Federal Drug Charges
Drug charges in Florida can result in hefty fines and a lengthy prison sentence, but the consequences are more severe if you are charged with a drug crime in federal court.
The United States Attorneys are the prosecutors in federal drug cases and they often have more time and resources to devote to a case. It is critical for anyone being accused of federal drug charges to immediately consult with a knowledgeable criminal defense attorney with proven experience in federal courts.
Attorney for Federal Drug Charges in Treasure Coast, FL
Attorneys at Meltzer & Bell are both experienced and licensed in the U.S District of Southern Florida. Meltzer & Bell will fight to ensure that your rights are protected and will work diligently on your behalf.
We proudly assist clients in Martin and Saint Lucie County. Call Meltzer & Bell today to set up a free consultation.
Overview of Federal Drug Charges in Treasure Coast, FL
The Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) is the federal law enforcement agency that specializes in felony drug crimes. The DEA typically targets large-scale drug crimes such as domestic or international smuggling. However, several other drug offenses could be considered a federal offense. These offenses include:
- Distribution: Delivering, selling or furnishing illegal drugs.
- Possession: This is considered the physical control of illegal drugs. Smaller quantities are classified as simple possession, but larger amounts can be charged as possession with intent to distribute or drug trafficking.
- Trafficking: Drug trafficking is determined by the weight of the controlled substance involved. Drugs don’t have to be transported to be considered trafficking.
- Cultivation: Growing plants like marijuana, psychedelic mushrooms or any other plant used in creating illegal drugs.
- Manufacturing: Opening, maintaining, financing or making available a place for the unlawful manufacturing or distribution of any controlled substance.
- Delivery: Delivering or having the intent to deliver a controlled substance.
- Smuggling: Transporting a controlled substance with the intent to sell or distribute.
- Racketeering: Illegal business activities or obtaining money from criminal offenses such as bribery, laundering, embezzlement or any other form of fraud. This can also include obstruction of justice.
- Fraud: This is related to the illegal possession of prescription drugs.
- Conspiracy: An agreement between two or more people to commit an illegal drug-related crime.
A drug crime can be charged as a federal offense if it occurred on federal property or involved an undercover agent. Also, if drugs were sold to anyone under 21 or in a school zone, it could be a federal offense.
Depending on the type of drug, the amount and if you have been previously convicted, the consequences for a federal offense can be severe. In some cases, you could face several decades in prison and even a seven-figure fine.
Penalties can be doubled if you are over 18 and distributed drugs to people under 21, the offense took place near a school, college or youth facility, or if the offense was within 1,000 feet of a truck stop or highway rest area.
The framework for federal drug penalties is based on the type, schedule, and amount of drugs at issue. This can get confusing since certain drugs have specific punishments that are separate from the punishments for their schedule. It helps to have an experienced, knowledgeable attorney to guide you.
Listed below are the possible penalties you could face for numerous federal drug crimes.
Trafficking: Penalties for drug trafficking vary based on whether this is your first offense, the drug you were smuggling and the amount. If convicted, you could face anywhere from five years to life in prison and pay up to $75 million in fines. Some popular trafficked drugs and their penalties include:
- Heroin: Trafficking less than 100 grams is charged by up to 20 years in prison and one to five million in fines while one kilogram or more is punished by 10 years to life in prison and $10-50 million in fines.
- Marijuana: Trafficking under 50 kilograms of buds or one to 49 plants is punishable by up to five years in prison and $250,000 to $1 million in fines. Trafficking 1000 kilograms or more of bud and 1000 or more plants is punishable by 10 years to life in prison and $10-50 million in fines.
- Methamphetamine: Trafficking 50 grams or more of methamphetamine is punishable by 10 years to life in prison and $10-50 million in fines while trafficking five to 49 grams is punishable by $5-25 million in fines and five to 40 years in prison.
Possession: If you’re found guilty of federal drug possession you could spend anywhere from one to three years in prison and pay up to $5,000 in fines. If you are found in possession of the date-rape drug Rohypnol, you will spend up to three years in prions and pay up to $250,000 in fines.
Racketeering: This federal crime is punishable by up to $250,000 in fines and a prison sentence that can range from 20 years to life.
- Murder: If this offense is involved with any substance, you could face life in prison and up to $250,000 in fines.
- Kidnapping: Kidnapping involving a controlled substance is punishable by up to life in prison and up to $250,000 in fines.
- Serious Injury: If serious injury is caused and a controlled substance was involved, you could face up to 20 years in prison and $250,000 in fines.
Manufacturing: Federal drug manufacturing is penalized by up to 20 years in prions and up to $500,000 in fines.
Smuggling: The punishment for drug smuggling depends on where the drugs are being smuggled and whether or not an aircraft was used. For drugs smuggled into the U.S, or using an aircraft to transport, you could face up to 20 years in prison and $250,000 in fines. Drugs smuggled from the U.S and into another country is punishable by two years in prison and up to $250,000 in fines.
Drug Scheduling– Follow this link to learn more about the drugs, substances and certain chemicals that are classified on the federal drug schedule. The webpage is broken into sections based on the schedule and provide examples of drugs in each category. The schedule can be viewed on the DEA website.
Controlled Substance Act – Read through the act that classifies controlled substances according to schedules and the penalties for drug-related crimes. The act also includes enforcement and administrative provisions.
Lawyer for Federal Drug Charges in Treasure Coast, FL
If you are being investigated for federal drug charges on the Treasure Coast, you should consult with an attorney as soon as possible. Meltzer & Bell is experienced with federal drug crimes and that will fight to achieve the best possible outcome for your situation.
Call Meltzer & Bell today at (772) 291-2534 or submit your information in the contact form to set up a free consultation. We proudly represent clients in communities throughout Martin and Saint Lucie counties.