Published in Criminal Law by Chris Eskew on September 2, 2022.

All drug offenses are serious, but drug trafficking charges are some of the most severe. When most people hear the word trafficking, they think of large-scale drug operations across the southern border of the United States and Mexico. However, drug trafficking occurs within the confines of the country across state lines.

What Charges Do You Get for Drug Trafficking?

Depending on the particular circumstances, you may be charged with state or federal offenses. You can also be charged with both. 

Indiana drug trafficking laws are some of the most serious drug crimes in the state. A person may be charged with drug trafficking if they knowingly or intentionally:

  • Manufacture,
  • Finance the manufacture of,
  • Deliver, or
  • Finance the delivery of cocaine or a narcotic drug, pure or adulterated, that is classified in schedule I or II.

They can also pick up a drug trafficking charge if they knowingly or intentionally possess drugs with the intent to:

  • Manufacture,
  • Finance the manufacture of,
  • Deliver, or
  • Finance the delivery of cocaine or a narcotic drug, pure or adulterated, that’s classified in schedule I or II.

Anyone who commits such acts can be charged with dealing in cocaine or a narcotic drug. This is a Level 5 felony in most cases. In addition to drug trafficking crimes, you may face related crimes, including illegal possession of a firearm, possession of drug paraphernalia, and even RICO offenses.  

Penalties for Drug Trafficking in Indiana

What are the penalties for drug trafficking? The penalties you face for a drug trafficking conviction depend primarily on the quantity and type of drug involved. Generally, drug trafficking crimes are felony offenses, and you will face jail time for even the lowest level offense.

The following penalties are associated with drug trafficking in Indiana:

  • Level 6 felony: 6 months to 2 ½ years in prison.
  • Level 5 felony: 1 to 6 years in prison.
  • Level 4 felony: 2 to 12 years in prison.
  • Level 3 felony: 3 to 16 years in prison.
  • Level 2 felony: 10 to 30 years in prison.

All carry a potential fine of up to $10,000 in addition to incarceration.

A conviction for drug trafficking offenses will also result in a tarnished criminal record, making it difficult to find and keep gainful employment, obtain a mortgage, or attend college or other education programs. 

Possible Defenses to Drug Trafficking Charges

There are a few possible defenses to drug trafficking charges. 

Fourth Amendment Violation

One of the most common reasons for drug trafficking charges to be dismissed is on Fourth Amendment grounds. Was there an illegal search or seizure by the police? If the police did not have a warrant or consent to search your person or property, they might have violated your Fourth Amendment rights. And even if they had a warrant, their search might have gone beyond the scope of the warrant. A skilled defense attorney can assess the state’s evidence for Fourth Amendment violations. 

Your attorney can file and argue a motion to suppress any illegally confiscated evidence. And if the suppression of the evidence is not enough to warrant an outright dismissal, at the very least, that particular evidence should be excluded from the trial.

Lack of Knowledge

Since an essential element of drug trafficking is knowledge. So if you can show you did not know about the existence or nature of the drugs, you might have a viable defense.


Entrapment means that the police or a government agent persuaded you to participate in a drug trafficking crime that you had no previous propensity towards committing. The police must have enticed you and provided you with an opportunity to do so for this defense to apply. 

A sharp defense attorney can spot any defense that might apply to your case. 

Eskew Law: Defense Attorneys Dedicated to You

If you have questions about your drug trafficking charges and possible penalties, call the defense attorneys at Eskew Law. Whether you have been charged with drug trafficking or a minor possession offense, our criminal defense attorneys have the knowledge and expertise to guide you. For the last 10 years, we have dedicated our practice to helping individuals accused of a wide array of drug crimes. If you require an attorney, look no further. We provide personal and individualized attention to every one of our clients. First, we get to know you; then, we go to work for you. Contact us today to schedule a confidential consultation. 

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Chris Eskew

Chris Eskew is the founding partner of Eskew Law. With over 15 years of experience, he focuses his practice on criminal defense, DUI defense, and family law. Chris is known for his dedication to his clients, his strong advocacy skills, and his commitment to achieving the best possible outcomes in legal matters. He is well-respected within the legal community and has earned a reputation for providing personalized and effective representation.