Thursday, November 1, 2012

No Proof of Purchase Necessary: Drug Trafficking Definitions

From Images_of_Money
There are a lot of new drug trafficking cases in Maine these days. There are always a bunch of arrests in Portland, but there seem to be more in York County where Old Orchard Beach police have been cracking down on drug activity. In most of these cases no one was actually caught selling drugs. In fact, the most common scenario is that police search a person or vehicle, often after using drug dogs to get probable cause, they then find drugs that they believe were intended for trafficking.

If some of these folks had followed my advice on avoiding criminal charges in the first place, they might have never been arrested. Once they are charged, the state has several options in how to prove trafficking.

Definition of Drug Trafficking:

Maine law on drug trafficking does not require that the state prove someone sold drugs for money. Obviously selling drugs to someone is trafficking but the law also defines trafficking to mean:
  • To manufacture or make drugs
  • To deliver or transfer drugs to someone
  • To trade drugs for something else
  • To Possess drugs with the intent to sell, or exchange them for something
  • To possess, without any other proof of intent, 2 grams or more of heroin

The Jury's Permissible Inference of Drug Trafficking:

Maybe more importantly, the law also contains a set of "presumptive trafficking" scenarios. Under these circumstances, a jury may infer that a person was trafficking if the state proves that the person possessed certain amounts of drugs:
  • More than 1 pound of marijuana
  • 14 g or more of powder cocaine
  • 4 g or more of crack cocaine
  • 14 g or more of methamphetamine
  • 90 or more pills containing any other narcotic drug
  • Any number of pills that total 800 mg or more of oxycodone or 100 mg or more of hydromorphone
  • 30 or more pills containing MDMA or other similar drugs.
If those amounts can be proved, the state does not need to supply other proof of intent or sale in order to support a trafficking charge. The Defense has the opportunity to challenge the inference, and a jury must decide what they believe.