The laws that govern drug dealing or sales of drugs vary widely from state to state and under federal regulations. Individuals who have been charged with drug-related crimes in Wisconsin will face different procedural and sentencing rules than they would find in other states. That said, there are some similarities than run across state lines.
Generally, drug dealing penalties are governed by the type and amount of drugs sold, as well as the prior related history of the accused. Drug dealing is often a felony offense. Drug possession, on the other hand, is most often charged as a misdemeanor. It may not even rise to the level of a misdemeanor in some circumstances, such as in areas where marijuana has been decriminalized. In some cases, though, intent to sell drugs may be presumed by the law based on the amount of a particular drug a person has in his or her possession.
The federal government and several of the states have established mandatory minimum sentencing laws for drug-related criminal offenses. Mandatory minimums do not allow for flexibility on the part of the judge at the time of sentencing, and they require a prison term of at least a certain length of time. Federal law, for example, requires sentences of a particular length if a person is convicted of intentionally selling drugs to a person under the age of 21 or to a pregnant woman. Mandatory minimums also come into play if a person is convicted of selling drugs near a school.
State law generally governs the prosecution of drug sales within a particular state. If the sale happens on federal land, though, federal law may apply. In a case where a person faces drug charges, an attorney may be able to help by challenging the admissibility of prosecution evidence, for example, or by arguing on the client’s behalf during court proceedings.