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Tag: #trafficking

Drug Trafficking Arrest

Posted on February 19, 2017 in Federal Crimes in Northern KY General Criminal Law Issues - Northern KY

Hire an experienced and competent criminal defense attorney following your arrest.

If you have been arrested for trafficking, selling or planning to sell, drugs you need to hire an experienced criminal defense attorney.  Drugs may include marijuana, cocaine, heroin or prescription medication and sale can be anything from one pill to kilos of cocaine.

If you are charged with trafficking, it will almost undoubtedly be a felony charge.  The defendant will first appear in district court (municipal/room A in Ohio) for arraignment.  Soon thereafter a preliminary hearing will be scheduled.  this is a probable cause hearing and the court will almost always find that probable cause does exist and refer the case to the Grand Jury.  In Kentucky, this is within 10 days if incarcerated or 20 days if out of jail.  The time may be waived if the attorney wants more time to investigate prior to the hearing.

Following the preliminary hearing, the case is heard by the Grand Jury.  the defendant does not appear or present evidence at this hearing which is conducted by the prosecutor.  The Grand Jury in Kentucky generally returns an indictment within 60 days.  This occurs within 2 weeks in Hamilton County.  Ask your attorney if you have questions about time limits and meanings.

After being indicted, the defendant will appear in the Circuit Court (Common Pleas in Ohio) for an arraignment on the indictment.  Following arraignment, discovery begins and the lawyer can find what evidence the state has against the defendant and start discussing the chances at trial.

Often plea negotiations begin following discovery as well.  The attorney can seek a n umber of alternatives and, like all cases, the negotiations improve if the prosecution case is weak.  Talk to your counsel about the case and what are good resolutions.

Being able to navigate though the first court system, as well as federal versus state courts, is essential.  Talking about bail and what motions are appropriate is important to the client and how the judge perceives the defendant.  For a consultation and representation, call Michael Bouldin at Bouldin Law Firm at 859-581-6453 or email mike@bouldinlawfirm.com.

Trafficking – Penalties and Laws in KY

Posted on June 17, 2016 in Federal Crimes in Northern KY General Criminal Law Issues - Northern KY State Crimes in Northern Kentucky

I am often asked what differentiates trafficking from possession if a person is not caught in the act of selling?

The specific definition of trafficking of a controlled substance is found in KRS 218A.010 (50) “Traffic,” except as provided in KRS 218A.1431, means to manufacture, distribute, dispense, sell, transfer, or possess with intent to manufacture, distribute, dispense, or sell a controlled substance.  The trier of facts (typically a jury) can use other indicia of trafficking to infer trafficking or intent to traffic.  For example, if a defendant is found with a large quantity of the controlled substance, a phone (or phones) with text messages indicating trafficking, cash or other items, then that person may be charged with trafficking under KRS 218A.1412 or other statutes.

methamphetamine is found in KRS 218A.1431 as follows (3) “Traffic” means to distribute, dispense, sell, transfer, or possess with intent to distribute, dispense, or sell methamphetamine.

Trafficking of Marijuana is typically a misdemeanor, unless within 500 feet of a school zone or more than 8 ounces (oz.).  Small trafficking is generally a class D Felony, punishable by 1-5 years in prison.  Some trafficking offenses have higher penalties.  For example the following are charged as a Class C Felony, punishable by 5-10 years in prison:

(a) Four (4) grams or more of cocaine;
(b) Two (2) grams or more of heroin, fentanyl, or methamphetamine;
(c) Ten (10) or more dosage units of a controlled substance that is classified in Schedules I or II and is a narcotic drug, or a controlled substance analogue;
(d) Any quantity of lysergic acid diethylamide; phencyclidine; gamma hydroxybutyric acid (GHB), including its salts, isomers, salts of isomers, and analogues; or flunitrazepam, including its salts, isomers, and salts of isomers.

Of additional note, most non-violent felonies are at least eligible for probation and have parole eligibility after serving 20% of a sentence.  Pursuant to KRS 218A.1412 (c) Any person convicted of a Class C felony offense or higher under this section shall not be released on probation, shock probation, parole, conditional discharge, or other form of early release until he or she has served at least fifty percent (50%) of the sentence imposed in cases where the trafficked substance was heroin. This was modification made by recent statutes in March, 2015.

If you have been charged with possession or trafficking of a controlled substance, you need an experienced criminal defense attorney.  For representation in Northern Kentucky, call Michael Bouldin at 859-581-MIKE.  Email mwbouldin2@gmail.com or call 859-581-6453.

What is Difference Between Federal and State Crimes?

