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OKC Cocaine Defense Lawyer

Anna Herman, host

Jacqui Ford, Attorney

Anna Herman, host: Welcome to Your Best Defense podcast. My name is Anna and I’m visiting today with OKC cocaine defense lawyer Jacqui Ford. Hello!

Jacqui Ford, Attorney: Hello Anna! How are you doing today?

A: I’m good. How are you?

J: I’m fantastic! Thanks.

A: Good. We’re going to talk about a couple of things today. It’s kind of weird I always thought of the same – cocaine and crack. What’s the difference?

J: So, we have two different types of cocaine. We’ve got cocaine power. Which you kind of imagine is the drug you see on TV. They cut it up. Do it in lines. You snort it up your nose. Right? That’s cocaine powder. Crack cocaine, otherwise known as cocaine base, is cocaine powder that has been mixed and cooked, and it’s turned into a new drug. It’s hard, and it’s called rock cocaine or crack cocaine.

The reason that it matters is because Oklahoma law treats cocaine and crack cocaine very differently. So, a lot of people, like you, often times think of them as the same. They’re really not the same. So, on this first front end, simple possession of cocaine or crack cocaine is to be the same. Your range of punishment is to be the same. The possible things will happen to you with respect to how you defend those charges are likely going to be the same.

Possession with intent – same kind of thing. We’ve talked previous podcasts about possession with intent, and what that looks like. If law enforcement has come into your home, and they are executing a search warrant of some kind, and they find cocaine, and they find multiple baggies, and maybe a little digital scale, or even you know, it’s been a while, those beams Anna from science class? Those great big triple beams that you could weigh stuff on them. Triple beams – often times indicative of intent to distribute. The small little plastic things you can buy a local convenience stores, and tobacco shops or novelty shops, as I like to call them head shops. Those kinds of things are what law enforcement is looking to see if you are distributing cocaine or crack cocaine.

But where it becomes truly evident that our Oklahoma state legislature recognizes them as separate drugs, and they punish them incredibly differently, is when we’re dealing with trafficking charges. Trafficking in Oklahoma, and we’ve talked about little bit in the past, has nothing to do with what we think trafficking has to do with. Moving large quantities of drugs from one state to another, or from Mexico to the United States, or in a plane, in a car, whatever. Most people, when they think about trafficking, think about moving large quantities of drugs.

In Oklahoma, trafficking in CDS simply deals with quantity of possession. Like how much you possess. So, legislatures have gone through and defined for each drug how much you can possess before it rises to the level of trafficking. Why does it matter? Because the trafficking in Oklahoma is punished very harshly. And you are often times not entitled to probation. You are going to go to prison on trafficking charges. And if you go to prison on trafficking charges you don’t get the benefit of goodtime credits, earned credit, educational credits. You serve day-for-day upwards of 85 to 95% of your sentence. That matters because what most people would think of simple possession of crack cocaine can reach a trafficking level very, very quickly.

Crack cocaine, which historically has been deemed a black-person’s drug back when it first came out, legislators did not believe, I think, that this would be a widespread problem. It was historically deemed to be a black drug. It was sold in poverty-stricken neighborhoods. It was not something that you would see in the mainstream. Why does that matter? Because in Oklahoma our legislatures, doing I’m sure the best that they could at the time, using their life experiences, which often times tended to be a little racist, made trafficking in crack cocaine, simply five grams of crack cocaine. And that’s not very much crack. It’s probably not enough to get most people high all weekend. So, if you are partaking recreationally in smoking crack cocaine, or cocaine base, or rock cocaine whatever it is that you would like to call it, possession of five grams or more is going to put you in a world of hurt. Never, ever, ever possess five grams of crack cocaine in one setting.

The difference is: cocaine power, which historically has been more of a rich, affluent, often times white man’s drug, was treated very differently. And you can tell, in Oklahoma, that our legislatures treated it differently, and punished it much less harshly than they punish that dirty crack cocaine.

In Oklahoma, you can possess up to 28 grams of cocaine power prior to being charged with trafficking. So, if it’s anything less than 28 grams, you’ll be charged with either simple possession, or possession with intent. As opposed to trafficking. It’s starkly different, and I think it’s important that people recognize that difference so that we can make informed decisions.

We’ve talked, in the past, a lot about cost-benefit analysis. And ignorance of the law isn’t a defense. So, when you’re making the decisions to possess, buy, or travel with a quantity of cocaine or crack cocaine it’s important that you know that the difference is very real. And the way that you will be punished is very, very real. And the fact you didn’t know that five grams of crack gives rise to trafficking doesn’t matter to the judge, and it doesn’t matter to the jury. It’s not a defense. We are deemed to know what the law is. And that’s a big reason why we keep doing these podcasts. So that we can inform people. Because hindsight, of course is always 20/20. But it doesn’t do us any good at that point. We need to know these things on the front end, moving forward. So, certainly not here to advocate using or abusing cocaine powder and/or crack cocaine. But if that is something that you choose to do in your free time, by all means, do it educated.

A: Thank you so much Jacqui! That was a lot of information. Thank you for joining us. You’ve been listening to OKC cocaine defense lawyer Jacqui Ford.

Contact us today to see how we can help.