Federal agents routinely arrest individuals who they suspect to be involved in drug trafficking either across state lines or into the United States from other countries.
Federal drug charges carry some of the most severe penalties, and many of the crimes within this umbrella require mandatory minimum sentences upon a conviction, meaning a Judge can’t sentence you to probation despite mitigating factors. As such, your defense against federal drug crimes is of the utmost importance and an experienced NYC Drug Lawyer can help.
Trafficking in Schedule I or Schedule II drugs (cocaine, heroin, fentanyl, LSD, and PCP) is punishable by a mandatory 10-year prison sentence upon conviction. Drugs that fall into these categories are highly addictive and have a significant potential for abuse. Trafficking charges for Schedules III, IV, and V drugs, such as codeine, could result in a one to five-year prison sentence and up to $500,000 in fines for a first offense.
Under 21 U.S.C. §§ 841(b)(1)(a) and 960(b)(1) trafficking the drugs listed above in specific quantities can result in a prison sentence from 10 years to life. Alternatively, pursuant to 21 U.S.C. §§ 841(b)(1)(b) and 960(b)(1)(2), different quantities may call for a sentence of five to 40 years in a federal prison.
The federal sentencing table as it relates to drug crimes is expansive, and numerous enhancements are typically sought out by prosecutors to bolster your guidelines and increase your prison time. Recently, much emphasis has been placed on offenses related to the possession and trafficking of fentanyl, and specific enhancements apply where an overdose is suspected to be directly connected to the sale of fentanyl or other controlled substances.
On the state level, accusations of drug possession, manufacturing, and sales can be just as severe and result in significant prison time. Pursuant to New York State’s Major Trafficker statute, the Special Narcotics Prosecutor in New York City is authorized to bring certain charges against individuals who specifically sell massive quantities of drugs and who generate substantial profits. Codified by New York Penal Code § 220.77, the prosecutor must generally show that you acted as a director or profiteer of a controlled substance organization which sold drugs valued at $75,000 or more within a specific time-period.
Beyond this statute, individuals may be prosecuted under various subsections of New York Penal Law § 220, ranging from first degree to seventh degree drug crimes, and classified from Class “A” level felonies down to misdemeanors.
Given the expansive nature of state and federal drug statutes, many avenues and gaps exist for your attorney to implement strategic and sound defenses. Frequently, issues will exist surrounding the precise quantities of drugs confiscated, your specific role, if any, within a drug trafficking organization, as well as potential defenses by way of entrapment, necessity, intent, or knowledge.
If you are being prosecuted for either state or federal drug crimes, and whether it be for the sale, possession, trafficking, or manufacturing of a controlled substance, hire a former prosecutor and seasoned defense attorney who has dealt with these charges on both sides of the courtroom. Being charged with a drug crime is extremely serious and can have a lasting impact.
What your defense attorney does in the face of these accusations, by way of investigation and creative advocacy, will both increase your chances of successfully walking away from these accusations and shape the rest of your life.
The sooner you put your case in the hands of an experienced criminal defense lawyer, the more likely your matter will end favorably.