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Federal Drug Offenses

Federal Drug Offense Defense Lawyers

Federal drug violations are harsh charges to face, and unfortunately, your case will not be easy. Federal drug prosecutors are known for being particularly tough against drug offenders, and federal court, in general, is an entirely different ballgame. You will need a skilled and experienced federal criminal defense lawyer to fight for you every step of the way. At Eisner Gorin LLP, our attorneys can defend you from any federal drug offense.

Most drug laws are contained in Title 21 of the United States Code. Under federal law, each drug is designated as belonging to one of five “schedules.” Various factors are considered when the DEA determines under which schedule a particular drug should be categorized. Recently, Congress passed the First Step Act, significantly changing sentencing for drug-related crimes.

According to the DEA, some of the factors considered include the drug's actual or relative potential for abuse, scientific evidence of the drug's pharmacological effects, the state of current scientific knowledge regarding the substance, the drug's history and current pattern of abuse, the scope, duration, and significance of abuse, any risk there is to the public health, and the drug's psychic or physiological dependence liability.

After considering all the factors, the drug is categorized into one of the five drug schedules. The schedules are defined as stated below:

Schedule I

  • The drug or other substance has a high potential for abuse.
  • The drug or other substance has no currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States.
  • There is a lack of accepted safety for using drugs or other substances under medical supervision.
  • Schedule I drugs include marijuana and heroin.

Schedule II

  • The drug or other substance has a high potential for abuse.
  • The drug or other substance has a currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States or a currently accepted medical use with severe restrictions.
  • Abuse of the drug or other substance may lead to severe psychological or physical dependence.
  • Schedule II drugs include morphine and cocaine.

Schedule III

  • The drug or other substances have less potential for abuse than those in schedules I and II.
  • The drug or other substance has a currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States.
  • Abuse of the drug or other substance may lead to moderate or low physical dependence or high psychological dependence.

Schedule IV

  • The drug or other substance has a low potential for abuse relative to the drugs or other substances in Schedule III.
  • The drug or other substance has a currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States.
  • Abuse of the drug or other substance may lead to limited physical or psychological dependence relative to the drugs or other substances in Schedule III.

Schedule V

  • The drug or other substance has a low potential for abuse relative to Schedule IV drugs or other substances.
  • The drug or other substance has a currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States.
  • Abuse of the drug or other substances may lead to limited physical or psychological dependence relative to the drugs or other substances in Schedule IV.

Drug Cultivation

According to federal law, it is illegal to grow, sell, distribute, transport, possess, or traffic marijuana. Most federal cultivation cases that involve marijuana are prosecuted as a felony federal drug crime. A cultivating offense includes possessing marijuana seeds, planting seeds, drying the plants, and processing them. Typically, police will charge an individual with cultivation and possession with intent to sell if at least two plants are discovered.

California state law allows marijuana use for medical purposes. However, federal prosecutors can and will pursue criminal charges in a federal court for a marijuana cultivation case.

If convicted, you could face jail time, probation, hefty fines, and asset forfeiture of your personal property. Therefore, speaking with a qualified attorney is in your best interest if you face criminal charges.

Every federal drug cultivation case is unique and requires its defense strategy. Our decades of federal defense law practice have allowed us to develop solid legal techniques to fight on your behalf aggressively. For example, if police conducted an illegal search, it could reduce your charges or even complete case dismissal.

Drug Importation

Federal drug importation is the crime of bringing illegal controlled substances into the United States from another state or country. This federal criminal offense is often connected with drug trafficking, mainly when many drugs are imported from other countries.

Importing methamphetamine, cocaine, marijuana, heroin, ecstasy, prescription drugs, or any other illegal drug is considered a severe federal drug crime. Illegal drug smuggling operations from Mexico are usually complex, using various techniques to bypass border inspection stations.

If federal authorities have arrested you for drug importation, you will probably face felony criminal prosecution in a Federal Criminal Court. Prosecutors will aggressively attempt to secure a conviction and have maximum penalties enforced. A federal drug crime conviction can result in incarceration in a federal prison, hefty fines, and a permanent criminal history.

We have extensive experience helping clients who have found themselves facing federal drug crime charges. From our decades of practice, we have learned how to attack the case presented by the prosecutor. Whether we attack the federal case on the grounds of an illegal search and seizure, violation of constitutional rights, insufficient evidence, or a lack of physical evidence, we will pursue every single legal defense on your behalf.

We are well-known by federal prosecutors and judges due to our frequent appearances in their court. We serve clients in all U.S. District Courts in California, including the Central District of California, and throughout the United States.

Drug Manufacturing

Drug manufacturing means any person who prepares and produces illegal drugs where the drugs are sold to a consumer. It's illegal to intentionally possess laboratory glassware or chemical solvent where the value exceeds $100, with the intent to manufacture a controlled substance, is guilty of a crime.

Federal drug manufacturing criminal charges include growing marijuana, operating a methamphetamine lab, gathering supplies to manufacture drugs, and possessing manufacturing equipment.

Federal prosecutors will aggressively prosecute individuals charged with federal drug crimes. A conviction can result in harsh penalties, and the length of time in federal prison can be twice as long as a conviction for drug possession or drug trafficking.

Your prior criminal record, manufacturing close to a school or playground if you had a weapon, can lead to additional federal crime charges and a more severe penalty. A firearm charge could lead to several more years in prison if it is connected to drug crime charges.

The many years of successful criminal defense have allowed us to develop solid legal strategies that have proven effective in all federal courts in California. We use our knowledge to pursue solutions that minimize the criminal consequences. Refrain from facing federal drug manufacturing charges with a less experienced law firm. We can help preserve your freedom and your record.

