FEDERAL DRUG CRIMES
FEDERAL DRUG CRIMES IN WASHINGTON
Drug trafficking and other crimes related to the possession, manufacturing, or distribution of illegal substances are often charged at the federal level, as opposed to the state level. This is especially the case when the charges relate to substantial quantities of drugs or extensive criminal organizations. The importing and exporting of controlled substances are also mostly handled at the federal level.
Those facing federal drug charges must know that there are differences between federal charges and those charged at the state level. The differences really pertain to the nature of federal courts. Some examples here will help. Federal courts have different rules and procedures than those used in state courts. Federal criminal charges often come with harsher penalties. Further, when compared to state courts, federal courts have more prosecutors and judges handling fewer cases. This means conviction rates are higher in federal courts. If you’re facing federal charges in Washington, you must consult with an experienced federal drug crimes attorney for assistance.
PENALTIES FOR FEDERAL DRUG CRIMES
As with penalties for drug crimes charged at the state level, penalties for federal drug crimes will vary depending on the facts of a given case. However, it’s important to highlight a few commonalities among penalties found at the federal level. Some commonalities are below:
- As stated above, penalties for federal drug crimes are more severe than those found at the state level.
- Federal penalties can include extensive jail time and thousands of dollars in fines.
- Federal prosecutors can charge defendants with being part of a conspiracy, which greatly expands their potential criminal liability.
- Many defendants in federal drug cases face mandatory minimum sentences of either 5 or 10 years in prison, based on the type and amount of drugs at issues.
LEGAL DEFENSES TO FEDERAL DRUG CRIMES
Many of the defenses commonly available in federal drug cases revolve around how federal law enforcement agencies obtained the evidence that they are trying to use against you. Officers must generally have a reasonable suspicion to believe that you committed or are committing a crime to stop you on the street or pull you over in your car. They also usually need to have probable cause – a higher level of suspicion – if they want to search your car or home without a warrant. If evidence was obtained without reasonable suspicion or probable cause, it might get excluded from a court’s consideration. Similarly, federal investigators often employ additional techniques such as the use of confidential informants and wiretaps, which require adherence to numerous technical rules. If these rules are not followed, then any evidence gained in their disregard may be deemed inadmissible at court.
Federal drug cases can grow enormously complex. They also can involve very technical legal issues. For these reasons, and many others, it’s imperative to seek the counsel of an experienced federal criminal defense attorney as early in the process as possible. In some cases, a lawyer can help you avoid being charged altogether by assisting in the pre-charge investigation process.
The criminal defense attorneys at Black & Askerov have over thirty combined years of experience in representing defendants at the federal level. They have crafted successful defenses on behalf of numerous federal drug crime clients. Contact them now to get the honest and skillful legal assistance you deserve.