Types of Federal Drug Crimes
The FBI and the DEA are the two federal law agencies that investigate the bulk of federal drug charges, but there are times with other law enforcement agencies may be involved. There are five common classifications of federal drug charges. These are trafficking, importing or exporting, smuggling, manufacturing and distribution. Often, a defendant will be accused of multiple offenses. Keep in mind that you do not have to follow through on an illegal action to be convicted of a federal crime. Conspiring to participate in any of these activities is also a federal offense. In addition, committing a drug offense that is related to organized criminal activities could result in a federal racketeering charge.
Characteristics of a Federal Drug Crime
You may face drug charges at both the state and federal levels. Federal drug charges often involve activities that cross state or international borders. The classification of the drug as well as its quantity can also make the difference between state and federal charges. In some cases, both state and federal law enforcement officials work together. In these cases, charges may be filed at the federal level. The penalties for federal drug charges may be substantially more severe, so your attorney may work to have the charges reduced as part of an overall defense strategy.
Types of Controlled Substances
The specific charges and penalties that you may face are dependent on the types of controlled substances involved. The Controlled Substance Act classifies all federally regulated substances into five categories or schedules. Schedule I drugs are highly addictive and have no accepted medical use. These include LSD, heroin and others. Schedule II drugs are highly addictive and have an accepted medical use. These include methamphetamines, fentanyl and others. Schedule III drugs are less addictive than Schedule II drugs, and they include ketamine, Tylenol with codeine and others. Schedule IV drugs are even less addictive, and they include Xanax, Ambien and more. Schedule V drugs are the least addictive drugs that are federally regulated. They include Robitussin AC and others.
Penalties for Federal Drug Crimes
If you are convicted of a federal drug offense, you may face serious penalties. The specific penalties will vary based on factors like the types of drugs, the quantities, aggravating circumstances, subjective guilt and the potential or realized harm caused by the activities. Because many federal drug crimes are associated with a mandatory prison sentence, you may generally expect to spend time behind bars if you are convicted. Some crimes even come with a life sentence. Be aware that parole is no longer an option for those serving a sentence for federal drug offenses. As an example, the minimum mandatory sentence for drug trafficking is 10 years, and this is bumped up to 20 years if there are aggravating circumstances. Drug importation carries a sentence of between five and 40 years in prison. An aggravated offense could bump this up to life in prison. In addition to imprisonment, many federal drug charges are also punishable by a large monetary fine.
The Need for a Strong Defense
The prosecution likely has put together a strong case against you. Often, federal drug charges have significant physical evidence that can be difficult to dispute or defend against. However, a federal crimes attorney who has specific experience with drug charges is knowledgeable in the unique nuances of this area of the law. Depending on the specific nature of the charges that you face, your skilled attorney may use any number of proven defense strategies. Keep in mind that a criminal defense lawyer ideally will work toward a not guilty verdict. However, other potentially favorable outcomes may include a reduction in charges, a plea bargain or a lighter sentence. The strength of the prosecutor’s case and the circumstances of the case will impact the outcome that your lawyer may work toward.
Request a Consultation with a Defense Lawyer
While the case against you may seem insurmountable, your criminal defense lawyer can assemble a strategic and effective defense. Because the case against you may be undeniably strong, it is important to get your lawyer actively involved as soon as possible. Spodek Law Group specializes in federal drug cases. Through an initial consultation, the legal team can review the specifics of your case and discuss potential outcomes. To request an initial consultation, contact Spodek Law Group today.