Federal and state drug trafficking charges carry very serious penalties if an individual is convicted. The severity of the punishment will depend on a number of factors, including the type and quantity of drugs seized. A conviction in federal court of drug trafficking can result in a lengthy prison sentence - up to and including life in prison. Iowa also has its own set of drug laws, and a conviction in state court can carry similar severe penalties.
Federal and state laws classify certain drugs as controlled substances, meaning their distribution and use are strictly controlled by law. Federal drug laws classify illegal drugs into a series of schedules, depending on their danger to users and the severity of penalties for possession or distribution. Marijuana, for example, is a Schedule I controlled substance under federal law. Cocaine is a schedule II substance, and so on.
Federal drug distribution and trafficking charges must be defended aggressively, because the defendant has so much to lose if convicted. There are a number of defense strategies that can be effective in these cases. One of the most important issues in drug distribution cases is whether any police search and seizure that led to the arrest was constitutional.
The Fourth Amendment to the Constitution protects all U.S. residents from unreasonable searches and seizures. What is reasonable or unreasonable in a given fact situation is a question the courts have wrestled with since the Constitution was ratified. The right approach may be to argue effectively that evidence in a drug trafficking case should be thrown out because it was seized in an illegal search.
Source: Findlaw.com, "Drug Trafficking/Distribution," accessed Dec. 9, 2016