Federal drug crimes were established to combat the abuse and distribution of controlled substances. Each state has its own set of drug laws and the federal government has its own longstanding strategy as well. There are, however, several key difference distinguishing the two, while being the majority of local and state drug arrests are made on possession charges (over half for marijuana), the lion’s share of federal drug convictions are for trafficking. Federal charges can also be generally harsher in punishment, with much longer sentencing. State arrests tend to be more lenient, with charges usually involving the option of probation, a short term in a local jail, or a fine. This, of course, depends on the nature of the crime and on the criminal history and age of the person being accused.
Federal Drug Crimes Penalties
Federal drug crimes punishments and penalties are divided into categories, just like states. Each crime has its own distinct guidelines:
- Distribution and trafficking is the accusation of selling, delivering, or providing controlled substances illegally. The charge usually becomes a federal issue, not because it crosses state lines, but more because of the quantity of drugs involved. Sentences for distribution and trafficking can be significant and can carry 5 or 10 year mandatory minimum sentences, depending on the quantity involved.
- Manufacturing can be charged if a person plays a part in cultivating or manufacturing a controlled substance. Cultivation refers to harnessing the naturally occurring processes of illegal controlled substances, like growing marijuana. An individual can also be charged with manufacturing, producing or creating more synthetic controlled substances through a chemical process or in a laboratory, such as cocaine. Drug manufacturing convictions can lead to a prison sentence that can carry 5 or 10 year mandatory minimums as well, depending on the quantity.
- Possession is the most common form of drug charge, involving the possession of a controlled substance. If the amount of the substance found in the defendant's possession are of a larger quantity, it can be used to suggest felony possession with an intent to distribute. Drug possession penalties on a federal level can vary depending on many factors, including the type of controlled substance seized by authorities.
All of these convictions lead to a forfeiture of property, such as vehicles used in the transport or concealment of a controlled substance. This is in addition to the loss of federal benefits such as student loans, grants, contracts, and professional and commercial licenses.
Defense of Federal Drug Crimes
The stakes are very high in federal drug crimes cases, and must be met with an aggressive and potent defense. Each case is inherently a complex one and the strategy for winning must be tailored to the individual circumstances. One of the most common defenses used in a drug charge (especially a drug possessions charge) is the claim that a police officer overstepped search and seizure laws in detaining a person and obtaining evidence. If a defendant in a criminal case (usually through a criminal defense attorney) can prove that the police violated the defendant's Fourth Amendment rights in finding and seizing drug evidence, that evidence may not be admissible in a criminal case against the defendant.
Federal Drug Crimes Lawyer in Nebraska
At this point, a lot must be running through your mind. With the charges of federal drug crimes stacking up against you, it can be a very intimidating and disheartening ordeal. Don’t bargain with the police before you see a skilled lawyer. Although they may present themselves as helpful, a police officer’s primary objective is to collect evidence that can and will be used against you. Attorney Dan Stockmann has the criminal drug defense experience necessary to negotiate with prosecutors to get you the best possible outcome. Even if he cannot prove your innocence, attorney Dan Stockmann can potentially secure alternative agreements to prevent you from spending time behind bars.