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Drug offenses come with firm penalties and consequences both at state and federal levels. While you would receive a state charge for offenses such as possession, federal drug charges often apply to manufacture and trafficking offenses. The decision to prosecute a drug offender on federal drug charges is made based on the type of substance and the amount seized. If you are facing charges for a federal drug crime, contacting Best and Brock as soon as possible should be the first step.
Federal Drug Offenses
Simply having a small amount of marijuana for personal use will not result in federal drug charges. The most common federal drug offenses are for trafficking, drug distribution, manufacturing and delivery, paraphernalia, and possession. Federal charges may also involve transporting drugs over state lines or involve a conspiracy. The distribution of a narcotic while in possession of a firearm is also a federal offense. These charges carry severe sentences upon conviction. If you are charged with a federal drug crime, it is wise to speak with the Best And Brock federal drug charge lawyers immediately to ensure you get the defense you need.
Drug Trafficking & Distribution
Drug distribution includes the illegal sale, delivery, or providing of controlled substances. Charges such as these often occur as a result of a transaction with an undercover officer. Trafficking is the illegal sale or distribution of controlled substances. If the police seized a substantial amount of drugs during your arrest, you might be facing some serious trafficking charges.
The penalties for these charges depend upon several factors, including:
- The type of substance
- The amount
- Where you were apprehended
- Whether you have a previous criminal drug conviction
The penalties may be higher, for example, if the charges involve drugs being sold near a school or when someone is charged with smuggling drugs into the country. Our federal drug charge lawyers have the skills and knowledge to make sure that if trafficking charges were made, there is substantial and valid evidence against you.
Federal Drug Possession Charges
Federal drug possession charges may be based on actual or constructive possession. Actual possession means that the drugs were seized directly from you while constructive possession means that drugs were available or in a place that is known although they are not actually in your pocket. For example, drugs discovered in a vehicle could belong to anyone in the car. Any or all of the passengers or driver could be charged with constructive possession.
Drug possession charges are most commonly made by state or local police. In general, small amounts of drugs that are for personal use will not result in federal charges. However, when the amount of drugs is more substantial, it is assumed that the substances are intended to be sold. In addition to drug possession charges, you could also be charged with possession of drug paraphernalia if you have syringes, scales, pipes or packaging products. The Best And Brock federal drug charge lawyers will review the charges and work to try to have some of them reduced or eliminated.
The First Step Act of 2018
Until now, a drug conviction with any prior criminal history came with a penalty of a mandatory minimum sentence. Like many laws, however, the penalties hit many minor offenders with stiff sentences. If you were charged with a drug felony and you had any prior felony history, for example, you were sentenced to 20 years’ imprisonment—if you had more than one felony, it was life imprisonment.
These mandatory minimums have now been reduced, and those with simple misdemeanors on their criminal record have a better chance at avoiding years in prison due to mandatory minimum sentences. Learn more about these laws and how they apply to your case by speaking with our firm today.
If you are facing federal drug charges, contact the experienced federal drug charge lawyers at Best And Brock to discuss the details of your case today. Dial (423) 829-1043 now and schedule your free consultation.
Types of Illegal Narcotics
Drugs are classified into schedules for the purpose of charges and penalties according to the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). Drugs are categorized into five different schedules. Drugs are categorized based on their potential for abuse and accepted medical use. Drugs in Schedule I are highly addictive, have the potential to be abused, and no medically determined value. Schedule V drugs are the least addictive or have the lowest potential for abuse.
They are listed as follows:
- Schedule I: Substances which have no medical use and also have a high potential for abuse
- Schedule II: Drugs with a high potential for abuse and may also lead to psychological or physical dependence
- Schedule III: Those with a moderate to low dependence level
- Schedule IV: Drugs with a low risk of abuse or dependence
- Schedule V: Drugs with the lowest possibility of abuse
Some narcotics are available over the counter, such as cough syrup, which can become an illegal substance when it is taken in a manner that is not in accordance with the instructions. Generally, federal charges may apply to any drug category because of the amount of narcotics that were seized. The Best And Brock federal drug defense lawyers can assist in reviewing the charges to determine that the law is appropriately applied.
Penalties for Federal Drug Convictions
Penalties for a federal drug conviction are usually more severe than state charges.
Some of the penalties that apply in a conviction include:
- Imprisonment of more than ten years
- Loss of benefits
You could face additional consequences as a convicted felon. These may include losing the ability to own a firearm and losing the right to vote. You will also find it harder to get a job, obtain a loan, or get into certain schools. A criminal conviction remains on your record and is visible to those who perform background checks. You will also have to inform potential employers that you have previously been convicted of a felony. For these reasons, one should try to avoid a conviction with help from our Best And Brock federal drug charge lawyers.
What to Expect with Federal Drug Charges
Federal drug charges are one of the most serious and severe situations you can face in life. If you are arrested on federal drug charges, contact a federal defense lawyer immediately. If questioned by authorities, it is in your best interest to avoid making any statements until you first consult with the Best And Brock federal drug charge lawyers. Any statement you make can be used against you in court at a later date. Even if you feel the charges are inaccurate, keep in mind that what you say could make you appear guilty.
After arrested on drug charges, you will be provided an initial hearing where you will be given a list of charges against you and allowed to state your plea. Before you go in front of a judge, it is advisable to speak with a federal drug charge lawyer to review the details of your case and to learn more about your options. Do not answer questions until first talking with an experienced federal drug defense lawyer.
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