Drug Possession

Drug crimes range in severity from state crimes like possession of marijuana or drug paraphernalia to felony crimes such as drug trafficking and drug conspiracy. Certain drug crimes can be prosecuted in federal court.

In California, federal drug crimes include manufacturing, trafficking, smuggling of illegal drugs, and marijuana cultivation. Controlled substances are narcotics, opiates, depressants, hallucinogens, and stimulants. The most common types of drugs involved in drug possession criminal charges include methamphetamine, cocaine, ecstasy, heroin, and prescription drugs.

You must have qualified legal counsel if facing a federal drug crime charge. California Law varies widely between misdemeanor and felony charges and usually depends on the type of drug and quantity seized.

The state of California leads the nation in drug offender incarceration and has seen a massive increase in the number of offenders sentenced to state prisons. If you are convicted of a federal drug offense, it usually results in a mandatory minimum prison sentence.

How this drug crime is charged depends on the type and quantity of the drugs involved and whether the drugs were only for personal use or there was an intent to sell the drugs. Other factors include a prior criminal record, especially a prior drug conviction.

The best legal defense against a drug crime charge is challenging how the evidence was obtained. You have a constitutional right against illegal search and seizures. This means any illegal evidence seized can't be used in court to convict you. However, you will need the legal services of our experienced lawyers to challenge the method the evidence was obtained. If your attorney succeeds, the evidence is suppressed, and the case could be dismissed.

Drug Smuggling

A federal drug smuggling charge is one of the most serious narcotics criminal charges. Any illegal drug can be used in a drug smuggling case. Methamphetamine, marijuana, cocaine, and heroin are smuggled in various amounts. Recently, even prescription drugs have become common in trafficking cases. This could be the result of their availability over the Internet.

Prescription medications such as anti-anxiety medications like Xanax or Valium and painkillers like Oxycontin, Oxycodone, and Vicodin are commonly purchased in large quantities and sold for a profit.

A drug smuggling accusation is often part of a drug conspiracy charge. This means you are accused of committing a federal drug crime with another person. In federal court, the prosecutor may not need you to sell the drugs or that a crime was even committed. They only need to provide evidence that two or more people conspired to commit a crime.

A drug smuggling conviction can lead to imprisonment, large fines, court costs, and probation. A federal drug crime conviction can permanently impact your future and your reputation.

Suppose you or a family member have been arrested or under federal investigation for drug smuggling anywhere in California. In that case, you will need to retain the legal services of a law firm with experience dealing with these types of criminal charges. Our federal criminal attorneys have decades of experience and have a proven track record of successful cases. We serve clients throughout California in all United States District Courts.

Drug Trafficking

A conviction in federal court for drug trafficking can result in a sentence of up to 40 years in federal prison. Federal drug trafficking crimes are covered in Title 21 of the United States Code. The severity of the penalties depends on several factors, including:

  • The type and amount of the drug involved.
  • Evidence of drug trafficking, such as large amounts of cash, weapons, numerous cell phones, and scales.
  • Whether it is your first drug offense.
  • Whether a minor was involved in the drug trafficking.
  • A defendant's criminal history.
  • Whether state or international borders were crossed in the offense.
  • Whether the drugs were distributed to minors or near a school.
  • Whether anyone sustained injuries or was killed in the drug offense.

Even if you are a first-time offender, your sentence could include prison time if convicted. It can also include property forfeiture, large fines, and deportation if you are not a United States citizen. The most common types of drugs prosecuted in federal court include methamphetamine, cocaine, marijuana, heroin, LSD, PCP, and human growth hormone. 21 U.S. Code § 848 defines the crime of continuing criminal enterprise.

If you are under investigation or have already been arrested for drug trafficking, you must immediately speak with a criminal attorney. We have defended hundreds of clients facing serious drug crime charges throughout California. We know how to investigate whether federal authorities violated your Fourth Amendment rights during a stop or search. If a confidential informant was used to collect evidence against you, we know to attack their credibility. We have achieved successful client results over many years of criminal defense law practice.

Certain drug crimes may be considered federal crimes in several different situations. Any drug crime that concerns high volumes or quantities of controlled substances could be viewed as a federal offense. The drug schedule involved in the crime will also affect how the crime will be charged. Schedule I controlled substances have a higher potential for abuse than other drugs and have no medical use, so if the type of drug involved in the crime was a Schedule I substance, the likelihood of it being considered a federal offense increases.

The opioid and prescription drug fraud crisis across the United States has led federal law enforcement agencies to crack down on the sale and distribution of prescription drugs.

Forfeitures and seizures of money and property are typically directly connected to a federal criminal investigation into organized crime, such as drug trafficking and the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO). Federal forfeiture laws are defined under 18 U.S. Code Chapter 46.

Contact Our Federal Criminal Defense Law Firm

Federal drug offenses can carry mandatory minimum sentences if a conviction occurs, and in the federal system, there are limited opportunities for probation and no opportunities for parole. The severe penalties are reason enough to hire a federal crimes attorney. Mandatory minimum sentences require an automatic minimum prison term for certain crimes.

Clients facing federal drug crimes have much at risk, and considering the consequences that can result from a conviction, you will want to go with the most aggressive and skilled attorney you can find. If you are under investigation for a federal offense or have been formally charged with a federal crime, you should not hesitate to contact our federal drug defense law firm to discuss your case. Call Eisner Gorin LLP at 877-781-1570 or fill out an online contact form.

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