Posted on February 15, 2016 in Federal Crimes in Northern KY General Criminal Law Issues - Northern KY

Whether you are charged under a federal crime or state crime often depends on the type of charge or may depend on the agency investigating/charging.

In general, if a city, county or state police investigates and makes the charge or arrest, you will likely be charged with a state crime.

State crimes often include: arson, forgery and possession of forged instruments, murder, receiving stolen property, drug possession and many drug trafficking, sex offenses, .  The large majority of misdemeanor arrests result in state crimes, for example: assault, all traffic and driving offenses, DUI, disorderly conduct, robbery (except bank), prostitution and theft.

If the FBI, DEA, ATF, Secret Service or other federal government agency investigates, you will likely be charged with a federal crime.

Federal crimes include: mail fraud, tax evasion, possession of federally prohibited firearms, counterfeiting, embezzlement, drug trafficking across state lines and generally with significant amounts, hijacking, bank robbery, immigration offenses, and distribution of child pornography across state lines or using internet.

If a DRUG STRIKE FORCE investigates or makes the arrest, you may be charged under local state law OR federal law.

The Northern Kentucky Drug Strike Force is comprised of both state and federal officers.  The charges generally depend on the amount of drugs involved, whether the case was a significant trafficker or a low level user and the amount of resources involved.  IF there are significant assets which may be seized, the chances increase of a federal charge.

Sentencing Depends on the Class of Felony and whether federal or state

Using the federal Guidelines Manual and Sentencing Table (PDF), a judge can see recommended sentences that take into account the felony class as well as the defendant’s criminal history. This allows for someone with no criminal history to get a lighter sentence than a career criminal for the identical crime, while still staying within the published guidelines.

States classify felonies in a manner similar to the federal system, although some states have more or fewer classes, and some use number rather than letter classifications. The sentence ranges for each class also vary by state.  In Kentucky, the class of crime determines the range of penalty.  For a class D Felony, the range is 1-5 years and a defendant may receive probation.*  This can be enhanced if the defendant is eligible as PFO for prior felonies.

Both state and federal crimes may subject a defendant to deportation if they are not a US citizen.  Advise your attorney of your immigration status (even if illegal) so that he can consider this factor if you are not a citizen.

If you or a loved one has been accused of a felony, contact an attorney.  For consultation regarding state or federal charges in Northern Kentucky, contact Michael Bouldin at mike@bouldinlawfirm.com or call 859-581-6453.

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How Does Prosecution Choose Trafficking v Possession?

Posted on November 9, 2015 in General Criminal Law Issues - Northern KY State Crimes in Northern Kentucky

Trafficking of a controlled substance versus possession of the same substance can make a significant difference in the outcome of a case as well as the amount of time that a defendant may be looking at if sentence is imposed.

There are some simple rules that can be applied, however there are exceptions.  Possession is a lesser charge, often a class D felony in Kentucky and may be resolved with deferred prosecution, diversion or probation, often including treatment.  Trafficking is generally a class C felony in Kentucky and nearly always results in a period of incarceration if convicted.  This can very greatly from state to state as well as in the federal level. (Note: Feds rarely concern themselves with possession cases)

Generally if there is a relatively small amount of the controlled substance and it is not individually packaged for resale, the charge will be that of possession.  A number of factors may be considered both by the charging agency (police, Drug Strike force, FBI, DEA) such as: number of units, packaging, cash found on the defendant or in the residence/car, scales, division of drugs.  Also often considered but not evidence is the “word on the street.”  If the agency obtains a warrant due to believed drug sales they will often charge with trafficking even though the evidence really leads to be a possession-type case.

By way of examaple, assume that someone is found with 2g of heroin.  This is on the high side for what many consider to be “individual use.”  If it is found near $2,500 cash and it is packaged in 4-10 separate dosage units and a digital scale is nearby, the likelihood is that the defendant will be charged with trafficking. However, if the 2g is in one unit, there is no money or scales and only a needle nearby and the defendant is a significant user, it may be more likely that he will be charged with possession.

218A.010(49) defines “Traffic” as: except as provided in KRS 218A.1431, means to manufacture, distribute, dispense, sell, transfer, or possess with intent to manufacture, distribute, dispense, or sell a controlled substance.  Of course, if there is evidence of actual trafficking, the charge will be trafficking regardless of the other factors.  For example, if a defendant has sold narcotics to an undercover agent or a confidential informant, they will generally be charged with trafficking regardless of the amount sold.

