Arizona Drug Trafficking Charges
If you are facing Drug Trafficking charges, hiring a skilled and experienced defense attorney can be the difference between a favorable outcome and a devastating one. Josh Kolsrud can help you understand your charges, build a strong defense, negotiate with the prosecution, and protect your rights in court.
During Josh’s 14 years as a state, international, and federal prosecutor, he tried over 100 cases to verdict. As an Assistant United States Attorney (AUSA), Josh handled 3,528 cases, with the vast majority dealing with border crimes including Drug Trafficking. Josh and his team will work tirelessly to defend your rights and protect your interests throughout the legal process. We have a deep understanding of federal laws and can provide the expert guidance you need to build a strong defense and achieve the best possible outcome in your case.
What is Drug Trafficking under 21 USC § 841?
Drug trafficking is defined as the act of manufacturing, distributing, dispensing, or possessing with intent to manufacture, distribute, or dispense a controlled substance. Under 21 USC § 802, a controlled substance is a drug or other substance that is categorized as having a potential for abuse and poses a risk to public health and safety.
The Controlled Substances Act (CSA) divides controlled substances into five schedules based on their potential for abuse and their medical value. Schedule I drugs, such as heroin and LSD, have a high potential for abuse and no accepted medical use. Schedule II drugs, such as cocaine and fentanyl, also have a high potential for abuse but are accepted for medical use in certain circumstances.
Drug trafficking can involve any controlled substance, regardless of its schedule. It includes a wide range of activities, from the production of drugs in a laboratory to the sale of drugs on the street. Even possessing a controlled substance with the intent to distribute it can be considered drug trafficking under the law.
Defending Against Drug Trafficking Charges
If you are facing drug trafficking charges, you need to understand your legal defenses to avoid the severe penalties that come with a conviction. Give us a call so we can explain the common legal defenses for drug trafficking under 21 USC § 841 and provide examples and explanations.
Lack of knowledge:
One of the most common defenses to drug trafficking charges is the lack of knowledge. In other words, if you did not know that you were trafficking drugs, you cannot be convicted of the crime. For example, suppose you borrowed a friend's car, and he left a bag of drugs in the trunk without your knowledge. In that case, you would not be guilty of drug trafficking because you did not know that you were transporting drugs. However, proving lack of knowledge can be challenging, as prosecutors will try to establish that you had reason to know that you were transporting drugs. For instance, if you had previously transported drugs for the same friend, the prosecution could argue that you should have known that the bag contained drugs. Additionally, if you were paid to transport the bag, the prosecution could argue that you must have known what you were transporting.
Lack of intent:
Another common defense to drug trafficking charges is the lack of intent. In other words, if you did not intend to distribute or sell drugs, you cannot be convicted of drug trafficking. For example, if you were caught with a large quantity of drugs, but you can prove that you only possessed them for personal use, you would not be guilty of drug trafficking. To establish lack of intent, your defense attorney will need to show that you did not have any involvement in drug distribution or sales. For example, if you were caught with drugs, but you can prove that you had no prior history of drug trafficking or drug-related activities, it may be easier to establish lack of intent.
Unlawful search and seizure:
The Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution protects citizens from unreasonable searches and seizures by the government. If the police violated your Fourth Amendment rights by conducting an unlawful search and seizure, any evidence they found during that search cannot be used against you in court. For example, if the police searched your car without a warrant or probable cause and found drugs, your defense attorney could argue that the search was unlawful and that the evidence should be suppressed. However, it is essential to note that there are exceptions to the warrant requirement, such as the automobile exception. Under this exception, police officers can search a vehicle without a warrant if they have probable cause to believe that the vehicle contains evidence of a crime.
Entrapment occurs when the police or government agents induce you to commit a crime that you would not have otherwise committed. In other words, if the government persuaded you to traffic drugs, you could argue that you were entrapped and should not be held responsible for the crime. To prove entrapment, you must show that the police or government agent induced you to commit the crime and that you did not have any predisposition to commit the crime. For example, if an undercover agent offered you money to transport drugs, and you refused several times before finally accepting, you may be able to argue entrapment.
Finally, if the prosecution does not have sufficient evidence to prove your guilt beyond a reasonable doubt, your defense attorney can argue that you should be acquitted. For example, if the prosecution cannot prove that you had knowledge of the drugs or that.
Mistake of Fact:
Mistake of fact is another defense that can be used in drug trafficking cases. This defense occurs when a person has an honest and reasonable belief that their actions were legal. For example, if someone believed that the drugs they were transporting were legal prescription drugs, they would have a defense of mistake of fact. To establish mistake of fact, the defense attorney must show that the person had an honest and reasonable belief that their actions were legal. Additionally, the defense attorney must show that the mistake of fact was not due to the person's negligence or recklessness.
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An award-winning criminal defense attorney Since 2006
Why Choose Josh Kolsrud
With over 100 trials to his name, and years of experience as a state and federal prosecutor, Josh understands the law, the legal process, and your rights. Josh is also committed to representing every client with utmost integrity and dedication
Josh has prosecuted major crimes on the state and federal level, led a successful anti-human sex trafficking operation that saved lives, and argued before countless juries and justices for his clients
Josh is an expert in both Arizona and federal criminal law, and is ready to put that expertise to work for you.
As a prosecutor, Josh saw far too many defendants lose their livelihood due to poor representation. Josh will always give every client his complete attention and effort