A volume dealer is someone who law enforcement sees as possessing and selling large quantities of illegal narcotics. The most serious of volume dealing related charges is drug trafficking which carries potentially life-altering consequences if convicted.
Individuals under suspicion of producing, distributing, transporting, or selling large amounts of illegal narcotics may face these charges if the quantities of drugs involved exceed certain threshold levels. Those levels vary from drug to drug. Far more marijuana is required to reach the weight threshold for trafficking as opposed to quantities of methamphetamine, cocaine, or opioids.
Drug trafficking and high volume dealing involves a set of serious mandatory minimum penalties, regardless of whether one is facing these charges in federal or state court. Judges are often not permitted to issue sentences less than those established by law to people convicted of drug trafficking.
These large volume amounts are the most serious drug cases for district attorney generals and large-volume dealers are generally treated as the greatest threat to public welfare and safety. If you are facing volume dealing charges in Chattanooga, it is essential that you work with a local drug distribution attorney who has experience handling high-stakes cases.
Penalties for such charges vary based on the aggregate amount involved, but sentencing largely follows the appropriate class treatment from A to E laid out in the law. Any amount of marijuana greater than half an ounce may be charged as a felony in Tennessee. For possession with intent to sell half an ounce to ten pounds of a substance, an individual could face one to six years for a Class E felony, the lightest of the felony classes.
A class D felony carries potential penalties from two to 12 years for selling or possessing between ten and 70 pounds of marijuana with intent to sell. Class C felonies carry three to 15 years of potential prison time for 70 pounds to 300 pounds of marijuana. Any case involving possession of more than 300 pounds of marijuana may be charged as a Class B felony and carry no less than eight years but no more than 30 years in custody for violations.
These ranges of penalties are standard, but the amounts required to reach each felony-level vary from drug to drug. It is important to understand which drug and punishment schedule an individual’s case will follow to determine the total consequences they might face.
If the quantities of a drug reach certain volumes, drug distribution charges may be elevated to volume dealing charges or add-on charges that are subject to enhanced penalties at sentencing. Drug cases could receive add-on charges in several ways, and those charges can carry enhanced mandatory minimum penalties or even life sentences.
The government often alleges that drugs are more frequently distributed in sensitive areas, like school zones, in an effort to increase underlying statutory punishments for drug charges. Officials may also file enhancements to increase statutory penalties under federal law against defendants with criminal histories, prior felony drug convictions, or volume-level charges.
Technically, any felony amount of an illegal substance is considered volume dealing under Tennessee law. With respect to marijuana, this may be as little as half an ounce. Drug amounts that exceed possession levels for casual exchanges could result in volume-amount or volume dealer charges and be treated as narcotics trafficking or possession with intent to distribute. Volume dealing charges in Chattanooga that involve transporting large quantities of drugs from state to state or city to city will likely be treated differently and taken very seriously by law enforcement.
In Chattanooga, laws enforcement views volume dealer cases as fundamentally different from cases involving possession of smaller quantities of drugs. Most drug possession cases involve defendants that purchased or otherwise acquired small amounts of drugs for personal use. These individuals may face charges when they are apprehended, but volume dealers may be subject to far more stringent investigations, wiretaps, and other forms of surveillance as police investigate them. These cases are often much more complex than possession cases because of the amount of evidence involved.
Months of surveillance may go into forming a local volume dealing charge, and as a result, there are many opportunities for the police to make mistakes when it comes to an individual’s constitutional rights or their methodology in obtaining evidence. Evidence can be lost, destroyed, or declared inadmissible at trial and an experienced attorney could leverage these realities to fight for a better outcome.
If you are facing volume dealing charges in Chattanooga, you absolutely have to speak to a lawyer right away. You could potentially be facing life in prison. Even possessing half and ounce of marijuana could send you to prison for years. Call a dedicated attorney right away to get the help you need.