One of the most serious drug crimes you can face in the federal criminal justice system is for drug trafficking. This is only one of the possible drug charges. Anyone who is involved in the illegal drug trade should be aware of what it means to face federal drug charges.
A person facing federal charges for drugs is usually looking at longer sentences and harsher penalties than a person who is facing state charges for a similar crime. Several factors impact a criminal case, so you should think about these when you are planning your defense. There are small differences in some charges that can make the difference between more serious charges and ones that are less serious.
Types of drug charges
Drug trafficking charges include importing, selling and transporting illegal substances. Typically, this charge is reserved for a large quantity of drugs.
Selling drugs is another possible charge. It is similar to drug trafficking, but it usually involves a smaller quantity of drugs. The penalties typically aren’t as harsh for this charge.
Manufacturing or delivery means that you are accused of being involved in the production of an illegal drug or that you were a party who was distributing it to others.
Possession of drugs is an accusation that you have a small quantity of illegal substances in an area you control. This is one of the least serious charges that you may face.
Drug paraphernalia charges are due to having items associated with using, making, selling or other aspects of illegal drugs in your possession. Some of these include bongs, syringes and rolling papers. The intended use of the items is considered in these matters.
Examples of harsh penalties
Federal drug trafficking penalties are some of the harshest you will find. A first offense for having cocaine in the amount of 500 to 4,999 grams is not less than five years in prison with an upper limit of 40 years. The same penalty is also possible for 100 to 999 grams of heroin, one to nine grams of LSD, or five to 49 grams of pure methamphetamine.
The mandatory minimum penalty for 5 kilograms of cocaine is 10 years with the possibility of life in prison as the maximum. On a second offense, you are facing a mandatory minimum of 20 years in prison.
For individuals facing these federal drug charges, determining the direction of their defense is a priority. Ensure you are familiar with the federal court system since it is different from the state court system.