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Drug Distribution

The federal government classifies some drugs as “controlled substances.” The classification depends on whether or not the substance has a legitimate use in the medical community. Which schedule the substance belongs to also tells us whether or not the substance has the potential to be abused and whether or not it can lead to a physical or psychological dependence. For example, Schedule II Controlled Substances include hydrocodone, codeine, opium and morphine. These substances have been classified under Schedule II because they have a high potential for being abused and may lead to a very serious psychological or physical dependence.

What Is Drug Distribution?

Selling, manufacturing, importing and delivering controlled substances or illegal substances is known as “drug distribution.” Therefore, it is against federal law for any person to do the following:

  • Possess, dispense, distribute or manufacture controlled substances with the intent to distribute or dispense the substances.
  • Possess, dispense, distribute or manufacture counterfeit substances with the intent to distribute or dispense the substances.

The law applies to substances in Schedules I, II, III, IV and V as well as narcotics or prescription drugs that are sold on the black market.

The Charge of Drug Distribution

Possession of the substances listed above is against the law, but if you sell them, distribute them or intend to sell or distribute them, you may be arrested on drug distribution charges. This is a felony. The prosecution must be able to demonstrate the following in order to convict you on drug distribution charges:

  • You knew that you were in possession of a controlled substance or an illegal drug.
  • You were in possession of this substance because you intended to distribute, deliver or sell the substance in an illegal manner.

In this case, possession doesn’t mean that you had the substance in your hand. It means that you had “constructive possession” of the substance. This means that you were free to make plans to distribute the drug.

The Penalties

Federal drug distribution charges are extremely serious, and it doesn’t matter whether this is your first offense or your sixth or seventh. Every state will prosecute this charge vigorously, so you will be susceptible to receiving very harsh penalties. For example, if you are convicted of drug distribution, you may receive a lengthy prison term. In most cases, defendants are subject to mandatory minimum sentences. This means that the judge would not be in charge of setting your sentence. Instead, the judge would be required to set a mandatory minimum prison sentence that has already been determined.

In addition to that, sentences may depend on other factors in the case. For example, if the drug that you are accused of distributing caused serious bodily injury or someone’s death, the sentence may be increased to 20 years to life. If you have been convicted of a felony drug crime in the past, the minimum sentence could possibly be 15 years for the present case. Sentences do not end with prison sentences in felony drug distribution cases. Sometimes, those convicted on drug distribution charges receive massive fines. In addition to that, the federal government may also have the right to confiscate your houses, vehicles, money and other property.

Hiring an Attorney

If you have been arrested on drug distribution charges, you must remember that an arrest doesn’t mean that you are automatically guilty. You have the right to an attorney, and your attorney has several defenses to use in court. For example, law enforcement officers are required to follow the proper protocol when they are arresting you. If they fail to do this, your lawyer will be able to file a motion to dismiss the evidence that they seized. If this occurs, the judge is likely to drop the charges.

You may not have been arrested on drug distribution charges yet, but you believe that it is a possibility. If so, it is in your interests to hire a federal criminal defense attorney right now. You may not know anything about what could occur in the next few months if you are arrested on drug distribution charges. Your attorney will be able to explain everything to you before this happens and during the entire process, so you will never be surprised about anything.

An attorney also has the responsibility of developing a defense for you. You are entitled to defend yourself in court, and your attorney will do this by fully investigating the case and developing a defense. This takes the pressure off of you because your attorney will be your representative from now on. This means that you will not have to speak to any law enforcement officers, federal prosecutors or federal agents. Your attorney will also be by your side every minute that you are in court.

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