subsection, the following must be true:
- The amount of the controlled substance was at least 28 grams; or
- There is evidence that indicates your intent to deliver, distribute, manufacture, or finance any of these activities.
If you are found in possession of less than 28 grams of a controlled substance with no additional evidence that it was not for personal use, you cannot be convicted for PWID under Indiana’s drug trafficking statute. Twenty-eight grams or more creates an assumption that you intended to distribute. Otherwise, evidence of intent to distribute can include a large amount of cash, materials for packaging and weighing baggies, a scale, or drugs already packaged for distribution.
What Are Controlled Substances in Indiana?
Indiana classifies controlled substances under five schedules. The higher the schedule, the greater the penalties.
The schedules are:
- Schedule I drugs include heroin, LSD, ecstasy, and marijuana.
- Schedule II drugs include Vicodin, oxycodone, cocaine, and methamphetamine
- Schedule III drugs include ketamine, codeine, testosterone, and suboxone
- Schedule IV drugs include Ambien, Valium, and Xanax
- Schedule V drugs include Lyrica, Lomotil, and Parepectolin
Marijuana, while a Schedule 1 drug, is treated differently than other drugs.
What Are Enhancing Circumstances?
If your case has “enhancing circumstances,” the penalties for “drug dealing” can be increased.
Indiana law defines enhancing circumstances as:
- Prior conviction for dealing a controlled substance
- Offense committed while possessing a firearm
- Offense committed within 500 feet of school property or a public park in which a minor could have been present
- Delivered or financed delivery of a controlled substance to a minor at least 3 years under the defendant’s age
- Manufactured or financed the manufacture of the controlled substance
- Offense committed in the presence of a minor
An offense that is otherwise a Level 6 felony, for instance, can be upgraded to a Level 5 felony with any of these circumstances.
What Are the Penalties for a Drug Trafficking Conviction in Indianapolis, Indiana?
The penalties for drug trafficking charges in Indianapolis depend on the type and quantity of the drug, whether you have a criminal record, and any aggravating circumstances.
You may face the following prison sentences for a first-offense drug distribution conviction in Indiana:
- Level 6 felony: 6 months to 2.5 years
- Level 5 felony: 1 to 6 years
- Level 4 felony: 2 to 12 years
- Level 3 felony: 3 to 16 years
- Level 2 felony: 10 to 30 years
You may face other consequences for a felony drug conviction, including:
- Fine of up to $10,000
- Permanent criminal record for a drug offense. A crime of moral turpitude can result in difficulties finding a new job, trouble gaining approval for a rental property, loss of eligibility for federal benefits, and immigration consequences.
- Loss of a professional license if you are a nurse, doctor, pharmacist, teacher, or in another profession requiring state licensing
You may be eligible for a suspended sentence and probation depending on the felony level and prior criminal history. Probation comes with strict requirements such as counseling, community service, drug testing, home confinement, and fees.
What Are Potential Legal Defenses to Drug Trafficking in Indianapolis, IN?
There may be multiple legal defenses available in your criminal case.
Your Indianapolis drug defense lawyer will investigate your case and explore possible defenses, such as:
- Unwitting possession or a lack of knowledge if you were not aware you were transporting, distributing, or delivering a controlled substance
- The controlled substance did not belong to you and was not in your control. This may be a defense if the substance was found in a vehicle or shared home.
- Coercion or duress if you were forced to finance trafficking or delivery or perform delivery of a controlled substance
- Insufficient evidence
- No intent to distribute if the controlled substance in your possession was for personal use
Suhre & Associates, LLC will also investigate whether your rights were violated or there was misconduct. If your rights were violated, we will seek suppression of the evidence.
Contact an Indianapolis Drug Trafficking Lawyer for a Free Case Review
A felony drug conviction can follow you for the rest of your life. Suhre & Associates, LLC is here to give you the robust legal defense you deserve to fight for your future and good name. Contact our law office today for a free initial consultation with an Indianapolis drug trafficking lawyer ready to help you.