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Federal Drug Trafficking

Federal Drug Trafficking Charges

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California Law Firm for Federal Drug Trafficking


You may know that federal drug crimes come with very severe penalties. Those penalties can mean many years in federal prison and major fines. Even charges that are minor under California law, such as possession, could mean a stint in prison. Drug trafficking is one of the most serious, however, and the penalties are even tougher. That’s why it is always in your best interest to hire an experienced federal drug trafficking attorney to help you get the best result possible if you are charged and to fight for your rights at all times.

What Constitutes Federal Drug Trafficking Under United States Code 21 Section 841?

Federal drug trafficking is an offense that is covered under United States Code 21, Section 241. It states that drug trafficking applies when someone manufactures, dispenses, distributes, or possesses a controlled substance with the intention to further manufacture, dispense, or distribute it. It can also apply if someone does take those actions with the intention to dispense or distribute a controlled substance.

Any substance that is an illicit drug, such as marijuana, methamphetamine, heroin, or prescriptions such as Oxycontin is considered a controlled substance. A counterfeit substance is one that is made to act and appear like a legal, trademarked drug. In those cases, a trafficker might copy another drug to make it appear like people are buying the real thing.

What Proof is Needed for a Federal Drug Trafficking Conviction?

There are certain benchmarks that must be met for the prosecution to earn a conviction in a federal drug trafficking case. For instance, it must be shown that you specifically intended to traffic drugs. You cannot be found guilty if you unknowingly transported drugs.

What Are Some Possible Defenses to Federal Drug Trafficking Charges?

Luckily, there are some possible defenses that a knowledgeable criminal defense attorney can use to represent your case. Depending on the case, here are some of the most common:

Illegal Search: Law enforcement agents illegally searched your property, either without a warrant or there was another circumstance that made it illegal.

Insufficient Evidence: The prosecution must show that you are guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. The evidence must be sufficient enough to prove that you not only did the crime but were aware you were committing the act and intended to do so.

What Penalties Can You Expect from a Federal Drug Trafficking Conviction?

There are several factors that are taken into consideration when determining the sentencing for a federal drug trafficking case. They are:

  • Whether you have been charged with drug-related offenses in the past
  • How many drugs were involved?
  • What type of controlled substance was involved?
  • Whether there was injury or death to another person

Under federal law, controlled substances are categorized into five schedules. They are grouped based on whether they can be used for medicinal purposes, how likely people are to abuse them, and how addictive they can be.

Schedule 1 Controlled Substances Under United States Code 21 Section 812

Marijuana

Marijuana is a very common schedule 1 drug. Although lawful in small amounts for personal use in the State of California, it is still totally illegal under federal law. The distribution of marijuana is punishable for up to 20 years under federal law. For large-scale marijuana trafficking, the penalty can be even higher.

Heroin

If you are convicted of drug trafficking 100 grams or more of heroin, you would likely face a mandatory minimum sentence of 5 years in prison, and the sentence could be higher. Your fine could be up to $5 million. If your actions caused death or serious injury to another person, then the mandatory minimum of 20 years in prison.

If you are convicted of drug trafficking with more than 1 kilogram of heroin, then you would likely face a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years in federal prison, and up to a $10 million fine.

LSD

A conviction for a first-time offense of trafficking 1 gram to less than 10 grams of lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD) will likely net you from 5 to 40 years in prison. Your fine could be as much as $5 million. With death or serious injury, you would face between a 20 year and life sentence.

If you have been convicted of trafficking 10 grams or more of LSD, you would likely be faced with between 10 years and life in prison. The applicable fine is up to $10 million. With death or serious injury involved, that penalty rises to a minimum of 20 years in federal prison.

Fentanyl Analogue

When convicted for a first time with 10 to 99 grams of Fentanyl Analogue, you can generally expect a prison sentence between 5 to 40 years and a maximum fine of $5 million. If someone dies or suffers serious injury, that sentence will be between 20 years and life.”

If you are convicted of trafficking 100 grams or more of Fentanyl Analogue, you can expect a prison sentence between 10 years and life, with a maximum fine of $10 million.

Schedule 1 Controlled Substances Under United States Code 21 Section 812

Cocaine

When convicted for trafficking between 500 to 4999 grams of cocaine, you could face a sentence between 5 and 40 years in federal prison, along with a maximum fine of $5 million. If someone dies or suffers serious injury, the penalty rises to between 20 years and life.

For trafficking more than 5 kilograms of cocaine, the sentence can be between 10 years to life, with a maximum fine of $10 million. If someone dies or is seriously harmed, it becomes 20 years to life.

Methamphetamine

When convicted for trafficking methamphetamine amounts between 5 to 49 grams, you could face a sentence between 5 to 40 years. This comes with a maximum fine of $5 million. If your actions killed someone or caused them serious harm, the sentence becomes 20 years to life in prison.

PCP

When convicted for the first time for trafficking PCP amounts between 10 to 99 grams of PCP, the possible sentence will likely be between 5 and 40 years. The maximum fine is $5 million. If your actions caused someone’s death or caused them serious harm, the minimum rises to 20 years and the maximum to life.

With amounts of PCP of 100 grams or more are involved, the punishment could be between 10 years to life, with a maximum fine of $4 million. If your actions caused someone’s death or serious harm, those limits become 20 years and life.

Schedule III Drugs under United States Code Section 812

For most schedule III drugs, the maximum sentence is five years for a first conviction and a fine of up to $250,000. If you are convicted again, the punishment rises to potentially 10 years, and a $500,000 fine. Schedule III controlled substances tend to be prescription medications, such as ketamine, Didrex, anabolic steroids, phendimetrazine, Tylenol with codeine, and Vicodin.

Schedule IV Drugs Under United States Code Section 812

Flunitrazepam

When convicted the first time for trafficking amounts fewer than 30 milligrams of flunitrazepam, you could face a maximum sentence of 5 years with a fine of $250,000.

When dealing with amounts greater than 1 gram of flunitrazepam, then the maximum punishment rises to 20 years with a fine of $1 million. If your actions caused someone’s death or serious harm, then you will face between 20 years and life in prison.

Schedule V Controlled Substances Under United States Code 21 Section 812

Schedule V drugs come with a possible sentence of 1 year, along with a fine of $100,000 for a first conviction. For a second, the maximums become 2 years and $200,000. Schedule V controlled substances tend to be cough medicines that have codeine or ezogabine in them.

Call Lamano Law Office Right Away!

Don’t take any chance if you or someone you care about has been arrested or may be facing federal drug trafficking charges. You should call a knowledgeable attorney with experience in defending these types of cases. At Lamano Law Office, our criminal law attorneys are dedicated to fighting tirelessly for our clients and defending their rights every step of the way. We will do the same for you. Federal drug trafficking crimes come with very harsh penalties, so get the best on your side.

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