While no drug charge is a laughing matter, federal drug crimes are serious business. No matter the type of federal drug charge you face, James Peters is equipped with the knowledge to fight your battle with you and increase your chances of a positive outcome.
Forms of Federal Drug Charges
While the majority of drug charges occurring in Maryland will be dealt with in Maryland state courts, certain charges are deemed to be federal crimes, and as a result, will automatically be removed to federal court. These charges include:
Drug Trafficking, Distribution, Importation, and Transportation
Federal law prohibits a person from selling, transporting, or importing any form of illegal substance. This includes:
- Selling drugs to another person;
- Smuggling drugs into the United States from another country;
- Smuggling drugs out of the United States to a foreign country;
- Transporting drugs across state lines;
- Mailing drugs across state lines
If you are found guilty of any of the above crimes, your sentence may be enhanced if you distribute drugs to a person under 21, sell drugs near a school, or employ a person under the age of 18 to distribute drugs on your behalf.
Conspiracy charges can include conspiracy to manufacture or engage in drug trafficking, as well as possession of drugs with intent to distribute. All that is required to prove a conspiracy charge is that you and another individual agreed to commit a crime and you took a substantial step in furtherance of that crime. If you are charged with a conspiracy drug crime, you can face the same charges that you would if you actually carried out the crime by yourself.
Drug Manufacturing and Cultivation
If you participate in the creation of a drug or illegal substance, you may face federal charges. Activities which can trigger these charges include manufacturing chemical drugs such as heroin, methamphetamines, and cocaine, as well as growing natural drugs such as marijuana and mushrooms. If you are charged with such a crime, the penalties that you may face vary significantly, and are dependent upon the type of drug you manufactured or cultivated as well as the quantity of the drug that you possessed at the time of your arrest.
When it comes to drugs, money is everything--absent the incentive of profiting off of drug sales and manufacturing, there would be no reason to traffic drugs in the first place. As such, those who face drug charges in federal court often face money laundering charges as well. The act of money laundering can be simply explained as a process where a person takes a profit which is "dirty" from being connected with a crime and makes it "clean" by finding a way to make the money appear as if it came from a legitimate, legal transaction. Like other drug crimes, you can face a money laundering charge even if you did not actually profit from the sale or manufacture of drugs, as long as your intent was to make a profit.
Consequences of federal charges/conviction
Unfortunately, when it comes to federal drug charges, there is no easy way to estimate the penalties that you may face other than hiring a good trial lawyer; your potential sentence will depend upon the circumstances surrounding your charge. One thing is steadfast, however; the penalties that you will face for a federal drug crime are far more severe than penalties you would otherwise face in state court. This is due to the sentencing guidelines followed by federal courts. To make matters worse, convictions of federal crimes often carry mandatory minimum penalties. Whereas a judge in state court could take mitigating factors into account and reduce your sentence if he or she chose to do so, federal judges are bound by these sentencing guidelines.
Federal sentencing guidelines essentially utilize a point system to determine the punishment you will face for your charges. The more serious your offense, the more points your charge will accrue, which increases the punishment you will face. Factors surrounding your charge which can affect your sentence in a federal drug charge include:
- The quantity of drugs involved;
- The type of drug you possessed;
- Any prior criminal history;
- Whether a weapon was involved in your crime;
- How much money was involved in your crime; and
- Whether minors were employed or otherwise affected by your crime.
You Need a Lawyer Who is Familiar with Federal Court on Your Side
A federal drug charge is not something that you should try to defend on your own. Even an ordinary criminal defense attorney may be no match for defending a federal drug charge--in such a case, it is critical to find a lawyer who has experience in handling criminal matters on a federal level. The federal guidelines which govern drug charges can stump even a seasoned criminal defense attorney if he or she is not used to appearing in federal court. If you are facing a federal drug charge, it's important to appear in court armed with a criminal defense attorney who is both experienced and comfortable with defending federal charges. You don't simply face a state prosecutor in a federal court case; your opponent is the United States government, which comes to trial fully loaded with experienced attorneys whose sole job is to prove your guilt and punish you for the charge that you face.
Facing a Federal Drug Charge? James Peters is Here to Help
If you are a resident of Maryland who is facing a federal drug charge, you need competent representation from a seasoned criminal defense attorney who knows the ins and outs of defending clients at a federal level. At Peters Law, you can rest easy knowing that your interests are being protected by an attorney with years of experience representing countless clients who have been in the same situation you face today. Don't wait until it is too late to find an attorney you can count on; to take the next step toward obtaining quality legal representation, fill out an online case evaluation form or call (301) 795-8272 today.