Federal and Federal Drug Trafficking Lawyers
Drug trafficking is one of the most serious criminal acts prosecuted by the federal government. Federal statutes are generally more strict than state statues and are directed at much larger amounts of drugs. Government investigators and prosecutors are aggressive when it comes to filing drug trafficking charges, even for drugs like marijuana that may not be considered so harmful socially. For state and local law enforcement agencies, the priority concern is attempting to keep crime off of the streets because many times drug activity and other criminal behavior are connected. For the federal officials it is similar, but the associated crimes get more violent because of the amounts of money involved and the potential for animosity among dueling gangs and drug trafficking operations. This condition probably has more truth in urban areas of the United States, but both federal and state agencies are keen to the situation. Many drug traffickers actually prefer the stealth of rural areas for transporting or storing their assets, but the profit potential for the major players is usually in the cities. Regardless of whether a defendant is being charged by state or federal officials, or even both in some instances, it is always vital to have an experienced and thorough Federal Drug Trafficking Lawyers representing your case for an equitable settlement of a charge when it involves a large supply of drugs of any type, including marijuana.
Anyone who has been charged by the federal Drug Enforcement Agency is in serious trouble. The federal government normally does not issue warrants for small-time drug traffickers. That is usually left for the local and state authorities to handle, which can still be a significant legal problem in the state of New York. However, they can and do get involved when the trafficking involves transporting across state lines. In addition, many of the official federal agencies are also headquartered in New York City, so the feds could be watching a potential drug trafficking situation while the local officials are as well. Many times individuals are arrested by the state first, just to have the federal government step in and claim sovereignty in the prosecution. This situation can result in one government level of charges being dropped. This still may not bode well for the defendant because the sentencing guidelines and parole regulations for the two levels are much different. Jail sentencing is always more significant in a federal charge, and time reduction is usually a central issue for those who are being charged with solid evidence. That evidence should always be evaluated in terms of being admissible, and this can only be accomplished by an aggressive New York City criminal attorney who understands how to cast reasonable doubt on any federal government assertion. Search and seizure of the evidence is a particular point of contention that could result is a case dismissal or charge reduction.
Retaining a Federal Drug Trafficking Lawyer
Who is chosen for a legal representative can make a major difference when federal charges are filed. Former prosecutors can make an excellent choice because they understand what the federal government must prove in order to validate the case, meaning they will also know immediately where the government’s case is weakest. In addition, many times former prosecutors are also the best legal counselors when they have an ongoing professional relationship with the federal prosecutors. Local politics normally do not matter in prosecuting a federal case, and the professional reputation and status of your New York City criminal defense attorney
can make a major difference when negotiating a charge reduction or a case dismissal.
Being charged with a federal and major felony drug trafficking crime is an event that ruins lives, not only of the defendant, but often for the families as well. Having solid representation can mean that damage is limited when the charges are valid, and that exoneration is possible when your attorney can demonstrate that the government case is lacking in merit or does not rise to the level of being a federal priority because of various material case factors. In many ways, a defendant in a serious drug trafficking charge is not just defending against conviction when they choose an attorney. They are making an investment in the future of themselves and their families.
Dismissal of Trafficking Charges
The state of New York is known for having some of the strictest drug laws in the United States. These laws are also complex and provide various different classes of felonies. When it comes to trafficking an illegal substance, there are five different categories of felonies. In order to obtain a conviction, the prosecution must prove possession as well as knowledge of a controlled substance with intent to sell, including drug paraphernalia i.e. glass bongs, glass pipes. Should someone in New York make an offer or agreement for the purchase of an illegal substance, it may be considered enough evidence to prove intent and ability to traffic drugs. In some situations, it is possible to have such charges dismissed.
Illegal Search and Seizure
In order for a person to be convicted of a drug trafficking charge, their rights to due process, including lawful search and seizure, must be respected. This should happen even before an arrest takes place. A person in possession of an illegal drug in plain view can have it seized as evidence. If illegal drugs are discovered in a car’s trunk after it’s forced open without a proper legal authority, they cannot be used as evidence. It does not matter the amount of illegal drugs located there. If it can be proven a person’s Fourth Amendment rights were violated, there is a good chance the charges could be dismissed.
It is essential for a prosecutor to produce the actual drugs a defendant is charged with trafficking. It is possible for seized drugs to be transferred between many different people before they are placed in an evidence locker, including being hidden in items, such as waist trainers. It’s possible the drugs will no longer exist for many reasons. When a prosecutor is unable to produce the actual drugs obtained during an arrest; a judge will have to dismiss the case.
A judgment against a person convicted of drug trafficking can be vacated if the court did not have jurisdiction for the action. It can also happen if the judgment was obtained through misrepresentation or fraud from a prosecutor. This can be the case if evidence provided during the trial prior was false and it was known by the prosecutor. It’s also possible for the judgment against a defendant to be vacated when it is proven they were suffering from mental disease or defect. This will happen if it is determined the defendant could not understand or participate in the legal proceedings.
