Types of Crimes/Charges
It is important to understand that drug crimes often hinge on your use of the substance. Many legal medications are controlled substances that are only legal when you use them according to the law.
For example, if you have a prescription for a controlled substance, then you can legally use that drug if you do so according to the prescription. If you were to give one of your pills to someone else, then that would be a crime.
The most common drug charges include:
Distribution is selling or transporting controlled substances. Trafficking is the same as distribution, but it involves larger quantities of the substances.
Possession is having a controlled substance illegally. Possession with the intent to sell is a similar crime but involves having enough of the drug to be considered more than you would need for personal use.
Manufacturing is growing or making controlled substances. It may also include having the facilities to grow or make drugs.
You may also face paraphernalia charges. These involve possessing any item you may use to distribute, manufacture, or use drugs.
There are varying degrees of each crime that federal prosecutors could charge you with. The charges will typically depend on:
Location (near schools, for example, lead to harsher sentences)
A federal drug charge crime defense lawyer can use these details to assist you with mounting a defense to help lessen charges or your sentence.
State Vs. Federal
State and federal drug charges vary greatly because of the different ways these courts each classify controlled substances. In addition, many states have decriminalized certain drugs. States also offer alternative sentencing options that focus on rehabilitation more than punishment.
The most common crime at the state level is possession, and at the federal level is trafficking. State penalties are usually less harsh than federal ones.
You should know that whether you face state or federal charges is often up to the prosecutors. Even if your arrest is by local law enforcement, it could turn into a federal charge. However, if federal officers arrest you, then it is highly likely you will face charges at the federal level. Your federal drug charge crime defense lawyer can assist you with figuring out what charges you face and why your charges are now in federal court.
Mandatory Minimum Sentences
One thing to note about federal drug charges is that some crimes come with mandatory minimum sentences. This means the judge has no option because the law says you must serve at least a specific sentence. Such sentences can range from a year to life in prison.
If you face a charge that carries a mandatory minimum sentence, it is crucial to seek help from a federal drug charge crime defense lawyer. If you lose your case, then you will face that mandatory sentence regardless of the facts or circumstances.
The Need for Competent Legal Representation
State and federal criminal cases differ significantly. Not all attorneys can go to federal court, so you have to be sure that you choose a federal drug charge crime defense lawyer. You need someone to represent you who understands federal statutes and procedures.
Federal prosecutors and law enforcement have extensive resources at their disposal. You need a legal team that can match that to give you a proper defense.
Whatever the charges, you are likely be facing serious consequences, so you need an attorney who can focus on your case and who has great attention to detail. Dennis E. Boyle, Attorney At Law, has the experience and competence to work as your advocate and to plan a strategic approach to defending you at the federal level.