Federal Drug Crimes

Federal Drug Crimes Defense Lawyer

In the 1980s the Federal Government declared war on drugs…this changed the face of how Federal Drug Crimes would be dealt with for decades to come.  The “just say no” to drugs slogan has had a deep impact on federal drug crimes across the nation for many years.  We are attorneys that understand the history of federal drug crimes and can protect you now and into the future.

We understand the devastating impact a conviction for federal drug trafficking can have on you, your family and your loved ones.  We have handled thousands of federal drug cases for our clients over the many years that we have practiced federal criminal defense.

We have won case that basically determined whether our federal clients ever emerged from prison again.  Because have handled so many federal narcotics cases we have the uncanny ability to direct our clients in the right direction.  When it comes to federal narcotics cases…one false move can cost you your life in federal prison.

I have given you the ability to see who the federal criminal defense attorneys are that will represent you, if you have a federal narcotics charge pending against you and everything is on the line.  We are so confident in our abilities that wanted you to see us face to face and hear our powerful message.  Schedule an absolutely confidential consultation with us immediately.

When Do Drug Charges Become Federal Crimes?

Federal drug charges usually involve large quantities of drugs, prescription fraud, conspiracies involving several people, large dollar amounts, and weapons. Interestingly enough, however, many cases involving these components have been prosecuted at the state level. In general, the Feds are better equipped to handle more serious drug cases that involve higher levels of sophistication and interstate transportation.

Federal drug charges are accompanied by mandatory minimum sentences. For example, if someone is found in possession of cocaine or fentanyl but has no prior criminal history, they could still face a 10-year mandatory minimum sentence of 85 percent. The federal crime of Continuing Criminal Enterprise (CCE) primarily targets large-scale drug traffickers participating in extensive drug conspiracies. 

When it comes to investigating and proving cases, the Feds are very thorough, and as a result, they build strong cases against defendants. In addition, the Feds spend significant amounts of time and money on their investigations, so they will want a result that will compensate them for that cost. If someone is facing a federal drug charge or knows they were part of a drug conspiracy—even if they only played a very small role—they should immediately obtain an attorney.

With every federal drug case that I handle, one of the first things I consider is whether or not the search and seizure was conducted lawfully. As citizens, we have a right to be protected against unreasonable searches and seizures by the government.

We have a Fourth Amendment right to privacy. An individual who believes their rights have been violated should hire a federal criminal defense lawyer who will be able to challenge any unwarranted or unlawful act by the government.

Could My Federal Drug Case Ever Be Reduced To A State-Level Charge?

State-level charges are often elevated to federal-level charges, but rarely are federal-level charges reduced to state-level charges. If the latter were to occur, it would probably be because the defendant was cooperative with the federal government, perhaps by helping them to prosecute others who were involved in the commission of the same or similar crimes.

The federal government has established certain mandatory minimum sentences based on the type and amount of drug involved, weapon involvement, and prior drug-related convictions. Each of these factors will affect the penalties that a convicted individual will face.

Drug charges are often associated with tax evasion and money laundering charges because someone who obtains money illegally is more likely to have it laundered and less likely to report it as income to the federal government. The government needs to know about money that someone gives or receives, and will typically get a portion of it.

If someone avoids giving the government their portion of money in a transaction, the government will arrest, prosecute, and attempt to obtain that money from them. The IRS will get involved and do everything possible to get their money back, which includes filing tax evasion charges in order to freeze a person's bank accounts and seize and forfeit their money.

Racketeering charges arise when people band together in a group and conspire to commit a criminal act. People are much more dangerous when they are part of a larger group, and oftentimes lives end up being lost, people get threatened, more damage is done, more money is obtained, and more drugs are moved.

Big drug cases usually involve racketeering charges and the use of force, violence, and threats so that large amounts of drugs can be moved without anything being stolen. It is not uncommon for drug dealers to get robbed, and the government is aware of this. If someone wants to properly defend themselves against these types of charges, it is their responsibility to obtain the best possible criminal defense attorney.

How Will I Know If Charged With A Federal Or State Drug Charge?

In general, the FBI, the US Secret Service, or ICE agents will arrest people for federal-level drug charges, and local authorities will arrest people for state-level drug charges. In some cases, both state and federal authorities will work together on a case, particularly when a drug sweep is necessary. If someone has been arrested for a federal-level crime, their case will proceed in federal court in the location where the crime was committed. If someone has been arrested for a state-level crime, they will be taken into state custody and their case will proceed in state court.

I Have Just Been Charged With A Drug Charge In Federal Court. How Serious Is This?

There are mandatory minimum sentences for federal drug charges, such as drug manufacturing, drug conspiracy, that range from five to 20 years in prison, so to receive a federal drug charge is a very serious matter. Anyone who has been charged with a federal drug crime should immediately obtain a federal criminal defense attorney and speak to them about the amount of drugs that were seized, whether or not a weapon was seized, and how many people are involved in the case. In some cases, several people will be indicted and prosecuted for a single drug crime.

What Happens After I Am Arrested By The Federal Government And Indicted On A Drug Charge?

Once someone has been arrested by the federal government on a drug charge, they will appear in federal court and be presented with the indictment and charges. If a defendant does not or cannot obtain an attorney, then one will be appointed to them.

At the first hearing, it will be determined whether the defendant will be held in custody or eligible to post a bond. A person who is in federal custody cannot obtain a bail bondsman; they will remain in custody, post a property bond, or get a signature bond.

A signature bond is signed by the defendant or a defendant's family member and serves as a promise to pay a certain amount of money if they fail to appear in court. Alternatively, a judge could decide to release a defendant on certain conditions. At some point, a defendant will appear for a post-indictment arraignment to be read the charges, enter a plea, and have a judge assigned to their case.

If I Am Waiting For A Trial On A Federal Drug Charge, Can I Be Released From Jail Beforehand?

A person can be released from custody while waiting for trial on a federal drug charge. Most people want to fight their case from the outside, and it is helpful for attorneys when clients are not in custody. Ultimately, the decision will be up to a federal magistrate who will listen to the defendant's attorney and prosecutor and review the defendant's criminal record.

If it is determined that the defendant is a flight risk, then they will be detained. If it is determined that the defendant can be released on certain conditions, then they will be released and able to fight their case from the outside. A person who has been accused of a federal drug crime needs to obtain an attorney who can put forth a strong defense that will provide the best chance of a positive outcome.

There are two branches of the federal government that get involved with federal drug cases: the criminal division and the forfeiture division. If federal agents seize money which they believe are proceeds from the selling of drugs, then they will forfeit that money. An individual must have a legitimate reason for having the money in the first place in order to prevent that money from being forfeited.

In deciding whether or not to work with the Feds, an individual will want to carefully weigh the pros and cons of doing so. In most cases, the Feds will want someone to cooperate with them by testifying against other defendants involved with a RICO drug case, and this is something that can be dangerous.

Any time I am working with a client who is considering working with the federal government, I help them consider the benefits and drawbacks and ensure that if they choose to cooperate, they will receive a significant benefit.

One way to avoid incarceration in a federal drug case is by cooperating with the federal government. There is also an option referred to as a safety valve, which can help defendants who meet certain requirements get below the mandatory minimums and have one point shaved off their guideline range.

In addition, there are other options for avoiding incarceration—all of which should be discussed between a defendant and a federal criminal defense attorney who is familiar with their background and criminal case.

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Hedding Law Firm is committed to answering your questions about Federal Criminal Defense issues in Los Angeles and Encino California. We'll gladly discuss your case with you at your convenience. Contact us today to schedule an appointment.