Understanding the penalties for trafficking fentanyl

Understanding the penalties for trafficking fentanyl

On Behalf of | Mar 2, 2024 | Criminal Defense

Federal fentanyl trafficking carries severe penalties under U.S. law. Understanding these consequences is helpful for anyone facing fentanyl-related drug charges.

Trafficking fentanyl falls under the jurisdiction of federal law enforcement agencies. The federal government classifies fentanyl as a Schedule II controlled substance due to its high potential for abuse and severe health risks.

Mandatory minimum sentences

Federal law imposes mandatory minimum sentences for trafficking specific quantities of fentanyl. These sentences ensure that convicted individuals serve time in prison, regardless of mitigating circumstances. These mandatory minimums serve as a deterrent. They also reflect the seriousness with which the federal government approaches fentanyl trafficking.

Enhanced penalties for aggravating factors

Aggravating factors can escalate penalties further. Examples of aggravating factors include prior criminal history or involvement in a large-scale trafficking operation. Repeat offenders may face enhanced sentences. Those involved in trafficking networks could face additional charges such as conspiracy or racketeering. Also, if fentanyl trafficking leads to death or serious bodily harm, this may result in homicide or assault charges. Both have the potential to lead to life-long imprisonment.

Financial penalties

Federal fentanyl trafficking convictions often incur hefty fines. These fines can reach millions of dollars, reflecting the government’s efforts to deter drug trafficking. Beyond the immediate consequences, a federal conviction for fentanyl trafficking can have long-lasting effects. For example, it may lead to difficulty securing employment or housing.

The U.S. Sentencing Commission reports that 97.7% of those convicted of fentanyl trafficking serve time in prison. The average amount of time spent there is 64 months.