Lack of Ownership
It is common for people charged with drug trafficking to claim they didn’t own the drugs and were unaware they were in their living space. A prosecutor may be asked to provide solid evidence a person charged with the crime did have possession and control of the illegal drugs. If a connection can’t be proven between the illegal drugs and a person who allegedly had knowledge as well as control of them; the case could be dismissed.
Law enforcement officials often set up sting operations that involve arresting individuals trafficking illegal drugs. A person may be the victim of entrapment if a member of law enforcement convinces them to commit a crime that in any other circumstance they would not have committed. Should an undercover law enforcement officer place significant pressure on a suspect to sell an illegal drug to a third party: it could be considered entrapment. It is also the case if the state provides the illegal drugs for the commission of the crime. Entrapment is sufficient grounds to dismiss drug trafficking charges.
Drugs Are Planted
This is always a challenge to prove in a court of law. A law enforcement officer’s sworn testimony is highly valued. It’s also important to know that fellow officers are very reluctant to identify one of their own as having done something illegal. A person’s lawyer can file a motion with a judge requesting a law enforcement department release their complaint file of the lead officer for the case. If a judge grants this motion, an attorney will be able to find the names and contacts for information concerning their client’s case. An attorney is then able to interview these people or hire a private investigator to interview them.
Should a person be charged with drug trafficking, it important they listen to their attorney. These legal professionals will know what defense will work best in a person’s individual situation. Some legal defenses will challenge the facts of the case, evidence or even testimony. Others will involve improper procedural errors as well as seizure violations and more.
With so many drug related crimes floating around out there, it is important to be able to distinguish between them all. The exact charge greatly impacts the level of prosecution and the severity of the penalty were the charged to actually be convicted. One of the more serious of these charges is related to drug trafficking, so that is what we will focus on here.
Drug Trafficking Explained
Another term commonly used for drug trafficking is drug distribution. It specifically relates to an individual that is found to be selling, transporting, or illegally importing any controlled substance that is against the law. This includes cocaine, heroin, marijuana, methamphetamines, and a variety of other illegal drugs. The part of drug trafficking that makes it a more difficult concept under to understand lies in the fact that punishments can vary widely. If a person is found guilty, the penalty depends on a number of different factors. This includes the actual classification of drug that is involved, the amount, where it is to be distributed, and whether or not children were the target of the drugs. Actual sentences usually involve jail time and can range from a low of three years to a maximum of life.
Classification of Drug Trafficking
When a person is accused of drug trafficking, it is a felony offense. This makes it a much more serious crime than the charge of drug possession alone. It is important to note that being in possession of drugs could result in a charge of drug trafficking if, in the opinion of law enforcement officials, you intended to actually sell them. This will usually occur if the individual being charged had an abnormally large amount of drugs on them at the time of arrest.
It is also important to make mention of the fact that drug trafficking also applies to anyone who is found to be illegally distributing illegal prescription drugs. This can include pain killers and sleeping pills, among others. Today, the illegal trafficking of prescription drugs also involves products Mae from hydrocodone and various types of pharmaceutical opiates.
Controlled Substances and their Application to Drug Trafficking
If a state (or the federal government) classifies a particular substance as being controlled, it means that its distribution is governed by a series of laws. This means that any person selling it must have a license to do so, and they must adhere to a series of policies and regulations that relate to its regulated nature. These controlled substances are typically classified based on a level, or scheduled, system. The higher the schedule, the more severe the drug trafficking charge will be. As an example, marijuana is classified as a Schedule 1 controlled substance, while cocaine is Schedule II.
Drug Trafficking Charges at the State and Federal Levels
There are various state and federal laws that come into factor when examining a drug trafficking charge. Depending on which law enforcement agency is involved, a variety of charges can actually be leveled against the same individual in two different jurisdiction. The federal government has its own set of drug trafficking laws. At the same time, each individual state in the Union has their own guidelines as well. Most of the state laws mirror those that are on the federal books. As such, there are certain minimum sentences that will be handed out to those convicted of drug trafficking, no matter which type of court the individual is charged in. Because of the ambiguity in some of the sentencing guidelines, however, it is found that much frustration enters when a small time drug trafficker is given a harsher sentence that that handed down to a violent criminal.
Drug trafficking is a serious charge. It is not to be taken lightly and is something that requires a professional and experience lawyer to be on the side of the accused. With the sentences being much harsher than that reserved from other types of drug related crimes, prosecutors also tend to pursue them more vigorously. A charge of drug possession can quickly be changed to one of drug trafficking, so be careful of that as well. If you find yourself charged with any drug related crime, contact a lawyer right away.
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