If you have been charged with possession or trafficking, you are facing serious criminal charges and need to hire an experienced criminal defense attorney.  For a consultation in Northern Kentucky or Cincinnati, contact the Bouldin Law Firm and schedule an appointment.  Call Michael Bouldin at 859-581-6453 (581-MIKE) or email at mike@bouldinlawfirm.com.

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Do I Have to Appeal if Money is Seized?

Posted on June 25, 2015 in Federal Crimes in Northern KY General Criminal Law Issues - Northern KY

You do not have to respond, however the government will keep your money if you do not file Petition/Appeal of the ruling.  If your money is seized by TSA or any other agency, you will (should) receive a letter from US Department of Justice in approximately 30 days outlining the amount seized as well as your rights to petition/appeal.  Following is a sample letter from DOJ (redacted):

Sample DOJ - redacted

As stated in the letter, you have only 30 days to send letter of petition and timing is crucial. If you want to try to get your money back, you MUST FOLLOW THE PROCEDURE.  If the 30 days is insufficient and you need more time to hire an attorney or to gather evidence, you must still send in a letter of appeal, tell them that you need additional time to gather information/evidence and retain counsel.

You are permitted to travel with over $10,000; that is not illegal.  If traveling out of the country, you must declare the amount of cash.  When they seize money, the government presumes that it was obtained illegally.  To get it back, you must prove only that it was legally acquired which is generally done by gathering document gathering.  Common documents are payment records, deposits and withdraws, sale of assets (house, boat, vehicles).

If there were no drugs or other illegal contraband was found while you were traveling then the federal agency does not typically conduct further investigation.  If they had found drugs or contraband, you would likely be facing federal felony charges and the seizure would be included in an indictment.  If no charges were made, no charges or other inquiry will typically arise simply because you choose to forfeit your money.

Contact me directly if you have further questions or to inquire about representation.  Call Michael Bouldin at 859-581-6453 or email at mwbouldin@fuse.net

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What Are Kentucky Penalties for Drug Trafficking?

Posted on February 25, 2015 in Federal Crimes in Northern KY General Criminal Law Issues - Northern KY

Drug trafficking penalties in Kentucky vary by the substance being trafficked as well as by the amount of drugs sold.

KRS 218A.1412 defines Trafficking in controlled substance in first degree and Penalties.
(1) A person is guilty of trafficking in a controlled substance in the first degree when he or she knowingly and unlawfully traffics in: (a) Four (4) grams or more of cocaine; (b) Two (2) grams or more of heroin or methamphetamine; (c) Ten (10) or more dosage units of a controlled substance that is classified in Schedules I or II and is a narcotic drug, or a controlled substance analogue; (d) Any quantity of lysergic acid diethylamide; phencyclidine; gamma hydroxybutyric acid (GHB), including its salts, isomers, salts of isomers, and analogues; or flunitrazepam, including its salts, isomers, and salts of isomers; …
The penalty for violation of KRS 218A.1412 (1)(a)-(d) is 5-10 years in prison as a class C Felony for first offense and B Felony for second or subsequent offenses.
KRS 218A.1413 defines Trafficking in controlled substance in second degree and Penalties.
(1) A person is guilty of trafficking in a controlled substance in the second degree when: (a) He or she knowingly and unlawfully traffics in: 1. Ten (10) or more dosage units of a controlled substance classified in Schedules I and II that is not a narcotic drug; or specified in KRS 218A.1412, and which is not a synthetic drug, salvia, or marijuana; or 2. Twenty (20) or more dosage units of a controlled substance classified in Schedule III; (b) He or she knowingly and unlawfully prescribes, distributes, supplies, or sells an anabolic steroid for: 1. Enhancing human performance in an exercise, sport, or game; or 2. Hormonal manipulation intended to increase muscle mass, strength, or weight in the human species without a medical necessity; or (c) He or she knowingly and unlawfully traffics in any quantity of a controlled substance specified in paragraph (a) of this subsection in an amount less than the amounts specified in that paragraph.
The penalty for violation of KRS 218A.1413 is 1-5 years in prison as a class D Felony for first offense.

The majority of drug trafficking cases are charged as Class C felonies.  That charged can also be increased if the trafficking is within 1000 linear feet of a school or daycare.  Marijuana trafficking is not included in this post may be a Class A misdemeanor or a Class D felony.  See prior post relating to marijuana trafficking.

If you have been charged in Kentucky or Federal court for trafficking of drugs, you need a criminal defense attorney. For consultation and representation in Boone, Campbell, Kenton or federal court, contact Michael Bouldin at mike@bouldinlawfirm.com or call 859-581-6453.

 

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