What Is a Federal Drug Abuse Violation?
Federal law prohibits the possession, use, or distribution of illegal drugs. Any violation of federal drug laws is considered a drug abuse violation. If you are convicted of a drug-related crime, you will face strict penalties, including mandatory prison terms in many cases.
The drugs that are described in the law are known as controlled substances. These controlled substances are listed in categories known as schedules. Controlled substances a listed in one of five schedules, with Schedule I being the highest and most serious drugs and Schedule V being the lowest and least serious drugs. If you are facing a federal drug abuse violation, then make sure that you speak to an experienced federal criminal defense attorney.
What Are the Potential Penalties for Federal Drug Abuse Violations?
There are several potential penalties that exist for those who are convicted of a federal drug abuse violation. If you are convicted of a federal drug crime, you may lose federal benefits such as school loans, grants, scholarships, contracts, and licenses. If you are convicted of trafficking drugs, you may lose benefits for up to five years. If you are convicted of possession, you may lose benefits for up to one year on your first conviction and up to five years for subsequent convictions.
The following information is an overview of some of the penalties for first convictions. All penalties are doubled for any subsequent drug conviction. Some common federal drug charges and their penalties are as follows:
- Drug Trafficking (21 USC § 841) - If you are convicted of cocaine trafficking, and it is a first offense and the amount alleged to have been trafficked is between 500g and 5kg, then there is a five-year mandatory minimum sentence. If you are convicted of heroin trafficking and the amount alleged to have been trafficked is more than 1kg, then there is a ten-year mandatory minimum sentence. If someone dies or is seriously injured because of fentanyl trafficking, then there is a 20-year mandatory minimum sentence.
- Drug Possession (21 USC § 844) - If you are convicted of possessing any controlled substance on federal charges, then there is a mandatory minimum of one year in jail and a mandatory fine of at least $1,000. If you are convicted a second time, then there is a mandatory minimum of at least 15 days in jail but not more than two years and a minimum fine of $2,500. Any further convictions can result in imprisonment for at least 90 days but not more than three years and a minimum fine of $5,000.
These are just some of the potential penalties that exist for federal drug abuse violations. You can also be ordered to pay restitution for any harm that resulted from a federal drug abuse violation.
What Are the Potential Defenses for Federal Drug Abuse Violations?
There are several defenses that can be used if you are accused of a federal drug abuse violation. Important defense questions include:
- Whether the police violated your constitutional rights when they searched for illegal drugs?
- Whether they have probable cause to search you or your property?
- Whether you were threatened or coerced into committing a crime?
- Whether you were there?
- Did the government entrap you into drug trafficking?
These are just some of the questions you must answer to determine what potential defenses you may have.
In What Court Will Your Case Be Heard?
If you have a federal criminal case, then it will be heard in a federal district court. District courts are regional by state, and Pennsylvania has three federal District Courts. The three federal district courts in Pennsylvania are the central, middle, and eastern district courts. Cases are assigned by location, so if your case originated in central or eastern Pennsylvania, then your case will be processed in the middle district court or eastern district court.
Appeals can be filed by either side from the district court and must be filed with the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit. Any further appeals must be filed with the United States Supreme Court. This does not mean your appeal will actually be heard in the Supreme Court, as cases are only heard in the United States Supreme Court if the Court decides it wants to hear and rule on an issue in the case. An experienced attorney can help you understand these processes and how to approach your case.
How Hiring an Experienced Attorney Can Help
If you are being criminally prosecuted, then it is important to have an experienced attorney on your side. An experienced attorney can help you understand the case against you when you are facing criminal charges. Understanding your case is critical to forming a defense. Your attorney can help you decide whether to go to trial or work out a deal.
If you want to work out a deal, then your attorney can negotiate its terms. Your attorney can also give their opinion on the strength of the deal and whether you should take it. It is important to have all the necessary information when deciding to make a deal or go to trial. If you have legal questions, then contact us at the Lento Law Firm today for our help!
Why Hiring the Lento Law Firm Is the Right Choice
If you are being investigated or prosecuted federally for a drug abuse violation, then it is important to speak to an experienced federal criminal defense attorney right away. Attorney Joseph D. Lento has helped people defend countless criminal charges in several jurisdictions. Call the Lento Law Firm today at 888-535-3686 to learn why hiring the Lento Law Firm is the right choice to help defend your federal case.