What are the penalties for transporting drugs across state lines?

On Behalf of | Nov 23, 2021 | Drug Charges

Pennsylvania drug charges can be considered federal crimes in some circumstances. If a person is convicted of transporting illicit drugs from one state to another, they can face federal penalties. It’s important for anyone facing such charges to have a strong defense in their case.

When can a person face federal drug charges?

Federal drug charges in Pennsylvania may be given to individuals who have been accused of transporting illicit drugs. This crime is also known as drug trafficking and is considered a federal offense. If a person is convicted, they can face serious penalties as the crime is classified as a felony.

For example, a person is on a road trip, driving from Pennsylvania to Michigan. The person is pulled over by a police officer for speeding, and the officer finds cocaine in the vehicle. Because the person was found with illegal drugs and traveled into another state, they could be arrested and charged with the federal drug crime of trafficking.

What federal penalties can you face for a conviction?

Federal drug charges differ from those issued in Pennsylvania. As a federal offense, drug trafficking is illegal, and the law prohibits people from transporting an illicit drug across state lines or distributing, selling, manufacturing or possessing it.

There are harsh penalties that come with a conviction. Depending on the amount of the illegal drug involved, it’s possible for a person to receive five years in prison if the drug is marijuana. However, if the drug is cocaine or heroin, a person who is convicted can face a prison sentence ranging from 5 to 40 years for 100 to 500 grams, respectively. The most serious penalty is 10 years to life for a conviction involving 5 kilograms of cocaine, 1 kilogram of heroin or 1,000 kilograms of marijuana.

Prison sentences are higher for larger amounts of illicit drugs. If a person suffers a serious bodily injury during a federal drug offense, the defendant could face even harsher penalties. Mounting a defense against these charges may result in avoiding a conviction.