What Is a Federal Exportation of Drugs Charge?
It is illegal to export controlled substances to another country under federal law from the United States without authorization under Title 21 USC § 953. This includes controlled substances that you are for personal use or commercial sale. If you are caught exporting drugs to another country without authorization, you may be charged with the federal crime of drug exportation.
Any country that is a part of the International Opium Conventions, the Convention for Limiting the Manufacture and Regulating the Distribution of Narcotic Drugs, or the Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs is protected by federal exportation of drugs laws. Controlled substances cannot be exported to any of these countries without the appropriate prior authorization from the federal government. This authorization can come in the form of licensing or other written permission.
Federal exportation of drugs charges can also lead to federal drug trafficking charges under Title 21 USC § 841 and conspiracy to commit federal drug trafficking under Title 21 USC § 846. The potential penalties for the exportation or trafficking of controlled substances can be significant, so it is important to speak to an experienced federal criminal defense attorney if you are facing federal criminal charges.
What Are the Potential Penalties for a Federal Exportation of Drugs Conviction?
There are a wide range of potential penalties that exist for the exportation of controlled substances. These penalties are similar to the ones that one can face if they are charged with federal drug trafficking or conspiracy to commit federal drug trafficking. There are several mandatory minimum prison sentences that exist for various federal drug crimes, and these mandatory minimums extend to federal exportation of drug convictions.
A first-time conviction for the exportation of drugs can result in a mandatory minimum of five years in prison and a maximum of 40 years in prison. If during this first offense a death or serious injury occurs to anyone, then the mandatory minimum is increased to 20 years, and the maximum is increased to life in federal prison. First offenders can be fined a maximum of $5 million per offense, while an organization can be fined up to $25 million.
The controlled substances listed under federal law include cocaine, cocaine base, fentanyl, heroin, LSD, methamphetamine, and PCP. An individual will be punished more severely if it is proven that high levels of controlled substances were illegally exported from the United States to another country. Make sure you understand all potential penalties.
What Are the Potential Defenses for a Federal Exportation of Drugs Accusation?
There are several defenses that can be used if you are accused of the illegal exportation of a controlled substance. The answers to the questions listed below will help determine the best potential defenses available:
- Were your constitutional rights violated by the government?
- Did the police have a warrant to search you?
- Were you forced by someone else to commit a crime?
- Did the police entrap you?
- Were you involved at all?
- Is it a case of mistaken identity?
- Is someone lying about your involvement?
When answering these questions, you can see your potential defenses. Your defense might be a legal defense that can be claimed with a motion to suppress or a factual defense that can be claimed to a jury during a trial. Make sure you know all of your potential defenses for federal drug exportation. It can be the difference between a conviction and your freedom.
In What Court Will Your Case Be Heard?
If you have a federal criminal case, then your case will be heard in a federal District Court. The state of Pennsylvania is comprised of three federal District Courts known as the central, middle, and eastern district courts. All cases are heard in the appropriate district court based on region. Federal exportation of drugs cases in central or eastern Pennsylvania, then your criminal case will be heard in the appropriate court.
All appeals for criminal cases in federal district court must be made to federal appellate courts. Appeals from a Pennsylvania federal district court must be filed with the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit. Any further appeals can only go to the only remaining higher court, the United States Supreme Court. The Supreme Court chooses which cases to hear and decide on as nobody has an automatic right to have their case heard and decided in the United States Supreme Court. An experienced attorney can help you understand the legal process for your case.
How Hiring an Experienced Attorney Can Help
Having an experienced attorney on your side if you are facing criminal charges is invaluable. An experienced criminal defense attorney can help you assess the strengths and weaknesses of your case and help you decide what type of defense is best. An attorney can also help you evaluate the best path going forward in your case.
Any plea deals can be negotiated by a defense attorney on your behalf. Your attorney can also comment on the quality of your potential plea deal and whether it is a good idea to take it. Make sure you have all the information you need to make the best decisions about your case. If you have questions, then contact us at the Lento Law Firm!
Why Hiring the Lento Law Firm Is the Right Choice
If you are being prosecuted for the exportation of drugs, 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 us is the right choice to help defend your federal case.