Federal Drug Trafficking
Drug trafficking is considered to be the most severe and punishable offense for the illegal sale of drugs. Being charged with a federal crime can be an intimidating experience. This is something you should not have to endure alone. Our federal criminal defense lawyers at Russell Mace & Associates, P.A. have defended hundreds of individuals charged in federal drug trafficking indictments, receiving numerous favorable results. We have the skill, knowledge, and resources necessary to develop a strong defense and get you the most favorable outcome possible.
Drug Trafficking Generally
Drug crimes can take a variety of forms such as, trafficking, manufacturing, conspiracy, simple possession, etc. Drug trafficking involves the movement of illegal drugs or controlled substances from one location to another with the intent to unlawfully sell, distribute, or deliver. It can occur within a state’s borders, across different states, or from the importation of illegal drugs into the country. A federal indictment will usually be issued when the trafficking involves movement across state borders because it is considered to be an effect on interstate commerce.
Some types of illegal drugs associated with drug crimes include:
• Cocaine • Cocaine Base (“Crack”)
• Heroin • Methamphetamines
• Marijuana • LSD
• Ecstasy (MDMA) • GHB
• PCP • Steroids
These controlled substances are divided into schedules, and the penalties vary depending on the amount and the classification. Possible penalties associated with these types of drugs can be found on the Drug Enforcement Administration’s website.
There are several factors that may affect your drug trafficking case and the severity of the penalties you may face. These factors include, but are not limited to: (1) the amount and type of drug(s) involved; (2) whether there were injuries to others during the offense; (3) whether you are an adult or minor; (5) whether there was a weapon involved; and (5) your prior criminal history. Depending on the type and amount of drugs involved, a defendant may even be subject to a mandatory minimum sentence. Statutory mandatory minimums can range from five years to life imprisonment depending on the circumstances of the case. An attorney may only provide you with reasonable estimates as to the amount of prison time you may be facing. Ultimately, the federal judge will always impose the sentence he or she deems appropriate.
However, the key to understanding the possible penalties involved is through the United States Sentencing Guidelines. The two most important factors in sentencing are the defendant’s offense level and the defendant’s criminal history. A defendant’s offense level is determined through the Guidelines. The Guidelines will recommend a certain offense level by taking into consideration the type and amount of drugs involved and the nature of the crime generally. The offense level will vary depending on the circumstances involved in a particular case. The higher the offense level, the higher the penalties will be. Additionally, a defendant’s prior criminal history will also play a role in determining their sentencing range. Prior criminal history along with the offense level is documented in something called a presentence investigation report (“PSR”). Basically, the U.S. probation officer will conduct a presentence investigation of the defendant. After the investigation is complete, the probation officer must submit the PSR to the court at least seven days before sentencing. The federal judge will review the PSR in order to calculate a defendant’s Guideline’s range by considering the defendant’s offense level and criminal history within the Sentencing Table. The greater a defendant’s criminal record, the more likely he or she will be subject to increased penalties. Both the prosecution and the defendant have the opportunity to object to the PSR if it contains any errors. For this reason, it is vital to hire a good federal defense lawyer to assist with these charges. If you are being sentenced, it is very important that your attorney identify any errors with the PSR immediately so that you are not given enhanced penalties for those errors.
Federal Drug Trafficking Attorney
You have the right to decide how to proceed with your case. Whether you want to go to trial or begin plea negotiations, our federal criminal defense lawyers represent you through every stage in the process. Our trial attorneys are aggressive and will do their best to ensure you are thoroughly represented. We believe that everyone deserves the best defense possible, and we have the knowledge and experience to provide just that. We have attorneys available to represent you in federal court in Charleston, Columbia, Florence, Greenville, and several other jurisdictions. We also have federal criminal defense lawyers licensed not only in South Carolina, but Florida, Georgia, and New York that have years of trial experience in federal court. The federal rules are often confusing and overly complex, and it takes a lot of experience in the practice to ensure that an individual charged with drug trafficking is provided with all possible defenses and arguments. Some of our attorneys have been practicing in the criminal field for over fifteen years, and can help and guide you through every step of the criminal process. If you or a loved one has been charged with a federal trafficking crime, contact one of our federal defense attorneys for a free consultation at 1-800-94-TRIAL or contact us online.