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How likely is jail time after a fentanyl trafficking conviction?

On Behalf of | Jun 10, 2024 | Drug Crimes |

Fentanyl is a powerful synthetic opioid that is much stronger than heroin and morphine. Often used medically for severe pain, it has become a major problem due to illegal trafficking.

Fentanyl trafficking carries severe legal consequences because it contributes to the ongoing opioid crisis. Many people wonder how likely jail time is after a conviction for fentanyl trafficking.

Legal penalties for fentanyl trafficking

Fentanyl trafficking is a serious crime with harsh penalties. The legal system often prioritizes cases involving fentanyl due to the drug’s high potential for abuse and overdose. Convicted individuals typically face mandatory minimum sentences. Federal law mandates a minimum of five years in prison for trafficking 40 grams or more of fentanyl. The penalties increase with larger amounts of the drug. For instance, trafficking 400 grams or more can result in a minimum of ten years in prison. These mandatory minimums ensure that convicted traffickers serve significant time behind bars.

Factors affecting jail time

Several factors influence the length of jail time for fentanyl trafficking. A key factor is the amount of fentanyl involved in the crime. Larger quantities usually result in longer sentences. The defendant’s criminal history also plays a role. Repeat offenders often receive harsher penalties compared to first-time offenders. Additionally, if the trafficking operation involves other crimes, such as violence or gang activity, the sentence will likely be more severe.

Per the U.S. Sentencing Commission, 97.7% of fentanyl traffickers face time behind bars. The average time spent there for these offenders is 64 months, highlighting the seriousness of the offense.