Federal Drug Crimes
Federal Drug Charges
Simple Drug Possession
Prosecuted under 21 U.S.C. § 841, this can include of Manufacturing, distributing or possessing with the intent to distribute illegal drugs.
Possession of a Firearm During a Drug Trafficking Crime or a Crime of Violence
Protected Location Offenses
Distributing illegal drugs to people under the age of 21 or in a school zone; you can also be charged with this crime if you used people under the age of 18 to sell drugs.
What is a Controlled Substance?
Most drugs are listed and categorized into several schedules under the Federal Controlled Substances Act based on their abuse potential, accepted medical applications in the United States and the safety and potential for addiction.
Schedule I Drugs
These drugs have a high potential for abuse and no current medical use in the United States. Examples include LSD, Marijuana, and Heroin.
Schedule II/IIN Drugs
These drugs have a high potential for abuse, but have an accepted medical use in the US. Examples include Oxycodone, fentanyl, methadone, cocaine, codeine, hydrocodone, and methamphetamine.
Schedule III/IIIN Drugs
These drugs have a moderate to low potential for abuse/dependence. Examples include Tylenol with Codeine, ketamine, anabolic steroids, and Suboxone.
Schedule IV Drugs
These drugs have a low potential for abuse and low risk of dependence compared to Schedule III, and have a currently accepted medical use in the US. Examples include Xanax, Soma, Klonopin, Valium and Ambien.
Schedule V Drugs
These drugs have a lower potential for abuse schedule IV, and have a currently accepted medical use in the US. Examples may include certain cough medicines, Lomotil, Motofen, Lyrica, and Parepectolin.
Without the application of any statutory mandatory minimums or increased guideline ranges due to special conditions the normal range of punishment for many drug crimes can be between 5 and 40 years.
Mandatory minimums can be implicated for things like prior drug or violent crime offenses or situations where the government pleads and proves, either by a trial or plea, of certain amounts of drugs.
Moreover, the federal sentencing guidelines may also substantially impact sentencing in a federal drug charge based on factors such as the about of drugs involved, where the drugs were kept and the presence of weapons near the drugs. All of these things are significant and should be taken into account as soon as possible. This is all the more reason why you need an attorney that defends against federal drug charges.
Federal Drug Charge Defenses
Unknowing Possession of the Drugs
Federal drug charges sometimes result from a simple traffic stop by police. After performing a search of the vehicle, the police officer may find a large amount of money or illegal drugs concealed in the car. In federal drug possession cases, one possible defense is that the defendant lacked personal knowledge of the presence of the drugs.
Possession with Intent to Distribute vs. Personal Use
Search Warrants/Search and Seizure Issues
If there was an illegal search warrant in the case, there may be a defense based on inadequacy of the police affidavit used to obtain the warrant. Untimely execution of the search warrant may also be used as a defense. In some federal drug cases, police may attempt to use a warrant where the information creating probable cause is "stale” because it involves events that occurred weeks or even months prior to the search for illegal drugs. A federal criminal defense attorney may also be able to challenge whether a search warrant was supported by probable cause. This happens when the warrant contains insufficient information as to the exact place to be searched and the exact type of drugs that were expected to be found.
Lack of Knowledge of Conspiracy
The federal government frequently relies on the concept of "conspiracy" to bring federal drug charges against individuals. To convict someone of conspiracy, the government does not need any physical evidence, such as seized drugs or large amounts of money.
This crime of conspiracy is based on the "agreement" of two or more persons, whether known or not known to the defendant, to perform the object of the conspiracy. The object of the conspiracy can vary, but usually takes the form of possession with the intent to distribute drugs, distribution alone, or importation of illegal drugs.
Federal drug conspiracy cases are challenging to defend and require an experienced attorney. We know how to attack the credibility of the government’s witnesses and fight vigorously for your innocence.
Canine Search Issues
If there was a search involving a police dog, a defense may be brought as to the admissibility of drug evidence found if the dog was not properly trained, if the dog did not have any record of success in prior drug recognition, and if the dog’s handler was not properly trained. If a police dog can be shown to be unreliable, there may be a lack of probable cause for a search.