Friday, September 16, 2011

Yay! Oh! The Legal Details on Trafficking in Cocaine.

Apparently one can stuff almost a kilo of booger sugar into one’s intestines.  If one is so inclined. 

Per MSNBC, the link above shows bags filled with cocaine inside the gastrointestinal tract of a 20-year-old Irish national arrested by police at Congonhas airport in Sao Paulo, Brazil, on September 12. According to MSNBC, the man, identified only as P.B.B., was stopped whilst trying to board a flight outbound for Brussels with 72 bags containing almost a kilogram of the drug inside his intestines.

If you haven’t clicked on the link above, you should do so, if only to see the advances in modern medical imaging.  It’s fascinating.

There are a lot of reasons the above gentleman may not be guilty.  If the baggies contain some substance besides the alleged happy dust, he obviously isn’t guilty of the offense for which he is charged.  And even if the baggies do contain cocaine, if he was forced to smuggle the drugs against his will (which certainly has happened in some past cases), then he may have a solid “choice of evils” defense.  In which case he would also be Not Guilty.  Regardless, I do not know P.B.B., and we can’t know whether the allegations against him are true or false.

On a related note – we’ve talked at length about the big changes that HB 463 made to Kentucky marijuana laws.   People have asked me what changes HB 463 has brought to laws concerning other drugs.  Cocaine trafficking has certainly been affected by the bill, and the changes have been codified into law.  The question for today is:  In Kentucky, how much cocaine can a person sell before the transaction constitutes “cocaine trafficking?”

Any Louisville drug charge lawyer can tell you that the law used to say that any transfer of cocaine whatsoever constituted trafficking in a controlled substance, first degree.  Lawyers frequently refer to “trafficking in a controlled substance” as “TICS” which is pronounced “ticks.”  For example:  “My client was charged with 'TICS first,' but I walked him because he was only the driver of the vehicle.  The passenger was the one selling yay out the window.”

Anyway, the law has changed.  Since June 8, 2011, there is a minimum amount of cocaine that must be sold to constitute TICS first.  KRS 218A.1412 controls, and it provides:

(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; …
(3) (a) … any person who violates the provisions of this section shall be guilty of a Class C felony for the first offense and a Class B felony for a second or subsequent offense.

Obviously this is pretty serious stuff.  For the first offense, the defendant is looking at 5-10 years in prison on a Class C felony, and for the second or subsequent offense, the defendant is looking at 10-20 on a Class B.  That’s a lot of time.  So how much is a gram of cocaine?  For those who don’t have jobs that require you to be familiar with the measurements of Colombian bam bam, a gram is about one Splenda packet.  Part of the answer to our question of the day is: You have to traffic four grams or more of cocaine in order to be guilty of TICS first.

This does not mean that selling less than four grams of cocaine is ok.  Trafficking in ANY amount of cocaine is still very much a felony in Kentucky.  However, HB 463 changed the laws so that trafficking in less than 4 grams now constitutes a Class D felony, rather than a Class C.  Also, for first offense traffickers, KRS 218A.1413 places a jail cap on the Class D felony of 3 years.  If a person traffics in less than four grams of cocaine, and the offense is a second or subsequent offense, then they face a Class D felony without the jail cap.  That means they face the normal 1-5 years that a Class D felony typically carries.

Please be advised that you can avoid the above offenses by NOT trafficking in cocaine.

Cocaine charges are very serious in Kentucky.  If you have been charged with trafficking in cocaine in Louisville, Lexington, Frankfort, Elizabethtown or the surrounding areas, you should get a lawyer that will fight for your Constitutional rights.  Call Louisville drug charge lawyer Greg Simms. for a free consultation about your case.  Call 502.618.4949 today.  Results.  As fast as the law will allow.

Questions answered in this blog post: What constitutes trafficking in cocaine in Kentucky; how much cocaine equals trafficking in cocaine in Kentucky; how do I find a good Louisville drug charge lawyer; how much is a gram of cocaine; how big is a gram of cocaine;  what were the changes HB 463 made to cocaine trafficking; how do I find a good Louisville cocaine trafficking lawyer; how many slang terms for cocaine can I shove into a blog post; how many grams constitutes trafficking in a controlled substance for cocaine?


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