Federal Drug Crimes Overview
According to the most recent facts from the Federal Bureau of Prisons, 48.4% of all federal prisoners are serving time for drug offenses. The most common federal drug crimes involve:
- Drug possession
- Drug manufacturing
- Drug trafficking
Certain drug trafficking crimes are currently subject to mandatory minimum sentences. Despite current efforts to reduce drug sentences for non-violent offenders, federal drug crimes can carry stiff penalties. If you have been charged with a federal drug crime, it’s important to understand your rights and to talk to an experienced federal drug crimes attorney.
Possession of Drugs
Possession of certain drugs is illegal under 18 U.S.C. Section 841. Common drugs include:
It can also be illegal to possess certain prescription drugs, particularly if those prescription drugs were not prescribed to you.
Anyone who had anything to do with any part of a drug manufacturing operation can be charged under federal law. This includes even simple things like buying allergy medication like pseudoephedrine for the production of methamphetamines.
Trafficking of Drugs
Drug trafficking is a felony offense, and includes any activity related to the:
- Transporting, or
- Distributing of illegal drugs.
If you are in possession of enough of a controlled substance, you may be charged with drug trafficking, even if you had no intention of selling it. A federal drug trafficking conviction can result in 5-40 years in prison, and up to a $5 million fine for a first offense. Second offenses carry a potential life prison sentence and up to $8 million in fines.
Consequences of a Federal Drug Conviction
Depending on the type of drug, the amount possessed, and the level of offense, a federal drug charge can lead to a wide-range of consequences, including:
- Prison time
- Loss of voting rights
- Difficulty in finding a job
- Loss of the right to own a gun
- Inability to qualify for financial aid for college
Defending Federal Drug Charges
If you have been charged with a federal drug crime, the best thing that you can do for yourself is to contact a criminal defense attorney experienced in defending federal drug crime defendants. A competent criminal defense attorney can review the facts of your case to see if there are applicable defenses for you. Such defenses may include:
- Improper arrests
- Unlawful searches
- Unlawful seizures
Any evidence that is obtained in an improper manner may be suppressed at trial. Additionally, an experienced criminal defense attorney will be able to determine whether the government will be able to prove critical elements of its case. He or she may be able to prove:
- Possession for personal use
- Lack of intent
- Lack of knowledge, or
Under Investigation for Federal Drug Crimes – Next Steps
If you are under investigation for federal drug crimes, avoid talking to investigators or anyone else about the charges until you have consulted with an experienced criminal defense attorney. Anything that you say to someone other than your attorney may be used to incriminate you. Our Albuquerque federal drug crimes defense attorneys are committed to obtaining the best possible outcome for you. Contact the New Mexico Criminal Law Offices online or at 505-200-2982 for a free consultation today.