New York Federal Drug Lawyer
While many drug-related crimes are prosecuted at the individual state level, sometimes charges of drug distribution, manufacture, or possession in extreme amounts may be advanced to the federal state, especially if their commission involved actions or participants in multiple states.
A New York federal drug crime lawyer could represent you in US District Court if you are accused of violating any of the US government’s laws concerning the possession, manufacture, and distribution of illegal drugs. Contacting a skilled federal criminal lawyer could benefit the outcome of your case.
Federal Penalties for Drug Crimes
At its simplest level, the mere possession of large amount of an illegal drug is a federal offense under 21 U.S.C. §841. Depending upon the amount of the drug that is found in a person’s possession, they may be subject to mandatory minimum prison sentences. These sentences also vary depending upon the type of drug that is found and the schedule it falls into.
A defendant is required to serve a mandatory five-year minimum sentence if they are found to have at least 100 grams of heroin in their possession. However, for this mandatory minimum to apply to powdered cocaine, the amount must be at least 500 grams.
For defendants facing charges involving less than these amounts, the penalties are still harsh. Even trace amounts of illegal drugs carry potential penalties of up to one year in prison and a minimum fine of $1,000. Making matters worse, the federal government can also seize any property connected to drug activity.
This can include cash, cars, homes, and any other personal property. These punishments can be attached to any person found guilty of federal drug crimes and sentenced to any term of imprisonment in excess of one year.
What Are Drug Schedules?
Both federal and state law divide drugs into different schedules or categories, based on the type of drug and its probability for misuse. Under the Controlled Substances Act, drugs are separated into five schedules. Schedule I drugs have the most significant potential for misuse and are not authorized for medicinal purposes, while Schedule V drugs present the least probability of misuse and do have medicinal applications.
Heroin and methaqualone are examples of drugs that fall into the Schedule I category, whereas pharmaceutical products containing limited qualities of a drug like codeine are classified as Schedule V substances.
What Are the Different Types of Federal Drug Charges?
There are several different types of federal drug charges, including the production, distribution, and possession of illegal drugs. A person can be convicted for making an illegal drug if they own or cultivate any components required to manufacturer the substance. Additionally, someone may face allegations of distribution they engage in the sale or conveyance of an unlawful drug.
Possession is another offense that someone may receive in various situations. For instance, a person may receive charges for drug possession even if the substance is not physically with them at the time of their arrest. If the accused had control over the area where the substance was stored and means of getting to those drugs, they can be tried for possession. Our federal defense attorneys in New York could help someone build their case based on the drug crime they are facing.
What are some Aggravating Factors that Could Affect Federal Drug Charges?
There are numerous factors that affect the eventual outcome of someone’s federal drug charge, including any prior criminal history of the accused. In fact, if someone has been found guilty of a drug offense in the past, the federal prosecutor may seek an elevated sentence from the court. Other factors that may lead to an elevated sentence as well include injuring or killing someone during the alleged offense. During a federal drug crime case, a New York lawyer may develop a defense strategy based on the aggravating factors.
Dual Jurisdiction and Potential Civil Penalties
As a New York federal drug crime lawyer knows, the various drug offenses are one area of law under which individual states and the federal government have dual jurisdiction. This means that a person can be accused—and convicted—of both a state and federal crime that results from the same single act.
In addition to any imprisonment that accompanies a federal conviction, a defendant convicted on federal drug charges may also be required to pay a civil fine as high as $10,000 for each violation.
Civil punishments for federal crimes have several unique characteristics—this is a punishment that can only be given twice in a person’s lifetime, and a person cannot plead poverty as a defense as to why they should not be fined.
How a New York Federal Drug Crime Attorney Could Help
Facing federal drug charges can be daunting. Depending on the outcome of a case, the potential penalties someone may face from conviction can involve mandatory minimum prison sentences, steep fines, and the prospect of losing all personal assets.
When faced with such a situation, obtain representation from an experienced New York federal drug crime lawyer knowledgeable about the court process and aggressive in defending individual rights.
Through a combination of evidentiary procedures and persuasive trial work, a qualified legal team could advocate on your behalf at every turn and work tirelessly to achieve an optimal outcome to your case. Contact us today to learn how we may be able to help.