Over the last several years, more and more drug offenses have been prosecuted in federal court, where the penalties can be enormously harsh.
Federal drug offenses cover the same conduct as the state drug offenses. Of course, transportation of drugs across international borders or seizures of narcotics in national or international waters are always prosecuted in the federal courts.
The typical drug case in federal court involves the allegations that a conspiracy to transport, possess, distribute, or import illegal drugs was entered into among the several defendants.
Drug conspiracy cases often involve electronic surveillance, wiretapping, as well as other types of search warrants, informants, undercover operations, the use of canines, and a multitude of other investigative techniques. They are investigated by federal agencies alone or in a “task force” comprised of state and local police agencies, or by a local police agency acting alone.
The penalties upon conviction for violating federal drug laws are severe. Most statutes provide for a maximum imprisonment of life. Depending on the type of drug involved and the amount for which a particular defendant is found to be responsible, minimum statutory penalties can range from 0 to 10 years for a first time offender. In these cases, the federal sentencing guidelines (see section on Federal Sentencing) offer a range in sentencing, but those ranges must yield to the statutory minimums, except under very limited circumstances. For example, if the guidelines calculation, after consideration of all adjustments, results in a guideline range of 78 to 97 months, but the statute requires a minimum of 120 months, the court must sentence according to the statutory minimum.
A proven record in defending federal drug conspiracy cases is essential in picking the right lawyer for the job. With over 30 years experience in handling these cases across the entire United States, our firm will defend your case aggressively, seeking and often obtaining acquittals, or, in many cases substantially reducing the charges and the sentencing.