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What are the sentences in federal cocaine cases?

Imposing Minimum Sentences on Drug Offenders: A Deep Dive

Introduction

When it comes to drug-related offenses, federal judges follow a strict protocol – mandatory minimum sentences. This is to ensure that the offenders face the consequences of their actions, and deter others from taking a similar path.

The Severity of the Sentences

The sentences for drug-related offenses depend on several factors, including the type and quantity of drugs, the offender’s criminal record, injuries or deaths resulting from the offense, and the manner in which firearms were used. The Controlled Substances Act and the Controlled Substances Import and Export Act govern drug offenses, while drug-related firearms offenses involve the possession and use of firearms for serious drug offenses.

The Range of Minimum Sentences

Minimum sentences for drug offenses range from a year to life imprisonment. Despite their name, they aren’t always mandatory, as prosecutors may choose not to prosecute, or the President may pardon or commute the offender’s sentence. Additionally, the “safety valve” provision is available for low-level, nonviolent, first-time offenders who provide authorities with substantial assistance.

Legal Challenges to Mandatory Minimum Sentences

Defendants sentenced to mandatory minimum sentences for drug-related offenses have challenged Congress’s legislative authority and the government’s constitutional authority to enforce them. However, courts have generally concluded that the provisions fall within congressional authority under various clauses of the Constitution. The Due Process, Equal Protection, or Cruel and Unusual Punishment Clauses, or the separation-of-powers doctrine, haven’t been found to impede the imposition of mandatory minimum sentences.

George FernandezGeorge Fernandez
14:16 30 Apr 24
Excellent 10 out of 10, Helped resolve my case. Jeremy explained everything and made everything easy to understand.
RajRaj
21:33 24 Apr 24
If you are looking for a lawyer that listens, is aggressive where needed, and holds his word above all else, Todd is the best pick. I had hired multiple attorneys prior to hiring the Spodek Group for a white collar case. The first thing that stood out to me was the cost, as anyone going through the process and dealing with the system, money was tight at that time - especially after hiring and firing multiple lawyers. The cost was not as high as others which was definitely a plus. Todd's intake process was also unlike other attorneys. He took the time to actually listen. He cared. He was trying to put himself in my shoes while I was explaining the situation to him and he really took the time to understand the whole situation. Other lawyers will give you 15 mins and send you a retainer agreement. Not Todd, I think he spent almost two hours with me as I was explaining everything.Not only was he great during the onboarding process, he was supportive and very informative through the entire plea process and eventually sentencing. After hiring him, I asked if I should hire a prison consultant, he told me to save my money as he would do everything they would. He was right and held up to his word. Later on I would hear from others that went with the prison consultants that they were a waste of money - I am glad I listened to Todd!When it came time for sentencing, two days prior to sentencing, the prosecutor tried increasing my proposed prison time by almost double - apparently a normal move. Todd and his team worked with me non-stop through the weekend prior to sentencing to ensure that I was not given additional prison time. Again, he took the time to listen and came up with a strategy to explain the case with great detail.Unfortunately, I did plead guilty as that was my best option. Todd and his whole team wrote up nearly 300 pages of a summary of what happened and why I should not be given prison time. If I breakdown the amount I spent with Todd versus the amount of work that I saw being done, I am shocked I was not charged four times as much. The other benefit was, a lot of criminal defense lawyers were just a single attorney with a paralegal or two. Todd had a team of people that I dealt with (5-7 people that I interacted with), but he was ALWAYS accessible. It would never take him more than an hour to reply unless he was in court.I was sentenced to prison and I was emotionally distraught. Todd and his team did whatever they could even after sentencing to make sure I was alright. He personally stayed in touch with my family to ensure I was doing alright and offered support to them. Most lawyers would consider the job complete at sentencing, not Todd.After prison, Todd still spent time with me to make sure I was on the right track and avoiding any potential risks in the future. He has also been giving advice on how to navigate probation etc and has not been looking at the clock for billing.Although I wish I had never been arrested in the first place, I am glad I had Todd and his team in my corner. Without them I likely would have had to spend a lot more time in prison than I did.Thank you, Todd, and the entire Spodek Law team, for helping turn what was a nightmare into a manageable situation!
Yelva Saint-PreuxYelva Saint-Preux
19:26 19 Apr 24
I am immensely grateful to the entire team at Spodek Law Group for their unwavering dedication and exceptional expertise throughout my case. From our initial consultation to the final resolution, their professionalism and tireless advocacy made all the difference. Their strategic approach and attention to detail instilled confidence in me every step of the way.Thanks to their hard work and commitment, we achieved a truly favorable outcome that exceeded my expectations. Not only did they navigate the complexities of my case with precision, but they also provided invaluable support and guidance during what was undoubtedly a challenging time. I cannot recommend Spodek Law Group highly enough, especially attorneys Todd Spodek and Claire Banks; they are beacons of excellence in the legal profession.YSP.
Katherine SunKatherine Sun
18:08 18 Apr 24
my lawyer is Alex Zhik. Efficient, patient and professional
Nun yaNun ya
17:48 18 Apr 24
Todd, Ralph and Alex are amazing. Helped my husband get from a double digit number with multiple charges to a single digit, by the time I blink he will be out. They very professional and help with all your needs. They dealt with my anxiety and worry very well and they understand that your family member needs to get home as soon as possible.
Keisha ParrisKeisha Parris
20:45 15 Mar 24
Believe every single review here about Alex Z!! From our initial consultation, it was evident that Alex possessed a profound understanding of criminal law and a fierce dedication to his clients rights. Throughout the entirety of my case, Alex exhibited unparalleled professionalism and unwavering commitment. What sets Alex apart is not only his legal expertise but also his genuine compassion for his clients. He took the time to thoroughly explain my case, alleviating any concerns I had along the way. His exact words were “I’m not worried about it”. His unwavering support and guidance were invaluable throughout the entire process. I am immensely grateful for Alex's exceptional legal representation and wholeheartedly recommend his services to anyone in need of a skilled criminal defense attorney. Alex Z is not just a lawyer; he is a beacon of hope for those navigating the complexities of the legal system. If you find yourself in need of a dedicated and competent legal advocate, look no further than Alex Z.
Taïko BeautyTaïko Beauty
16:26 15 Mar 24
I don’t know where to start, I can write a novel about this firm, but one thing I will say is that having my best interest was their main priority since the beginning of my case which was back in Winter 2019. Miss Claire Banks, one of the best Attorneys in the firm represented me very well and was very professional, respectful, and truthful. Not once did she leave me in the dark, in fact she presented all options and routes that could possibly be considered for my case and she reinsured me that no matter what I decided to do, her and the team will have my back and that’s exactly what happened. Not only will I be liberated from this case, also, I will enjoy my freedom and continue to be a mother to my first born son and will have no restrictions with accomplishing my goals in life. Now that’s what I call victory!! I thank the Lord, My mother, Claire, and the Spodek team for standing by me and fighting with me. Words can’t describe how grateful I am to have the opportunity to work with this team. I’m very satisfied, very pleased with their performance, their hard work, and their diligence.Thank you team!
K MarK Mar
01:37 25 Jan 24
I recently had Spodek Law Group represent me for a legal matter in NYC and I am thoroughly impressed with their services.Alex Zhik secured the best possible outcome for my case.It was a seamless journey from the initial consultation to the resolution of my legal matter. From the moment I spoke to Todd about my case, his enthusiasm to help was evident, setting a positive tone for the entire experience. The efficiency and professionalism displayed by the team is commendable.A particularly noteworthy aspect of their service is their user-friendly portal to upload your documents/evidence. This not only simplified the process, but showcases their commitment to streamline the client experience.Lastly, in an industry where legal fees can often be a concern, I found their pricing to be very reasonable, making needing legal assistance feel accessible and stress-free.I am grateful for their support and wouldn't hesitate to turn to them again in the future.
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Conclusion

