Federal policing agencies get involved in certain types of drug crimes, but in order for charges to be filed in federal court in a drug conspiracy case, there are several factors that must be present. These include sufficient evidence that the conspiracy existed, and that the defendant willingly and knowingly participated in this conspiracy. There is no need to have actually been “hands-on” or to have personally possessed any controlled substances. In fact, you may not have actually committed a drug crime at all, but the authorities believe you were involved in some capacity in planning such a crime.
The majority of these cases involve police informants that have provided information to the federal authorities. When a drug crime case is moving forward in federal court, there is often a round-up of many individuals who they believe had some involvement in the activity. Those that are arrested can gain some level of leniency if they provide information about the involvement of other people, and the pressure put upon these defendants often leads to identifying a number of people who may or may not have been involved. Once these people are named by a defendant in a drug case, or by a confidential informant, the named individuals will be investigated, with their phones tapped and other types of surveillance to gather more evidence in order to indict. Once enough evidence is gathered through this initial investigation, a search warrant is issued, and the federal authorities can aggressively enter your home, office or other location under your control to search for any evidence present.
If you have been unlucky enough to be associated with any person involved in the illicit drug trade, there is a high potential that you will face federal charges for drug conspiracy. If you have not already been arrested and charged, it is likely to occur within a short period of time. Retain counsel immediately if you believe you may be facing federal charges. Getting legal protection early can be critical in these cases. The penalties imposed in a conviction are significant, including mandatory minimum sentences.
Under 21 USC §§ 841(a), 841(b)(1)(A); § 2D1.1, a person convicted of drug conspiracy will face the same penalties as those who are accused of being directly involved in a federal drug offense. The mandatory sentences are triggered by the quantity of the controlled substance in the case. For a mandatory 10-year sentence in a conviction, the case must involve:
For a mandatory 5-year penalty in a federal penitentiary, the case must involve:
The federal government imposes very stiff sentences on drug offenders. Once caught in the federal criminal justice system, the need for quality defense counsel cannot be overstated. It is critical that you engage the services of a federal drug crime defense lawyer that has high level experience, and who will research the facts in your case for any holes or errors that could open the door to a case dismissal. You may have been the victim of false testimony by a witness who was merely seeking leniency, or you may not have been involved at all. Some have faced charges who were completely unaware of the case and but were merely in the wrong place at the wrong time. An immediate investigation into the facts needs to take place so that the correct defensive actions are initiated.
Our lead federal criminal defense attorney, Patrick K. Cafferty, has a 10.0 Superb rating on Avvo and is listed in Best Lawyers in America, as well as being rated as AV Preeminent® by Martindale-Hubbell® and listed in Wisconsin Super Lawyers® for 2008 – 2014. Your case will be handled by a true professional in criminal law. Depth of knowledge and legal skill become extremely important in federal drug conspiracy cases, and the potential for having the charges against you dismissed or reduced will be in large part based upon the skills with which the case is handled by your attorney. Call today to find out more.