Federal Drug Conspiracies
Conspiracy is often charged in federal cases because it covers a broad range of conduct. These charges are challenging to defend and require a great amount of diligence and investigation on the part of a skilled defense attorney.
A criminal conspiracy is an illegal agreement between two or more people to violate the law. However, an agreement alone is not enough to be guilty under federal conspiracy law. The prosecution must also prove that the defendant had a specific intent to enter into the conspiracy and, under most statues, must prove an overt act to further the conspiracy.
Federal conspiracy charges are most commonly brought as violations of 21 U.S.C. § 846. The drug conspiracy statute makes it a federal crime to conspire to commit federal drug offenses
Why Choose the Law Office of Jeremy Gordon as your Federal Drug Conspiracy Defense Attorneys?
Federal Drug cases are serious. From the moment a person is entangled with law enforcement it can seem like all the cards are against them. Federal cases are not like cases in state court. An attorney that is unaware of the differences between state court and federal court can leave an accused person at a significant disadvantage. At the law office of Jeremy Gordon, we only handle Federal Cases. This gives us significant exposure to the types of evidence that federal authorities bring forth in these cases and we know how to make challenges, especially in the areas of search and seizure. In addition, our experience in postconviction matters puts us at an edge in representation: we have seen the challenges that have come up on direct appeal and on 2255 Motions to Vacate so we know how to structure our arguments.
We also know how important communication is with our clients: a federal drug attorney can only represent a client if they know their client. That is why we believe in Clients Plus and take calls from our clients whether they are on bond or in jail. We also use the TRULINCS/Corrlinks Email system to keep in contact with our incarcerated clients.
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.
Defenses to Federal Drug Conspiracy Cases:
There are several defenses that a defendant may use if facing federal conspiracy charges.
- Statute of Limitations – Under 18 U.S.C. § 3282, a five-year statute of limitations applies to federal conspiracy charges. A conspiracy is generally held to run from the date of the last overt act committed in furtherance of the conspiracy. Under 18 U.S.C. § 286, the statute of limitations begins when a conspirator abandons the conspiracy or abandons accomplishing its objectives.
- Variance – The Sixth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution requires that a criminal defendant be given adequate notice of the charges against them. A defendant charged with federal conspiracy charges can raise this defense if there is a variance between the number of conspiracies charged in the indictment and the number of conspiracies proved at trial.
- Mere Presence – A defendant in a federal conspiracy case cannot be convicted if they were merely present with the co-conspirators but did not act in a way that would suggest any connection to the conspiracy.
- Isolated Buyer/Seller – If a defendant in a federal conspiracy case commits a single, ordinary act, this is not enough to convict them of conspiracy since the crime of conspiracy requires two or more participants. If a mere buyer/seller relationship existed, this is generally not enough to convict a defendant of being a co-conspirator in a case involving drug conspiracy charges.
- Coercion – The defense of coercion may be used if the person with conspiracy charges agreed to participate in the conspiracy because of threatened force. The defendant must prove that there was an imminent threat, fear that the threat would be carried out, and no opportunity to escape.
- Withdrawal – If a defendant enters into a conspiracy but then withdraws before committing an overt act to further the conspiracy the crime of conspiracy may not have been completed.
Penalties for Drug Conspiracy Offenses:
The United States Code indicates that the penalties for drug conspiracy charges are the same as those of the actual crimes that were the object of the conspiracy. This means that if you were charged with conspiracy to distribute drugs then you could be charged with the same penalties as drug distribution.
The various federal conspiracy laws and defenses have subtle but important differences, and it’s critical to have the assistance of a skilled an experienced Federal Defense Attorney to protect your name, your freedom and your life. Don’t let conspiracy charges ruin your life. Your freedom and good name are invaluable. We know the law. We have the experience. And we will fight for you. Contact us today to schedule a free phone consultation.