There are a wide range of drug crimes that you may be charged with, and these may be both state and federal criminal offenses. The DEA, or drug enforcement agency, is tasked with identifying and enforcing federal drug laws. These may pertain to trafficking, distribution and more for a wide range of illegal substances. However, through the DEA’s efforts, violation of separate state crimes may also be identified. Depending on the severity of the charges that you are facing, the impact of a conviction can be substantial and could potentially affect the rest of your life in different ways. While there are many criminal defense attorneys who you could hire for representation in your upcoming court case, hiring an attorney who has specific and considerable experience with DEA drug crime charges may be in your best interest. With a closer look at what you can expect by hiring a knowledgeable and helpful drug crime defense attorney, you may be ready to begin working with your attorney and building an excellent defense.
One of the most important factors to keep in mind is that you have rights that cannot be violated by the DEA or any other law enforcement agency or official throughout all aspects of the arrest. This includes during the search and seizure phase, while interrogating you and during the arrest process. While violations in these areas are rare, any violation could result in the immediate dismissal of some or all of the drug crime charges that you are currently facing. Your experienced attorney will initially review the facts of your case to identify any possible rights violations that can be used effectively to get the charges against you dropped. If your drug crime charges are dropped, you are free to walk away without any need to appear in court.
Depending on the type of charges that you are facing and the evidence that the prosecutor has, your drug crime defense attorney will work to develop a case that could produce the best outcome possible. It is not reasonable to expect a defense attorney to produce an innocent verdict when you are guilty of the crime in most cases. However, there are different strategies that may be implemented regardless of your innocence or guilt, and an experienced attorney will use his or her previous work on other cases to formulate a great strategy to use in your case. Remember that the attorney may be able to negotiate a plea bargain or to successfully negotiate a reduction in charges. When charges are reduced, you could potentially receive a much lighter sentence than you otherwise may have received.
Your defense attorney will actively present your case in the courtroom. This may involve bringing in witnesses and experts, introducing new evidence and more. A final argument in your defense will be given at the end of the proceeding. If the judge finds you guilty of some or all of the charges filed against you, the court case will proceed to the punishment phase. During this phase, your attorney will present a new argument that is designed to produce a lighter sentence. Remember that most crimes are punishable by a range of years, a fine within a specified dollar range and more. These ranges provide the presiding judge with the ability to choose a harsher or more lenient punishment. Your attorney’s ability to successfully represent your interested could potentially save you many years in prison and thousands of dollars in fines if you are found guilty of the charges.
There may be numerous criminal attorneys who are willing and even eager to take on your case and to fight for the best outcome possible. However, a drug crime case is unique from other types of criminal charges. The laws surrounding drug crimes as well as the defense strategies that may successfully be used are unique. This means that hiring an attorney who has a substantial amount of relevant experience is critical. Ideally, this experience will also include a high success rate for dropped charges, innocent rulings and reduced sentences. Because a drug crime attorney requires time to review the facts and develop a defense, now may be a wonderful time to set up a consultation.
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Drug distribution and trafficking include the transportation, selling, and importation of substances such as cocaine and heroin. If convicted of such a crime, you can either face the federal or NYC state laws. In case the crime involved more than one state, you will have to face the federal law.
Penalties for drug charges are dependent on the drug in question and the amount you have in your possession. Beyond a certain amount, the police will consider you a seller and not just a user. Undercover police can also arrest you for drug trafficking if they believe you have drugs intended for sale, even if you have not transacted yet. With drugs such as marijuana, possession of fewer than 25 grams will only result in fines and no jail time. Beyond that, you will face at least 3 months in jail and fines.
Drug trafficking charges are not just applicable to illegal drugs. The unlawful distribution of prescription medicines such as painkillers also results in drug trafficking charges. Buying such medications is also a crime.
Our criminal defense attorney represent healthcare providers nationwide in federal cases that involve the unlawful prescribing, or dispensing of drugs. We regularly help licensed healthcare professionals, such as doctors, pharmacists, dentists, veterinarians, and other mid-level professionals, accused of unlawful prescribing, or dispensing, of a controlled substance. Defense of healthcare professionals is complex, due to the various federal and state statute, regulations, and the number of agencies involved. In addition to the criminal case, you could also face a civil and administrative proceeding which can result in penalties and sanctions, in addition to the criminal charges. Many states will exclude you from practicing medicine, or from billing medicare/medicaid, if you’re convicted of a criminal offense.
