Federal Drug Charges
Facing criminal charges of any kind can be a stressful experience. There are hundreds of thoughts running through your head and quite frankly it can be pretty scary not knowing what may happen to you. If you have been charged with a drug-related offense it is important to recognize that the charges you face can easily be elevated from the state level to a federal offense. Federal drug charges have stricter penalties than state-level charges. The DEA and FBI take an active role in federal charges and will investigate the matter fully to help federal prosecutors obtain a conviction.
In 1970, the federal government passed the Drug Abuse Prevention and Control Act which outlines federal drug laws. Federal drug charges range from possession, distribution, sale, cultivation, trafficking and manufacturing of various controlled dangerous substances. The severity of the penalties you face will depend on many different factors such as:
• The amount of drugs involved
• Whether you were transporting the drugs across state lines
• The type of drugs involved
• Whether you have any prior criminal or drug-related history
• Whether any person was killed or injured
• Any evidence that will support a conviction such as weapons, large amounts of cash, prepaid cell phones and measuring scales.
What should I do if I am being charged with a drug crime?
Whether on the state or federal level, you should always exercise your right to remain silent and have an attorney present. Remaining silent will protect you from law enforcement agents and the federal prosecutor from gathering information to build a case against you. Remember that anything that you say can and will be used against you in a court of law. Do not discuss your case with anyone except your lawyer.
A lawyer will advocate on your behalf, fight for your rights and make sure you are being treated fairly. It is also important that you tell your attorney the full truth about your case. Information you share with your attorney is privileged and it is crucial that your attorney knows all the facts about your case before he begins building your defense. An attorney will examine the evidence the state may have against you and be able to devise a legal strategy to help minimize the damage and in some cases help you avoid a conviction.
Do I Have To Stay In Jail Until My Trial?
There are several factors a judge will have to consider before releasing you on bond while you await your trial. A bond hearing is usually set within a certain amount of time after your arrest. A judge or magistrate will review a report about the charges, your background and criminal history and whether there are any factors that make you a flight risk in not returning to court. Some factors that can weigh in your favor are: having little to no criminal history, solid community and family ties, employment history and being a US Citizen. A judge will usually raise the bond or deny it all together if you have an extensive criminal history or if there was violence in the present crime. Having a lawyer present during a bail hearing is important because a lawyer knows what information to present to the judge in helping you be released before trial.
What Kind of Defenses Do I Have Available To Me?
If you are arrested on federal drug charges it is likely that the DEA, FBI and local police are all working together with the prosecutor’s office (i.e. the U.S. Attorney) in building a strong case against you. An experienced attorney will know how to raise appropriate challenges in court to keep certain evidence or statements from being admitted into evidence against you. Also, attorneys can determine if the government has sufficient evidence to support a conviction or whether the search and seizure violated your constitutional rights. An attorney can analyze all the evidence that is against you and determine whether law enforcement followed all necessary procedures.
What Are Some of the Penalties If I Am Convicted?
Federal offenses carry harsh criminal penalties from heavy fines and significant jail time. A conviction also will be a part of your criminal record which can affect your ability to obtain college loans, decrease future employment opportunities and prevent you from obtaining a professional license. If you are facing federal drug charges you should not delay in hiring an experienced attorney to fight on your behalf.
If you are arrested or being charged with a drug offense, a lawyer can review the facts of your case and determine whether your constitutional rights have been violated. There are many defense strategies that a lawyer can use to help protect your rights.
Adam H. Rosenblum is the principal attorney of The Rosenblum Law Firm who is licensed to practice in both New York and New Jersey. You can visit his website at http://rosenblumlawfirm.com/