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The criminal consequences of the crime of drug trafficking

Criminal Law
The criminal consequences of the crime of drug trafficking

In other articles on our blog, we have talked about crimes against public health, in a more or less general sense. And today we want to focus on the consequences of the crime of drug trafficking. 

As much as it is emphasized, this is one of the most harshly punished crimes of the Penal Code. Not only because it involves economic sanctions and custodial sentences, but especially because it can affect very diverse areas. 

Thus, provocateurs, conspirators and proponents will be punished. But also the legal entities that may be involved. In addition, civil liability will be added to the criminal liability of all those involved, not to forget the confiscation of substances, goods and effects. 

So, we are going to explain the different penalties associated with a drug trafficking crime. The reader will understand that, if you want to defend yourself against a drug trafficking charge, it will be essential to have criminal lawyers specialized in this type of crime.

The consequences of the crime of drug trafficking

The crime of drug trafficking is condemned in article 368 of the Penal Code. This defines it as carrying out "acts of cultivation, processing or trafficking, or otherwise promote, favor or facilitate the illegal consumption of toxic drugs, narcotics or psychotropic substances, or possess them for those purposes."

We are, therefore, facing a crime with a broad content where the disvalue does not lie in the result produced, but simply in promoting conditions in which a risk to people's health appears.

Custodial sentences

Article 368 of the Penal Code establishes that whoever commits a drug trafficking crime will be punished with a prison sentence of one to three years, or between three and six when the substance or product causes serious damage to health. 

Financial penalties 

In addition to prison sentences, drug trafficking crimes are associated with financial penalties. In its simplest version, we are facing a fine of twice the value of the drugs or substances, or three times the value if the drug causes serious damage to health.

Penalties for legal persons

The legal entities that are declared responsible for these crimes must pay a fine:

- From two to five years or three to five times the value of the drug, whichever is higher, if the expected prison sentence is more than five years. 

- Or from one to three years or from double to quadruple the value of the drug, the highest amount, otherwise.

Some of the penalties reserved for legal persons may also be imposed, such as: 

- Suspension of activities.

- Closure of premises.

- Prohibition of carrying out activities.

- Disqualification from accessing benefits or public contracts.

- Judicial intervention.

- Dissolution of legal personality. 

In the event that it is considered a criminal organization, the applicable penalties will range from nine to twelve years in prison and a fine from as much as four times the value of the drug. For the heads of the organization, a penalty higher in degree will be reserved.

Why is it so important to have lawyers specialized in drug trafficking crimes?

Because the person accused of a drug trafficking crime may be sentenced to long prison sentences and high criminal fines, so if you want to defend yourself against a drug trafficking charge, it will be essential to have the legal assistance of lawyers specialists in drug trafficking crimes.

Special subjective assumptions: administrator, provocateur, conspirator, proponent...

Whoever has participated in a drug trafficking crime as a provocateur, conspirator or proponent may be sentenced with a sentence one or two degrees lower than that of the actor. For their part, the administrators of criminal groups will receive a higher sentence, as we have just verified.

Confiscation of goods, substances and effects

Pursuant to art. 374 CP, toxic drugs, narcotics and psychotropic substances, equipment, materials and substances used in their preparation and goods, means, instruments and profits will be confiscated. The former will be destroyed, while the latter will be awarded to the State. 

Civil liability of the convicted

The person convicted of a drug trafficking crime must face his civil responsibility. In fact, with the payments you make, the damage caused will be repaired first and the damages will be compensated. When these are covered, the State will be compensated for the amount of the expenses incurred in the case. And only when these items are covered can the fines be paid and then the procedural costs.

The graduation of sentences

As with other crimes, the crime of drug trafficking contemplates different aggravating and mitigating circumstances. On many occasions, the work of the lawyer lies precisely in ensuring that these circumstances are taken into consideration, increasing the sentence of the defendant or reducing that of the defendant.

In the case of legal entities, their criminal liability can be reduced or exonerated through the implementation of a criminal compliance program. This is particularly important for those companies that are likely to have a drug trafficking crime committed in their name or benefit.

Contact us, and our drug trafficking lawyers will study your specific case. We offer assistance and criminal advice at a national and international level. In addition, we have:

Law firm in Barcelona
Law firm in Madrid
Law firm in Reus