Our firm invites those facing federal drug charges to continue reading on for an overview of this in-depth and often challenging legal process.
Definition Of Illicit Substances
When many people think of illegal drugs, substances such as heroin, cocaine, marijuana, and amphetamines come to mind. However, individuals could face federal drug offenses while in possession, using, or conducting other actions with numerous other products.
For example, various pharmaceutical substances could precipitate serious problems. Individuals caught with drugs like painkillers and no accompanying prescription may be subject to arrest and prosecution.
State Versus Federal Drug Charges
In many cases, drug offenses are levied by local law enforcement authorities. In such cases, said cases are tried by state prosecutors. However, certain offenses are overseen by federal authorities.
Commonly, this occurs when the government possesses evidence against individuals partaking in a multi-state drug trafficking operation. Trafficking is the transportation of illegal substances.
That said, federal drug charges might be handed out for other actions such as:
Possession means being found carrying or concealing illicit products. Such charges might also be given for holding objects known as drug paraphernalia. Such items can be any materials used to manufacture, measure, transport, or ingest illegal substances.
Conspiracy is when a group of individuals create a plan to commit some type of illegal drug-related action.
Distribution is the sale of illicit drugs.
Manufacturing is the making of specific substances. One example is a lab where drugs like methamphetamines are concocted.
Oftentimes, the decision to levy federal charges against a suspected drug offender will depend on the amount of the illicit material they possessed, intended to distribute, were caught attempting to transport, or had manufactured.
That said, other factors might weigh into one receiving state or federal charges. For example, individuals caught performing some type of drug offense on federal property will likely lead to federal charges.
In other instances, alleged drug offenders might be reported to federal authorities by informants. Said subjects often also face criminal drug offenses and become informants as a means of earning less stiffer punishments.
Proving Federal Drug Charges
The process of proving various federal drug charges depends upon the specific crime the suspect is thought to have committed.
Possession is, arguably, the easiest act to prove. Prosecutors must confirm the specific substance is indeed illicit.
Acts like distribution, manufacturing, and trafficking could prove a bit more complicated. This is because prosecuting attorneys also must demonstrate a clear intent.
Federal drug crimes typically carry steep penalties. Therefore, hiring an experienced federal criminal defense lawyer who has handled many drug cases is critical. Fortunately, said legal minds mind might be able to formulate any one of the following defensive stands:
In some cases, federal agents execute arrests partly due to information provided by what are referred to as paid snitches. These occasionally unprincipled subjects often offer inaccurate testimony or even engage in actions like trying to entrap a suspect with fabricated or corrupted evidence.
Improper Arrest Procedures
Occasionally, law enforcement officials fail to execute arrests properly. For example, the accused party might not have been read their rights.
Inadequate Evidence Processing
Evidence like drugs are subject to proper transportation and storage. Should this chain of evidence not be adhered to, said material could become corrupted and subsequently inadmissible to legal proceedings.
Once in a while, someone caught with drugs or paraphernalia might be the victim of a frame. Framers orchestrate criminal events against other people to deflect attention away from themselves or others close to them in an attempt to deliberately mislead authorities.
Unlawful Search And Seizure
In many instances, law enforcement agencies must obtain search warrants to conduct investigations in locations where drugs are suspected of being housed, distributed, or manufactured. Illegal searches and seizures render any evidence collected as invalid.
Federal drug charges usually carry hefty minimum incarceration periods and other stiff fines. The sentences courts dole out often hinge on several factors such as the specific crime, the type of drug involved, the amount of said substance, if other illicit acts were also committed, and the convicted subject’s prior criminal history.
Additionally, federal drug convictions could also precipitate personal issues like the loss of professional licenses, inclusion on one’s permanent record, in addition to limited employment and housing opportunities.
Those charged with a federal drug offense are firmly urged to consult with an experienced federal criminal defense attorney immediately. Our skilled team have handled many such cases and embrace the challenge of helping clients deal with and potentially overcome such trying circumstances.