There’s no doubt that fentanyl has become a scourge on the country, adding to the already alarming number of drug-related deaths every year. To try to make some dent in that, Alabama lawmakers recently passed a bill, signed by the governor, that increases the criminal penalties for offenses involving the deadly drug, including mandatory minimum sentences.
While the law, which has been praised by prosecutors throughout the state, is aimed at traffickers, it’s important to know just how little you need to have in your possession to qualify for a sentence of multiple years in jail. That’s how dangerous fentanyl is.
Penalties under the new law
The new law, which goes into effect on June 1 of this year requires the following mandatory minimum sentences for being found in possession of fentanyl:
- 1 to 2 grams: 3 years
- 2 to 4 grams: 10 years
- 4 to 8 grams: 25 years
- Over 8 grams: life sentence
The head of the Alabama Office of Prosecution Services points out, “An ounce, which is a Splenda packet, would kill a room full of dozens and dozens of people….” He notes that anyone with this much would be considered a trafficker because if “the possessor or the addict uses this much, they’re not going to live very long.”
Lawmakers say they hope to discourage drug cartels from entering the state
On a recent trip to the U.S.-Mexico border in Texas, Alabama lawmakers and other state leaders claim they were getting congratulations from law enforcement officers on the new law. One lawmaker said, “We were complimented about that, not only as a benefit to Alabama, but also, it’s a benefit in looking at how the cartels transport drugs and where they choose to go or not go based on what the penalties are in those states.”
If you or a loved one is facing fentanyl-related charges for allegedly being found in possession of it, they may not consider themselves a drug trafficker, but it’s important to know that the law may. It’s crucial to have sound legal guidance to protect your rights and your future.