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Wisconsin Drug Trafficking Laws and Consequences

Posted on in Drug Crimes

drug trafficking offenses, Wisconsin drug trafficking laws, Milwaukee drug crime defense lawyers, drug possession, drug possession convictionby Ray Dall’Osto & Steven McGaver

While criminal charges can result in serious consequences, those who are arrested and charged with drug crimes, particularly those involving opioids and distribution, will face zealous prosecution and a significantly greater risk of incarceration. Charges related to the possession of controlled substances are serious, but accusations of drug trafficking (sale and/or distribution, possession with intent to deliver and manufacturing) are more likely to result in severe punishment, as well as a felony record. Those facing drug charges should make sure they understand the nature of the charges and their options for defense.

Drug Crime Statistics

Possession of controlled substances is the most commonly charged drug crime in Wisconsin, making up around 80 percent of all arrests. In 2017, there were 17,022 arrests for possession of marijuana and 8,962 arrests for possession of other drugs. There were 4,843 arrests for the sale of controlled substances. Overall, Wisconsin averages around 450 drug arrests each year for every 100,000 people in the state’s population, which compares to a rate of around 550 drug arrests for every 100,000 people across the entire United States.

Sentencing policies in Wisconsin have resulted in an increase in prison population from 4,000 to 24,000 from 1980 to date. The number of people incarcerated in state prisons for drug offenses increased nine-fold since 1980. Just under half of all federal prison inmates are incarcerated on drug convictions. Most of this group of inmates are not high level actors in the drug trade, and most have no prior criminal record for violent offenses. Wisconsin eliminated parole in 1999.

Wisconsin Drug Trafficking Laws

Wisconsin laws group drug trafficking offenses into the categories of manufacture, distribution, or delivery of controlled substances; all of which are felony crimes. Distribution as defined in the Wisconsin statute includes not only sale, but also simply sharing or even passing a marijuana joint or pipe to another. The consequences for drug trafficking vary depending on the type of drug. Drugs are grouped into different “schedules” based on their potential for abuse and whether they have any accepted medical use. Schedule I drugs have the highest potential for abuse, and they include heroin and LSD. Tetrahydocannabinol (THC), the psychoactive chemical in marijuana, is also listed in Schedule I. Wisconsin laws considering marijuana as dangerous as heroin and opioids is ridiculous, contrary to medical science and is blatantly unfair, considering that it is legal, decriminalized or allowed for medical use in 30 of the 50 states.

The potential consequences for drug trafficking can depend on the amount of the substance involved. Charges for manufacturing, distributing, or delivering heroin, methamphetamines, cocaine, or PCP can range from a Class G felony (punishable by a maximum fine of $25,000 and up to 10 years in prison) to a Class C felony (punishable by a maximum fine of $100,000 and up to 40 years in prison). The penalty structure for cocaine is similar. Charges for trafficking of marijuana can range from a Class I felony (punishable by a maximum fine of $10,000 and up to 3 years in prison) to a Class E felony (punishable by a maximum fine of $50,000 and up to 15 years in prison). Synthetic cannabinoids are also punished as felony offenses.

The punishments for drug trafficking increase if children are involved. A person who uses a child under the age of 17 to manufacture, distribute, or deliver a controlled substance can be charged with a Class F felony (punishable by a maximum fine of $25,000 and up to 12 years in prison). Selling or delivering illegal drugs to a child under the age of 17 will result in five years being added to the maximum prison sentence for drug trafficking charges.

In addition to fines and imprisonment, those convicted of drug trafficking charges will have their driver’s license suspended for six months to five years. They may also be subject to seizure of any assets (including raw materials, containers, vehicles, and money) involved in or obtained by the commission of the crime.

Contact a Southeast Wisconsin Criminal Defense Attorney

If you are facing charges related to drug trafficking or possession in Waukesha, Ozaukee, Washington, Milwaukee, Walworth, Racine or Kenosha Counties, the experienced drug defense attorneys of Gimbel, Reilly, Guerin & Brown, LLP will work to protect your rights and help you to defend the drug charges you may face. Contact our Milwaukee, WI drug crime defense lawyers at 414-271-1440.









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