How possessing a firearm impacts drug trafficking charges

On Behalf of | Feb 3, 2023 | Criminal Defense

Drug trafficking charges carry serious potential consequences in Ohio. The stakes go up if you are also in possession of a firearm when you face arrest for a drug trafficking crime.

How does possessing a firearm impact drug trafficking charges?

Federal drug trafficking laws

Usually, when law enforcement arrests people for drug trafficking crimes, the laws of the state where the crime occurred apply. However, there are some circumstances where a drug trafficking arrest can result in federal charges. It is a federal crime to brandish, possess or discharge a firearm while committing a drug trafficking crime.

How federal charges may impact your drug trafficking case

Federal charges for possessing a firearm during a drug trafficking crime can impact your case in multiple ways. First, the minimum penalties you will face if convicted will probably go up. Depending on the severity of the crime, you could face anywhere from five years to life in prison.

Second, federal prosecutors often have more resources to utilize in prosecuting drug trafficking cases than state prosecutors. This may make it more difficult for you to successfully defend yourself against criminal charges.

Third, the potential for jail time goes up because prosecutors can charge some federal drug trafficking crimes as multiple separate crimes that can result in separate, consecutive sentences. In addition to any penalty you face for drug trafficking, you could face a minimum sentence of five to 10 years for possessing, brandishing or discharging a firearm during a drug trafficking crime.

Drug trafficking charges are always serious. However, the potential consequences increase severely when you face charges for a drug trafficking crime while possessing a firearm.