FEDERAL DRUG CHARGES
Are you or a loved one facing federal drug charges? If so, it is essential to have an experienced federal criminal defense attorney in your corner. At the Law Firm of Jeremy Gordon, we represent people, not cases, and our goal is to fight for your freedom. Contact us today to schedule a free phone consultation.
Federal drug cases are brought under the provisions of federal law known as Title 21. Most federal drug crimes are charged under 21 U.S.C. § 841, which relates to the possession, manufacture, and distribution of controlled substances. Title 21 U.S.C. § 952 and 21 U.S.C. § 960 relate to the importation of controlled substances, and 21 U.S.C. § 846 and 21 U.S.C. § 963 are special conspiracy statutes for possession/manufacturing, and importation of controlled substances.
The Most Common Federal Drug Charges Include:
- Simple Drug Possession: Possession of controlled substances without a prescription. These are often charged at the state level if it is determined that there was no intent to distribute.
- Drug Trafficking: Manufacturing, distributing or possessing with the intent to distribute illegal drugs.
- Drug Manufacturing: Running an operation for the purpose of manufacturing or distributing illegal drugs; usually involves large amounts of drugs and distribution paraphernalia.
- Drug Conspiracy: Attempting and/or the promotion of or facilitation of the manufacture, distribution or importation of narcotics. The Government must prove that you were aware of the conspiracy.
- 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.
In most cases, you will be charged with a federal drug crime if:
- You are caught
- selling or manufacturing illegal drugs
- by a federal agent or on a federal piece of property
- by a federal informant
- The state and federal prosecutors have agreed to try you at the federal level
Because of the ongoing “war on drugs,” federal law provides stiff penalties for defendants convicted of federal drug charges. There is a minimum mandatory penalty of 5 years to 40 years and 10 years to life for first-time drug offenders whose crimes involve certain threshold levels of drugs such as cocaine, marijuana, heroin, and methamphetamines.
Each U.S. Attorney’s office follows specific guidelines about which federal drug charges to bring, and which federal drug charges to not. Many times, this decision is affected by the quantity of drugs involved in the case, whether the defendant has a prior convictions for drugs or violence, how widespread the conspiracy is, and if there are substantial assets to seize in the case.
Have you or a loved one been charged with or convicted of a federal crime? You need an experienced Federal Defense Lawyer who can help fight for your freedom. Contact us today to schedule a free phone consultation.
DEFENSES TO FEDERAL DRUG CHARGES
- Possession – 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.
- Informant Cases – Many federal drug charges involve the sale of illegal drugs to a government informant or an undercover police officer. Entrapment may be an available defense in such cases. This defense is available when a government agent induces someone to commit a crime that there were not predisposed to doing.
- Possession with Intent to Distribute – Federal drug charges involving possession with the intent to distribute can sometimes be defended on the ground that amount of drugs involved were for personal use. This defense is based on the elements of 21 U.S.C. § 841(a)(1), which require that the quantity of drugs be sufficient to constitute a distributable amount, and that the person “intend” to distribute the drugs.
- 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 is because the crime of conspiracy is based on the “agreement” of two or more persons, whether known or 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 hard to defend, and as such require an experienced attorney that knows how to attack the credibility of the government’s witnesses and to fight vigorously for your innocence.
- Search Warrants – 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 if it contains insufficient information as to the exact place to be searched and the exact type of drugs that were expected to be found.
- 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.
At the Law Office of Jeremy Gordon, we fight aggressively for our clients. We are experienced with federal drug charges, and know what it takes to present a successful defense in a federal criminal case. Safeguarding our clients’ rights, and properly managing their defense, are two of the most important parts of our job. If you are facing federal drug charges, contact us today to schedule a free phone consultation.