Federal Drug Distribution Attorney

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When you face a drug charge, you may be confused over what makes it a federal crime and not a state crime. You may also wonder what the classifications of drugs mean and how that can affect the outcome of your case. There are many aspects you should understand when facing such charges so that you can go to court prepared.

Phone: (202) 430-1900

Fax: (202) 430-1900

Office Location: 1101 17th Street NW Suite 1100
Washington, DC 20036

Hours: Monday - Friday | 8am - 5pm

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Federal Drug Crime Defense Attorney in DC

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.

Illegal Drug Distribution

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:

  • Larger amounts of illicit substances are found in either an individual’s possession or in a location under their control.
  • Suspects are caught exporting and importing, manufacturing with the intent to distribute, crossing state lines.
  • Suspects provide drugs to other individuals or groups.

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 Drug Categories

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.

  • Schedule 1: Highly addictive substances without federally recognized medical uses, including LSD, methaqualone, heroin, ecstasy, and marijuana.
  • Schedule 2: Highly addictive substances with some accepted medical uses. Drugs in this category include PCP, morphine, and cocaine.
  • Schedule 3: Some accepted medical uses. Not highly addictive, and lower potential for abuse. Drugs in this category include codeine, anabolic steroids, some barbiturates, and hydrocodone.
  • Schedule 4: Accepted medical use. Low potential for abuse. Schedule 4 substances include Xanax and Valium, as well as most other benzodiazepines.
  • Schedule 5: Accepted medical use and low potential for abuse. These drugs include prescription cough meds containing codeine, as well as other cough meds sold over the counter.

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.

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:

  • Prison sentencing. Sentence length would vary according to the types of drugs distributed as well as other factors pertaining to the case. For example, if a person was killed or seriously injured due to illicit substances and their manufacture or distribution, sentencing for the person (s) responsible would double.
  • Penalties. Persons convicted of federal drug crimes would receive loss of federal benefits like subsidized housing, scholarships, grants, contracts, and certain licenses.
  • Loss of assets. In some cases, persons convicted of federal drug crimes would have to forfeit ownership of certain assets, such as homes and real estate, cars, or boats.

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.

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When is Drug Possession a Federal Crime?

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 Drug Distribution Defense

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:

  • The individual was not aware the substance was illegal.
  • The individual was not in possession of the substance or had no knowledge of its presence.
  • The individual had a legal, medical prescription for the substance.
  • The evidence was gathered under unlawful circumstances.
  • The evidence was tampered with.
  • The arresting officer did not have plausible cause to make the arrest.
  • The prosecution’s evidence was circumstantial.
  • The person charged had no intent to sell or distribute.
Find a Skilled Defense Attorney

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.

Time Is of The Essence

Contact Dennis Boyle, Attorney At Law Today

If you are up against the federal government in court, you cannot afford to do it on your own or with a lawyer who is not committed to your case. Seek out federal drug charge crime defense lawyer Dennis E. Boyle, Attorney At Law, as your legal advocate and partner during this difficult time. Contact us today.

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