It’s crucial you speak to an established, and competent, law firm, who understands how to handle the criminal defense and license defense, associated with your situation. Prescription drug abuse is recognized the fastest growing drug problem. Fatal overdoses from prescription drugs is over 10,000 deaths per year. As a result, physicians are under increased pressure to reduce the prescription of narcotics while adhering to an acceptable standard of care. Many physicians and attorneys understand that the regulatory framework is complex, few understand how to create a credible defense in the event their standard of care is constituted as a criminal departure from what’s acceptable. State and federal guidelines diverge on this issue, and as a result, there’s a huge divergence in terms of complexity. The sanctions are severe, and can include revocation of both state and DEA licenses, in addition to thousands of dollars of fines, and jail time.
When accused of drug trafficking, a practicioner has to prove that he/she acted within the scope of their practice, and prescribed controlled substances for legitimate and professionally recognized therapeutic purposes. You are required, as a healthcare provider, to not dispense, prescribe, or administer, a substance for other than legitimate and professional purpose. As a result, you could be exempt from criminal prosecution in a drug diversion case, as long as you were acting within the scope of standard care. You are required to act in good faith, when prescribing or dispensing a controlled substance in the regular course of professional treatment you’re providing, or to individuals who are under your treatment for a condition that requires the prescription.
If you deviate from accepted standards, and engage in illicit activities, you could face criminal penalties, including jail time. In addition, you can face licensing sanctions from your state pharmacy, medical, dental, or veterinary board, in addition to other boards who will simultaneously file state criminal sanctions against you. It’s crucial that healthcare professionals speak to an attorney whose qualified, and can handle both the professional license defense and criminal defense against them. In addition to the state charges, you could face federal charges/administrative action by the DEA pursuant to the Controlled Substances Act.
You can lose DEA privileges even if you’re acquitted
Title 21, USC Controlled Substances Act
As a result of this act, you can lose your DEA privileges even if you are acquitted in a criminal court. Created in 1970, this act combats drug abuse and helps control legitimate and illegitimate trafficking of controlled substances. Only licensed practitioners who are registered with the DEA are authorized to prescribe controlled substances listed in Schedule II-V to patients. They can only be prescribed when a practitioners acting in the legitimate course of treatment to his patient. The CSA authorizes the DEA to suspend, or revoke, a physician’s prescription privileges if it’s determined that she/he has committed acts which would render the registration inconsistent with the public interest. It’s important to realize this is a much lower standard than that which is applied to criminal cases. As a result, you can be found not-guilty in a criminal case, yet still lose your privilege. That’s why it’s crucial to hire the best possible attorney to handle your case.
When deciding if a practicioner’s registration is in the public interest, the attorney general will look at the recommendation of the state licensing board/professional disciplinary authority, in addition to the applicant’s experience in dispensing, and the applicant’s conviction regard, the healthcare providers compliance with state/federal laws, in addition to other conduct which could threaten the public’s health and safety.
In order to avoid criminal prosecution due to violation of the CSA, a physician has to act in the usual course of his professional practice, and has to conduct himself in pursuit of a legitimate medical purpose. Federal regulations typically have little to no interpretation when it comes to “legitimate medical purpose.” The standards can be narrowed, depending on the state statutes. The USA Supreme Court has taken an approach that mirrors the CSA. It mentions that registered physicians can be prosecuted under the CSA if/when their activities fall outside the course of professional practice.
Due to the vague wording, many legal challenges have been made but unsuccessful. In the absence of any clear guidance, the Sixth Circuit Court of appeals endorsed a pre-established list of prohibited acts. Good faith, as a standard, has been used in the context which means good intentions, and an honest exercise of a providers judgement as to the patient’s medical needs. For example, here are a list of things they’ll look at:
This is just a short list of the factors the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals uses to determine whether or not a physician has acted in good faith. Healthcare providers can, and will, face significant penalties when they step outside of these blurry lines. It’s crucial physicians monitor their prescription habits, and when needed seek the counsel of an attorney who can help ensure their actions adhere and comply with statute and regulations.
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