What Are the Penalties for Drug Trafficking in New Mexico?
There is a wide range of sentencing guidelines that apply to drug trafficking charges in New Mexico. Although not in every case, sentences are rendered by the jurisdiction, schedule classification, location, parties involved and quantity.
In New Mexico State Court, drug trafficking is a second-degree felony in New Mexico and carries a maximum penalty of up to nine years in prison for a conviction with fines of up to $10,000.00. Certain factors, such as a prior drug trafficking conviction, trafficking to a minor, trafficking in a school zone may increase a drug trafficking charge to a first-degree felony. A first-degree felony in New Mexico state court, carries a mandatory minimum eighteen (18) years in prison and a fine of up to $20,000.00.
If you are charged with federal drug trafficking, mandatory minimum sentences for federal drug trafficking crimes can carry at least five years or more depending upon the drug allegedly trafficked. In addition to prison sentences, there are associated fines for individual classes. Some of them can go as high as $75 million! In federal court, there are various other factors under the federal sentencing guidelines which may significantly increase prison exposure.
In This Post
In this post, I address the following related questions and concerns:
- How Do Laws Define Drug Trafficking?
- Is Drug Trafficking a Misdemeanor or Felony?
- Is drug trafficking considered to be a state or federal crime?
- What are the different drug schedules and classes?
- What should you do if you are charged with drug trafficking in New Mexico?
If you need specific legal advice, make sure you reach out to a New Mexico drug trafficking lawyer. I offer prospective clients a free case strategy session to help them understand their legal options.
How Do Laws Define Drug Trafficking?
If you are charged at the state level, N.M. Stat § 30-31-20 defines drug trafficking as:
- The manufacturing of Schedule I, II, III, IV, or V drugs
- The manufacturing of a controlled substance analog
- The sale or distribution of a(n):
- Schedule I or II narcotic
- Possession with intent to distribute:
- Schedule I or II narcotic
If you are charged at the federal level, you will be charged and convicted under the Controlled Substance Act by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Association (DEA). The guidance is similar to that of the state level, but addresses interstate matters and more severe cases.
Is Drug Trafficking a Misdemeanor or Felony?
Trafficking of Schedule I through V drugs and controlled substance analogs is a second-degree felony in the State of New Mexico. Felonies in New Mexico impose a minimum penalty of one year.
Is Drug Trafficking Considered to Be a State or Federal Crime?
Drug trafficking can be charged as a state or federal crime. Typically, charges become a federal offense when the alleged acts involve moving drugs across state lines while meeting federal thresholds. Various other factors may also increase the possibility of a drug trafficking being prosecuted at the federal level. Factors, such as illegal reentry, felon in possession of a firearm, large quantities of money, guns and ammunition may increase the possibility of a case being prosecuted in federal court. In fact, over the last few years, it appears that there is an increase in the number of cases being pursued in federal court.
What Are the Different Drug Schedules and Classes?
Drugs in New Mexico are classified into five distinct schedules depending upon the drug’s acceptable medical use and the drug abuse or dependency potential. Our state’s laws also recognize that some controlled substances do not fit into a drug schedule category. These other drugs are known as controlled substance analogs.
I describe each of the drug schedules and classes below:
- Schedule I: Schedule I drugs are defined as ones having no accepted medical purpose and carry a high abuse potential. Federal and state laws consider them to be the most dangerous of all the classes. Examples of schedule I drugs include amphetamines, marijuana, LSD, heroin, and peyote.
- Schedule II: Schedule II drugs are defined as ones that have a high abuse potential, but less so than Schedule I drugs. Federal and state laws also consider them to be dangerous. Examples of Schedule II drugs include cocaine, methamphetamine, fentanyl, and methadone.
- Schedule III: Schedule III drugs are defined as having a moderate to low abuse potential for psychological and physical dependence. Examples of Schedule III drugs include Vicodin, Tylenol with codeine, ketamine, and steroids.
- Schedule IV: Schedule IV drugs are still illegal but carry a low abuse potential for chemical dependency. Examples of Schedule IV drugs include Xanax, Valium, and Ambien.
- Schedule V: Schedule V drugs are considered to carry the lowest abuse potential and contain a limited quantity of specific narcotics. Examples of Schedule V drugs include Robitussin A.C. and Lyrica.
- Controlled substance analogs: Under NM Stat § 30-31-2, a controlled substance analog is a drug that does not fit into the I through V categories but is substantially similar to them. Examples of controlled substance analogs include phenethylamines, morphinans, quinazolinones, and arylcycloalkylamines.
Depending upon the drug and the amount allegedly trafficked, the penalties vary. Some situations require judges to order minimum sentences while others describe maximum penalties only with no minimums.
What Should You Do If You Are Charged with Drug Trafficking in New Mexico?
When facing drug trafficking charges, you should understand that these are some of the most severe accusations someone can encounter. There are lifelong consequences for criminal court convictions, which will affect the rest of your life.
If you or a loved one are charged with federal or state drug trafficking in New Mexico, make sure you hire a reputable criminal defense lawyer in your area. He or she will protect your rights and fight your charges to get them reduced or dismissed.
While not all cases are candidates for these options, you will have the reassurance in knowing that someone is fiercely and loyally defending you when dealing with the criminal justice system.
Free Case Strategy Session to Discuss Drug Trafficking Charges
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