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Federal Drug Defense Attorneys

October 9, 2021

Prosecution of a drug crime often results in hefty penalties. The legal system is designed with a punitive instead of rehabilitative approach to drug-related offenses. This situation has remained relatively consistent for decades, with most of the changes coming exclusively in rhetorical forms.

The real consequences of these policies are now fully embedded in the lived experiences of the individuals and communities most affected. Incarceration rates are not uniformly applied across all social and economic demographics, leaving the most vulnerable paying the highest price for an entrenched and recalcitrant penal code.

Penalties for Drug Possession, Use and Distribution

The penalties for possessing, using and distributing drugs are severe even at the most minimal level. In addition, many sentencing guidelines encourage harsh penalties regardless of circumstances. Contracts with the prison system call into question the purpose of these mandatory sentences, but this insight doesn’t automatically translate into policy reforms.

Incarceration has steadily increased for all drug offenses, with some exceptions for marijuana. The first offense of a drug crime is listed as a minimum of ten years in prison, for example. This is an extremely punitive minimum sentence, and the numbers only increase when the number of offenses increase relative to the scheduled substances listed. [1]

Federal Drug Crimes

Federal laws determine the legality of drugs and mind-altering substances. Regardless of shifts in social attitudes, and sometimes in contradiction with state laws, there are felony drug offenses for possession, consumption and selling of various drugs. The substance abuse schedule classifies various drugs into categories; the classification system is viewed as legacy by some medical professionals. Defense attorneys can leverage this new information to defend clients.

Developing a defense strategy requires the defense attorney to present a more compelling narrative to the court than the arguments presented by the federal prosecutor, who might rely heavily on outdated taboos and an expiring legal framework around drug laws. Legalization of certain substances introduced the possibility of astute defense lawyers to raise legitimate objections to the contradictions of previous drug laws.

In defense of their clients, these federal drug lawyers can also represent the public interest within a context of social fatigue around excessive punishments, private prison profiteers, corruption and contradictions within the existing laws shaping the case.

Federal Prosecutors, Drug Crimes

Facing a federal prosecutor can be an intimidating prospect. Hiring a federal drug defense attorney with a working knowledge of all federal and state drug laws is necessary for increasing your chances to prevail in court. [1] The federal prosecutor has the advantage of operating within a legal system that has initiated relatively few changes within a 30-year period of time.

During this time, the harsh mandatory minimum sentencing guidelines and other punitive measures have played out through the lives of real people, and their communities have not been spared. Questioning an entrenched system that generates profits for so many secondary industries is a formidable challenge. The federal drug defense attorney must have a defense strategy that is fully up to the task; the specific details of your case must shape the contours of your legal defense.

Specific practices exercised by federal drug prosecutors are based on the principles of federal prosecution of the Department of Justice. The prosecutor has a great deal of latitude in the case. This authority covers various aspects of the case including how to proceed in the case and whether to drop the charges. The principles are designed to ensure a minimum standard of consistency while enabling the prosecutor to exercise judgment during each case. [2]

During the course of the prosecution, the federal defense attorney can utilize various strategies that are informed by these principles. The ability to get a federal prosecutor to drop the charges often requires the defense attorney to develop a complicated and intricate defense strategy that is appropriate to the case.

Our Federal Drug Law Firm

Drug crimes require an aggressive legal defense. There are many reasons to hire the most qualified drug defense lawyer for felony drug charges. The penalties for a felony drug offense can include fines in addition to extensive prison terms. There are other expenses that can’t be quantified; the toll that a felony drug conviction takes on the family and friends of the defendant can be extremely serious. The criminal defense attorney can help you to overcome obstacles in your case while defending your legal rights in federal court.

This situation can seem insurmountable without an aggressive and insightful federal drug defense attorney. Federal prosecutors are frequently motivated by their career ambitions, and this should be carefully considered when choosing your federal drug defense attorney. As mandatory minimum sentences and legalization plays out over time, contradictions are introduced into legal codes that can easily seem archaic. These dynamics create an opening for the alert federal drug defense attorney. Contact our law firm to set up a consultation to discuss the details of your case.

Drug defense issues

Defense issues in drug cases generally turn on constitutional questions or arguments involving knowledge of the accused. Although the prosecution has the burden of proving its case beyond a reasonable doubt, we don’t want to defend a case in a trial if we don’t have to. A trial only exposes the accused to an increased risk of being found guilty. Successful disposition of a case without the burden and risk of a trial should be the objective of any attorney representing a client on a drug charge.

The exclusionary rule governs most successful pre-trial dispositions. When evidence is obtained contrary to the provisions of the U.S. Constitution, the exclusionary rule does not permit that evidence to be admitted in a trial. It’s effectively excluded under the Fourth Amendment. This is most often seen in the context of searches and seizures. If the accused is charged with being in possession of a pound of marijuana, and the search has been ruled illegal, the marijuana isn’t permitted to be introduced into evidence at trial. When that happens, the prosecution has no evidence, and the case is dismissed.

Another common drug defense revolves around knowledge of the accused. In this defense, the accused maintains that he didn’t know that the drugs were in the vehicle or apartment. He may have just bought the car or have just moved into the apartment without ever having illegally possessed a controlled substance in his life. He may have been in the car or apartment for just two minutes before police found the drugs. He had no ability to exercise dominion and control over that substance because he never had actual or constructive knowledge that it was there.

The defense attorney also wants to make sure that the prosecution can produce the drugs that the defendant is accused of possessing. From the time that the drugs are allegedly taken from the defendant, there is a chain of people in law enforcement that had custody of them. The defense attorney will want to closely examine that chain of custody. Sometimes the prosecution can’t even produce the drugs that the defendant is accused of possessing. They lost them.

It’s well established that law enforcement agencies are free to set up sting operations. There are other times when they’ve been found to persuade and encourage a person to commit a crime for the sole purpose of bringing a criminal prosecution against them. If the accused is shown to have no predisposition to perform criminal acts, that’s police misconduct, and it’s called entrapment. The wrinkle in asserting an entrapment defense is that the accused must admit to having committed the crime in order to raise the defense.

An experienced defense attorney will raise defenses and have them heard in a timely manner. The accused should avoid the risks of trial if a defense can be raised that might be successful before a trial ever becomes necessary.

Citations:

[1] https://www.iwu.edu/counseling/Federal_Drug_Laws.htm
[2] https://spu.edu/~/media/university-leadership/student-life/Summary%20of%20Federal%20and%20State%20Drug%20Laws%20as%20of%205-6-16.ashx
[3] https://www.justice.gov/jm/jm-9-27000-principles-federal-prosecution

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