Drug conspiracy laws – on a federal level – are very broad, and carry strong penalties. Often, there are minimum sentencing guidelines, which almost always results in federal prison. Many state level cases are often upgraded to a federal crime – if possible. This is because federal laws are very broad, and far more punitive – which means that it gives federal prosecutors a greater ability to prosecute cases than state prosecutors.
Federal Charges for Drug Conspiracy
In the USA, you face a potential federal case if you possess, distribute, or traffic, in controlled substances. This can range from common illegal narcotics, to full on enterprise drug diversion cases – involving healthcare providers. At the federal level, most cases typically involve a huge amount of drugs. The charges on a federal level are very harsh – and including minimum prison sentences. The statute of limitations for drug conspiracy charges is 5 years from the event of when the activity ceases.
Drug conspiracy laws make it so the government can get a conviction against anyone involved in the chain of custody of the drugs. The charges in a federal case typically involve minimum prison sentences, of at least 10 years or more. In a drug conspiracy case, the laws are flexible so that anyone involved in the trade of the drugs can be held liable and charged criminally. That means healthcare providers, who engage in drug diversion – can be held liable, in addition to the dealers, and transporters of the drugs. Anyone caught buying the illegal drugs can also be charged at the federal level. Drug conspiracy provisions are very broad, and the government uses these broad measures in order to get convictions against as many people as possible who participated in the crime.
Drug conspiracy is a component of the US Code 21 U.S.C. § 846. The code states it’s illegal for anyone to commit a conspiracy to manufacture, distribute, or posses, controlled substances . This provision is under the general conspiracy statute 18 U.S.C., which makes even the participation in a conspiracy to violate federal laws – a crime itself.
Anyone who has any connection to people who have intent to commit a federal violation of the laws, whether or not they participated in the act – can be charged. If two or more people agree to posses, sell, manufacture, or distribute, illegal drugs – then each person can be charged. Innocent people sometimes get tangled up in drug conspiracies unknowingly. For example, UBER’s new messenger service has been used as a popular drug muling carrier due to it’s anonymity. Another example is if you loan a vehicle to someone who uses it to then deliver drugs – could be considered a participant.
In order for the government to build a federal drug conspiracy case – they have to establish illegal actions or motives were at play. The government can hold a conspirator liable for any/all acts, that are committed by his/her co-conspirators. Regulations are in place that determine the start, and termination of the conspiracy. Even if just 1 conspirator takes action, it can be used to convict all of the defendants. The main requirement for proof is that 2 or more people agreed to break the law and violate federal drug laws.
Conspiracy laws are very broad, and as a result charges and convictions can be levied against people who don’t know each other. The prosecution is aware of how broad their powers are, and uses them accordingly. They use the conspiracy statute to charge as many people as possible. In some cases, people can be charged twice for the same crime. Most federal drug indictments also result in drug conspiracy counts. For example, even if you discussed committing the crime – you can be charged even if you didn’t participate in it. The government has to have enough evidence to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that an agreement was made by a group of people to break federal drug laws. In addition, the government must prove that the people who are being charged knew and voluntarily joined in. Without an agreement, the government’s case is much weaker.
Federal Drug Conspiracy Penalties
Penalties are stiff. Conspiracies can result in fines up to $250,000, along with prison terms up to 5 years. Penalties can be added for other crimes committed, in conjunction with the drug offense. Penalties can also be affected other factors – like age, background, prior criminal record, etc. Some people may be forced to make restitution and subject to forfeiture. If you harmed someone during the crime, it can affect how severe the penalties are.
Federal Drug Conspiracy Defenses
If you’re accused of federal drug conspiracy charges, we recommend you immediately contact our criminal attorneys. The scope of a federal drug conspiracy case is very broad. The court has to prove many elements, beyond the shadow of a doubt. If it can’t prove you participated in a conspiracy, then you cannot be convicted. There are many ways to defend against such charges. Our criminal defense attorneys will investigate the merits of the case, and uncover evidence to reduce or eliminate charges filed against you. Often, many people are dragged into drug conspiracy charges because they came in passing contact with people who were in agreement about committing a drug offense. Some are accused, yet know no one in the group. The element of “agreement” – of a drug offense, is where our criminal defense lawyers will look to get charges dropped.
Frequently, our attorneys will try to prove you had no agreement to engage in such activities as a line of defense to get the federal drug conspiracy charges dropped. Another thing we’ll do, is focus on how the drug conspiracy was discovered. If a search and seizure was done illegally – we’ll strike that from the evidence. If a defendant was stopped illegally, and drugs were found – we’ll strike that – due to the fact the police didn’t have sufficient cause to stop the defendant in the first place. If your rights were violated in the process of the investigation, we can request the judge to suppress any evidence seized.