While mandatory minimum sentences may be controversial, they’re an essential tool for holding drug offenders accountable and protecting society. The court’s conclusion has supported the enforcement of these sentences, ensuring that justice is served.

a) A five-year mandatory minimum term of imprisonment applies in cases involving:

  1. 100 grams or more of heroin
  2. 500 grams or more of cocaine
  3. 28 grams or more of cocaine base (crack cocaine)
  4. 10 grams or more of PCP
  5. 1 gram or more of LSD
  6. 100 kilograms or more of marijuana or 100 or more marijuana plants regardless of their weight
  7. 5 grams or more of methamphetamine or 50 grams or more of a mixture or substance containing methamphetamine

(b) A 10-year mandatory minimum term of imprisonment applies in cases involving:

  1. 1 kilogram or more of heroin
  2. 5 kilograms or more of cocaine
  3. 280 grams or more of cocaine base (crack cocaine)
  4. 100 grams or more of PCP or 1 kilogram or more of a mixture or substance containing PCP
  5. 10 grams or more of LSD
  6. 1,000 kilograms or more of a mixture or substance containing marijuana or 1,000 or more marijuana plants regardless of their weight
  7. 50 grams or more of methamphetamine or 500 grams or more of a mixture or substance containing methamphetamine

(C) A 20-year minimum mandatory term of imprisonment applies after:

  1. One prior felony drug conviction

(d) A mandatory life term of imprisonment applies after:

  1. Two or more prior felony drug conviction

Federal Narcotic Mandatory Minimum Sentences: Get to Know the Drug Quantities That Can Land You Behind Bars

Harsh Punishments for Drug Offenses

If you’re caught with certain quantities of drugs, you may be subject to severe mandatory minimum sentences that can keep you behind bars for years or even life. Here are the drug quantities that can trigger federal mandatory minimum sentences under Sections 841 and 851:

Minimum 5-Year Sentence

You may face a mandatory minimum term of five years in prison if you’re found in possession of:

100 grams or more of heroin
500 grams or more of cocaine
28 grams or more of cocaine base (crack cocaine)
10 grams or more of PCP
1 gram or more of LSD
100 kilograms or more of marijuana or 100 or more marijuana plants, regardless of their weight
5 grams or more of methamphetamine or 50 grams or more of a mixture or substance containing methamphetamine

Minimum 10-Year Sentence

If you’re found in possession of the following quantities, you may be subject to a mandatory minimum sentence of ten years in prison:

1 kilogram or more of heroin
5 kilograms or more of cocaine
280 grams or more of cocaine base (crack cocaine)
100 grams or more of PCP or 1 kilogram or more of a mixture or substance containing PCP
10 grams or more of LSD
1,000 kilograms or more of a mixture or substance containing marijuana or 1,000 or more marijuana plants, regardless of their weight
50 grams or more of methamphetamine or 500 grams or more of a mixture or substance containing methamphetamine

Minimum 20-Year Sentence

If you’ve been convicted of a prior felony drug offense, you may face a mandatory minimum term of 20 years in prison for any subsequent drug offenses.

Mandatory Life Sentence

If you’ve been convicted of two or more prior felony drug offenses, you may be sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.

Don’t let drugs land you in a world of trouble. If you’re facing drug charges, it’s essential to seek the help of an experienced criminal defense attorney who can help you navigate the complex legal system and protect your rights.

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