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Illegal drug distribution refers to the selling, drug manufacturing, importing and exporting, or delivering illicit drugs. Whether the individual is charged with trafficking, possession, or distribution often depends on the weight of the drugs involved and other details of the arrest.
If only small amounts of illegal drugs are found in the individual’s possession, they are likely to be charged with simple drug possession.
Suspects may face federal drug distribution charges when:
While most individuals charged with drug distribution were caught attempting to sell drugs to an undercover officer, you do not need to be caught in the act of selling to be charged with drug distribution. In fact, if an individual is caught carrying large quantities of controlled substances or large sums of cash, they could be charged with possession with intent to distribute.
Illegal drugs are divided into categories by the Controlled Substances Act (CSA) called Schedules. Illegal drugs and certain prescription medications are grouped into different Schedules based on their perceived level of abuse, medical uses, dangers, and addictiveness. These illegal drugs are referred to as “controlled substances” because the government has control over their use, sale, and manufacture.
Individuals arrested for the distribution of controlled substances from any Schedules may be charged for federal drug crimes and face serious penalties, including prison time, fines, and loss of benefits. It must be noted that although marijuana is legal for medical use in 33 states as of 2021 and has even been legalized for recreational use in some states, it is still considered a Schedule 1 substance by federal law. Individuals found growing large amounts of unauthorized marijuana plants or selling and distributing marijuana products without the necessary licensure of that state can face federal drug charges.
Taking part in the use, sale, manufacture, or distribution of illegal substances is both a state and a federal crime. Penalties for federal drug distribution charges include:
Federal convictions are charged as felonies, and individuals convicted are almost never given parole. When federal drug charges reach conviction, the convicted individual would usually face a mandatory minimum sentence, the length of which is determined by the circumstances of the case. Federal convictions carry stricter penalties than state convictions for the same or similar crimes. Therefore, individuals facing federal charges should seek an experienced attorney and get proper legal counsel right away.
If an individual is arrested by federal officers (FBI, CIA, DEA, Secret Service, and Homeland Security), they will likely be charged by the federal government rather than the state. Persons caught or accused of selling large amounts of illegal drugs, transporting controlled substances across borders, such as Panama, Mexico, Guatemala, or Colombia, or attempting to sell to an undercover federal agent would almost always be tried by a federal court.
Federal prosecutors have an abundance of resources at their disposal. To create a solid federal defense strategy, choosing a skilled criminal defense attorney is crucial. Federal drug distribution charges do not always end in convictions. In fact, there are several defense tactics used by many skilled attorneys that could result in penalties being reduced or charges dropped completely. Many federal drug arrests are made under dubious circumstances in which the law enforcement involved in the arrest did not first obtain the necessary warrants before conducting the search and seizure. Likewise, many federal drug prosecutions are based only upon circumstantial evidence. An experienced defense attorney can employ several defense tactics to defend a federal drug distribution case successfully. Some strategies an attorney might employ are proving one or more of the following:
Federal drug laws are complicated, and the penalties for convictions can be severe. If you have been charged with federal drug distribution crimes, you should contact a skilled criminal defense attorney who has experience practicing law in the federal court system right away. Having defended over 200 federal jury trials, Dennis E. Boyle, Attorney at Law, has the skills and experience necessary to provide a solid defense and legal counsel for you.