New York Federal Drug Cases
The amount of drugs plays a vital role in New York federal drug cases. Type of drug is hugely important because an experienced federal drug lawyer has seen different penalties based on the substance. For example, heroin is penalized differently than marijuana in the federal sentencing guidelines. The more serious the drug, the higher the base offense level is in the sentencing guidelines. It is the first thing that goes in Section 2D 1.1 of the federal sentencing guidelines.
Specifics of Federal Drug Cases
The major factor of a federal drug case is whether the Commerce Clause of the constitution is implicated. Principally, this is triggered when the prosecutor alleges that the controlled substances were transported or distributed across state lines. However, there are situations where a prosecutor can show based on some unique set of circumstances, the drug activity affects interstate commerce somehow.
At the federal level, an individual can be charged with manufacture, possession, and/or distribution of controlled substances, as well as the attempt or conspiracy to commit any of those acts. A drug case becomes a federal case when there is activity that crosses state lines or something comes in from outside of the country.
Role of the Federal Government
The federal government wants to make the sentences as significant as possible. If a person is trying to distribute drugs in a correctional facility, they receive a higher level. If anabolic steroids are involved, that increases the level of the federal sentencing guidelines because there are dangers to the use of steroids among the youth.
There is the possibility of mitigating an aggravating role. The levels decrease by four when a person is a minimal participant in the drug activity. When the person is a minor participant, the level decreases by two. When the person is a leader in the conspiracy, the levels increase in many different ways. The two things that really impact a federal case are the type of and amount of drug and whether violence is involved.
What are some Important Guidelines?
The federal sentencing guidelines go into specific offense characteristics. They address the aspect of violence in the commission of a crime. When a dangerous weapon is possessed, the penalty increases by a couple of levels. When violence or a credible threat to use violence is involved, the federal sentencing guidelines expose the person to increased levels. If an aircraft, commercial airline, submarine, or other watercraft is used to import or export the controlled substances, the levels increase.
Types of Federal Offenses
A conspiracy charge can be part of a RICO charge drug offense. A person can be charged with possession with intent to distribute, which is an offense in the federal system. There are many different federal drug charges. A RICO charge has the potential for the most exposure. The charges can include violence as well.
Section 924(c) charges address gun possession offenses where someone uses or possesses a gun in connection with a drug offense. The result is federal jail time consecutive with the underlying drug offense.
Role of an Attorney
When the case hinges upon the credibility of a cooperating witness, the defense lawyer challenges their credibility. That is true for the drug deals and any of the other criminality in their lives in terms of fraud, stealing, robbing, cheating, and violence. The lawyer goes into every bit of it. A lawyer can be successful by impeaching the credibility of their cooperators and showing the jury that the government is willing to make a deal with anyone to get a conviction.