Criminal penalties can be harsh for federal drug charges. Depending upon the quantity and nature of the drug involved as defined in the Comprehensive Drug Abuse Prevention and Control Act of 1970, many individuals facing federal drug charges can be looking at long prison sentences. If you are being investigated for, arrested or are currently in court on federal drug charges, call the Law Offices of Daniel R. Perlman for a free consultation, during which you can determine whether we are the right attorneys to represent you, and so that we can advise you on your rights under the law and how best to proceed with your defense.
Offenses at the Federal Level
The differences between State and Federal drug offenses (prosecutions) are tremendous, even though the conduct in question might be similar. Although the two sets of laws have many similarities, they are far from identical to each other.
A sample of the crimes contained in the Controlled Substances Act are manufacturing, continuing criminal enterprise crimes, conspiracy, simple possession, drug trafficking, protected location offenses and investing illegal drug profits in businesses affecting interstate commerce. Drugs included in the Controlled Substances Act are marijuana, cocaine, methamphetamine, heroin, and a number of narcotic-based prescription drugs, such as Oxycodone, Vicodin and Xanax.
IMPORTANT: Federal Drug crimes may by way of the investigation include other violations such as conspiracy, tax evasion, RICO (Organized Crime), violations or most commonly LYING TO A FEDERAL OFFICER, a charge that is almost automatic unless the only answer to questioning is the request for an attorney.
Federal Sentencing Guidelines
Several factors are considered when determining duration of imprisonment for federal charges. The first and perhaps most important criteria under the sentencing guidelines for Federal Drug Charges take into account the alleged type of drug and corresponding quantity. This cross reference provides a base penalty. The next step is to modify this base sentence with a number of possible factors that the guidelines provide should be taken into account. Examples of factors which may either enhance or reduce sentencing include:
- injury to another party
- weapons used or possessed
- criminal history
Judges who are sentencing defendants have discretion to depart from these guidelines, though they must fall between the specific minimums and maximums set by statute. Other factors which may alter these minimums and maximums include whether the offense charged occurred in a school or other specifically protected areas, cooperation, psychological issues and history, medical issues and history, work and family history.
While alternatives to federal prison are more difficult to come by than in State Court, there are many possibilities and proper preparation can help result in far better results, including:
- Reduced sentence due to mitigating information
- No custody time probation sentence
- Time served
- Lateral departure or sentencing that results in time in a program rather than prison
Marijuana Possession and Distribution
The possession of marijuana, under federal law, is punishable by up to one year in jail and a minimum fine of $1,000 for a first conviction. Additional convictions and larger amounts result in harsher fines and prison terms.
At the federal level, the smallest category for sale of marijuana, which includes any quantity under 50 kilograms, for example, is punishable by five years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
Cocaine and Heroin Possession and Distribution
The penalties for cocaine or heroin possession are more severe than those for marijuana. Sale and distribution of cocaine and heroin at the federal level may result in a life sentence. Many factors are considered when someone is being charged with a federal drug crime such as possession or distribution of cocaine or heroin. These factors include quantity, use of weapons, whether minors were involved and your prior criminal history.
Federal Drug trafficking is achieved by the transportation of controlled substances over a state line or over a country’s border. The penalties for which are severe, including possibly death for some specific offenders and does not require the actual commission of a killing, but rather being tied to a scheme related to the drug trafficking that result in deaths.
What The Law Offices of Daniel R. Perlman can do for you if you have been charged with a Federal Drug Crime
As defenders of people charged with federal drug crimes, The Law Offices of Daniel R. Perlman strive to get the federal drug charges eliminated, reduced or filed in superior court (state level). Whether at the early investigative stage where we are able to meet with federal law enforcement including agencies like the F.B.I., D.E.A., Customs or Secret Service, during negotiations with the U.S. Attorneys or during trial, we seek opportunity to uncover and exploit every weakness in the government’s case.
For example, we often fight to exclude the admissibility of the government’s evidence, challenge the accuracy of any lab testing and uncover illegal searches and seizures. If you have been charged with a federal drug crime, contact The Law Offices of Daniel R. Perlman for a free consultation about your federal drug charges defense needs.