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Protecting the rights of individuals accused of federal drug crimes

Being accused of a violation of federal drug laws is an extremely serious matter. Generally speaking, most drug offenses are criminalized under both state and federal law, meaning that authorities often have the choice whether to bring a case against you in state or federal court. Federal law regarding drug offenses often imposes significant mandatory minimum sentences so, if you are accused of violating federal drug laws, it is important to retain a federal criminal defense attorney as soon as you possibly can.

To schedule a consultation with our federal criminal defense lawyers, call Duffy Law today at 203-946-2000.

A Connecticut federal drug offense attorney providing tenacious representation in drug-related cases

While any federal drug offense is a serious issue, those involving the illicit drug trade tend to be punished much more harshly than those that involve the simple use or possession of a small amount of drugs. Some of the more common of these serious offenses are detailed below:

  • Conspiracy – A conspiracy involves two or more people who agree to work together to commit a crime. To establish that a drug conspiracy existed, the government must show that there was an agreement to violate a federal drug law and that the people involved knew of the agreement and joined it. This is an extremely broad law that can be used to prosecute a wide range of conduct related to federal drug laws.
  • Possession with the intent to sell – Another issue that can make a drug violation much more serious than a case of “simple” possession is whether the person possessing the drugs intended to sell the drugs to others. Because the government cannot directly show the mindsight of a person accused of possession with the intent to sell, intent is generally established by circumstantial evidence. This type of evidence can include the amount of drugs seized or the way in which the drugs were packaged or stored.
  • Sale, distribution, and manufacture – The sale, distribution, and manufacture of drugs are serious offenses under federal criminal law. These offenses may relate to activities such as manufacturing or refining illegal drugs, transporting drugs from place to place, importing drugs from outside of the country, and growing marijuana.

Federal drug possession charges

It’s a violation of federal law to possess any amount of an illegal controlled substance—no matter how small—without a proper prescription or authority. While simple drug possession is most often associated with state criminal court, the number of defendants facing simple possession charges at the federal level has significantly increased in recent years. This increase indicates that federal law enforcement authorities are paying more attention to enforcing drug possession laws and pursuing cases that lack additional charges, such as conspiracy or trafficking.

The most common drugs involved in federal possession cases include:

  • Marijuana (overwhelmingly the most common)
  • Methamphetamine
  • Powder cocaine
  • Fentanyl
  • Heroin
  • Crack cocaine

Many federal possession cases originate at the U.S. border, in airports, or as part of a larger investigation into a drug operation. However, federal authorities can apprehend suspects anywhere, including throughout Connecticut.

Simple possession is a federal misdemeanor for a first offense, with potential penalties including one year in federal prison and a fine of $1,000. A possession charge can be escalated to a felony if you have any previous drug-related conviction, so it’s especially important to aggressively defend against any drug charges to avoid a conviction whenever possible.

Federal drug trafficking cases

Drug trafficking is more commonly charged in federal court, as agencies such as the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) actively investigate and pursue members of complex drug operations and cartels. Trafficking is defined as the unlawful distribution or sale of a controlled substance. Drug trafficking doesn’t necessarily have to involve moving drugs across state lines as often assumed, but more often applies to situations involving large amounts of controlled substances that indicate a larger operation and the intention of selling or distributing the drugs.

The possible penalties for a federal drug trafficking conviction can vary depending on the type and amount of drugs involved, as well as other potentially aggravating factors. Generally speaking, however, federal trafficking penalties will be more serious than if you’d been charged in state court. The following are potential penalties for trafficking more than five kilograms of cocaine or one kilogram of heroin:

First offense – 10 years to life in federal prison, $10 million fine

Second offense – 20 years to life in prison, $20 million fine

Additional offenses – Life imprisonment, $20 million fine

The penalties increase substantially if you’re accused of causing serious injury or death in addition to trafficking. Fines can also increase if a group of people is accused together,rather than a single defendant.

If you’ve already been arrested or charged with federal drug trafficking, then you shouldn’t wait to contact our federal criminal defense team to find out how we can assist. However, even if you only suspect you may be under investigation, having the representation of our highly experienced federal drug crimes defense lawyers can help ensure your rights are protected and that no incriminating statements are made. It’s never too early to have a defense lawyer involved if you believe you’re a suspect in a federal drug trafficking case.

Contact a Connecticut federal drug violations attorney today to schedule a consultation

A conviction for a federal drug crime can involve extremely serious legal consequences for you, including probation, fines, the forfeiture of property, and often imprisonment in a federal correctional facility. For this reason, it is extremely important for you to retain legal counsel as soon as you are accused of violating federal drug laws. Our attorneys have extensive experience as former federal prosecutors, former federal defenders, and former criminal defense investigators, and now they devote their practice to vigorously defending the rights of people accused of criminal offenses. We take a rigorous 360-degree approach to defending the rights of individuals facing Connecticut criminal charges. To schedule a consultation, call Duffy Law in New Haven today at 203-946-2000.

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