Federal Drug Conspiracy Defense Lawyer
Do you need a federal drug conspiracy defense lawyer? The Law Offices of Christopher Chaney represents clients charged with serious drug offenses. Call us for representation.
Federal Drug Conspiracy Defense Attorney
Federal authorities take drug conspiracy allegations seriously. Mandatory sentences have been adopted to keep drug traffickers off the streets. Some drug conspiracy convictions may result in life imprisonment, impacting one’s life and freedom.
A federal drug conspiracy is an agreement between individuals to commit federal drug crimes. The severity of punishments for drug conspiracy offenses is a significant challenge for those involved.
Consider hiring a criminal defense attorney from the Law Offices of Christopher Chaney if you have been charged with a federal drug conspiracy and need a federal criminal attorney to represent you.
What Is a Federal Drug Conspiracy?
A federal drug conspiracy is an agreement made knowingly by two or more persons to violate a federal drug statute. To obtain a conviction, the prosecutor must demonstrate:
- Two or more persons reached an agreement to violate a federal drug statute.
- Everyone in the conspiracy was aware of the deal and agreed to it.
Prosecuting drug crimes depends on the following:
- Quantity of drugs found
- Types of unlawful drugs in question
- Individuals involved and whether the case involves multi-state activity.
Serious drug crimes traded in higher amounts are prosecuted federally, as are drug crimes with multiple participants across state lines.
Although the core concept of drug conspiracy is vast, it may be divided into four major categories.
Four Categories of a Federal Drug Conspiracy
- Manufacturing a controlled substance: Growing, processing, and extracting illegal narcotics is defined as manufacturing a controlled substance.
- Importing a controlled substance: Importing a controlled substance entails introducing illicit narcotics into the United States.
- Distribution of a controlled substance: Transmitting illegal narcotics to another person is called the distribution of a controlled substance. It is not necessary to exchange money for drugs for it to be considered distribution of a restricted substance.
Any mode of distribution qualifies, including the so-called online pharmacies which use forged prescriptions to distribute illicit medications to recipients.
- Possession of a controlled substance with the intent to distribute: Possession refers to arresting someone who has an illicit narcotic in their possession. Further trouble arises when the prosecutors try to prove that such individuals had intended to sell or distribute the narcotics found in their possession.
The quantity of narcotics found in the defendant’s possession can be used as evidence of a drug distribution conspiracy.
The Three Primary Elements of Federal Drug Conspiracy
The crime of drug conspiracy has three main elements:
- There must be an agreement between people to violate a federal drug law.
- The parties must have intended to commit the crime. Federal law enforcement must prove that each conspirator knew of the unlawful agreement and joined in.
- There must be an act to execute the agreement.
The crime of conspiracy is different and distinct from the underlying crime. In other words, a person can be prosecuted and convicted in federal court for the underlying crime and for conspiracy to commit that crime. Let’s examine these elements in more detail.
Agreement to Commit a Crime
Under 18 U.S. Code § 371, a drug conspiracy is an agreement between two or more people to commit a crime. The main element of a conspiracy is an agreement. The prosecutor must prove the existence of this agreement beyond a reasonable doubt.
Intention to Commit a Crime
The state must prove that the person had a specific intent to commit the conspiracy’s objective.
Assume an accused has unknowingly assisted other perpetrators in committing a crime. The necessary intent is lacking, and he cannot be found guilty of conspiracy to commit.
An obvious example is when somebody drives a truck containing illegal controlled substances. The driver drives across state lines to complete a drug deal. The federal agents are tipped off, so they stop and search the truck. If the driver had no knowledge of the contents, there is no intent on his part to commit the crime. He cannot be convicted due to his lack of intent.
Act to Execute the Agreement
A conspiracy requires a member to commit overt acts. These acts could be direct actions. Direct actions include showing up at the drug deal or selling narcotics. Indirect actions include providing another member with the necessary information. Or assistance to further the success of the conspiracy.
In a drug conspiracy charge, it is a valid legal defense that the defendant abandoned the conspiracy before the actual crime. A defendant who abandons the conspiracy will not be responsible for future crimes committed by the remaining members.
Penalties for Federal Drug Conspiracy Charges
Federal sentencing guidelines can be severe. You may receive a mandatory minimum sentence in federal prison on a conviction of federal drug conspiracy crimes. This ranges from 5 years to life imprisonment in a federal prison, depending on the type of drug and the quantity involved.
Additionally, penalties for a drug conspiracy conviction can include hefty fines ranging from $1 million to up to $10 million.
Drug Conspiracy Defense Strategies
Drug conspiracy charges are serious. Consider consulting with an attorney when charged with drug conspiracy. We can assess any potential defense strategies available to you.
Every case is different, and it may be possible to have charges reduced or even withdrawn depending on the facts of your case. Possible defenses include the following:
- You were not involved in any agreement to commit a crime.
- You lacked the required intent to commit the crime.
- Federal drug conspiracy prosecution evidence was illegally obtained. This could have been through illegal search and seizure or entrapment. The judge will refuse to admit the evidence in such cases.
- You withdrew from the conspiracy and did so before the crime took place. You have to show that you took affirmative steps to withdraw.
How an Experienced Criminal Defense Attorney Can Help
The services of a skilled criminal defense attorney may be helpful in a federal drug conspiracy prosecution. They can assist you by doing the following:
- Assessing your case
- Creating a solid defense
- Safeguarding your rights
- Negotiating plea bargains
- Representing you in court
- Arguing for fair sentencing
How the Law Offices of Christopher Chaney Can Help
Our responsibility is to assess evidence and dispute the prosecution’s case. We are tasked with leading you through the legal procedure to increase the chances of obtaining an optimal result. This could be an acquittal, a reduced sentence, or even a favorable plea agreement.
It is your right to defend yourself against criminal charges. We have a team of criminal defense lawyers who can assist you in putting together a strong defense. Contact us to schedule a free consultation today!