Federal Drug Crime Attorneys

Some people don’t know the differences between state and federal crimes. State crimes are when people break the law at the state level; federal crimes are when people break the law at the federal (nation-wide) level.

A federal charge is typically harsher than a state charge, which means you don’t want to be charged at the federal level. To help you steer clear of federal charges, SRC Law Group, LLC has gathered some examples of federal drug crimes.

National Association Criminal Defense Attorneys
National Association Of Distinguished Counsel
Super Lawyers recommended criminal defense law firm
National Association Criminal Defense Attorneys top ranking attorneys
AVVO top federal crimes attorney
The National Trial Lawyers top 100 lawyers
AVVO rating 10 top criminal defense attorney

Schedule I and Schedule II Controlled Substances

Federal drug crimes include distributing, exporting, importing, manufacturing, possessing (regardless the intent to distribute), or using controlled substances. Controlled Substances Act listed under Schedule I and Schedule II, include the following drugs:

  • Adderall
  • Cocaine
  • Codeine
  • Demerol
  • Ecstasy
  • Fentanyl
  • GHB
  • Heroin
  • LSD
  • Marijuana
  • Methadone
  • Methamphetamine
  • Methaqualone
  • Methylphenidate
  • Morphine
  • Oxycodone (OxyContin)
  • PCP
  • Psilocybin mushrooms
  • Vicodin
  • Ritalin

Examples Of Federal Drug Crimes

If someone manufactures, distributes, dispenses, or possesses an exorbitant amount of drugs, he or she may face federal charges.

For example, distributing the following number of drugs will result in federal charges:

  • 500 or more gms of cocaine;
  • 40 or more gms of fentanyl;
  • 100 or more gms of heroin;
  • One or more gms of LSD.

However, federal drug charges stem from more than crimes involving large quantities of drugs.

Circumstances that Create Federal Charges

Federal drug crimes are typically regular drug crimes mixed with federal involvement. For example, if an FBI agent was the one to make an arrest for possession, the charge against the accused would likely become federal because a federal agent is the one who made the arrest.

Similarly, if an FBI informant gives information that leads to a person’s arrest, it’s likely going to be a federal charge due to the use of federal resources.

Lastly, if people commit crimes on federal land, they will likely face federal charges. Therefore, if someone is arrested for drug possession in a national park, prosecution will come at the federal level.

What Makes a Drug Crime a Federal Offense?

When someone is charged with a drug crime, they are likely to be prosecuted in a federal court.

There are many reasons why this happens.

Many crimes are routinely prosecuted under local or state law. Drug crimes are different. It is common for these offenses to end up being prosecuted at the federal level. The legal statutes covering drug offenses in state and federal laws are similar. Many wonder why drug crimes are most often charged in a federal court rather than a state court. There are many reasons why this happens.

Every state has its own drug laws, but the federal government has its own established drug laws. We examine what makes a drug crime a federal offense, and why the declaration should matter to the accused.

When Is a Drug Charge a Federal Offense?

The first thing to note is that the severity of the offense is rarely the determining factor of whether the drug charge will go to federal court. The federal government can prosecute anything from simple possession to massive trafficking operations, so the severity of the crime doesn’t necessitate if the charge is a federal offense.

However, there are a few things that can label a drug charge as a federal crime.

Federal Agencies

People are often more likely to be prosecuted for a drug crime as a federal offense and not as a state-level offense because the investigations and arrests are more often done by a federal agency. Should someone be arrested and charged with a drug offense at the border or as part of a sting operation carried out by the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) or Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) or other federal agencies, they will be charged and tried in a federal court.

Federal Informant Named the Suspect

If a federal informant names the suspect, then the accused’s crimes could be prosecuted at the federal level. Federal criminal charges follow a straightforward rule; if federal resources (including a federal informant) are used to find and arrest the suspect in question, the federal government has the right to prosecute the accused.

Federal Officer Made the Arrest

Following the same ideology of the federal resources rule, if a federal officer arrests a suspect, then the suspect can be prosecuted at the national level. The federal arrest doesn’t necessitate that the case will be prosecuted at the federal level, it only means that the federal government has the right to prosecute.

The Crime Occurred on Federal Property

When someone breaks the law on federal property, the crime is technically committed on federal lands, giving the federal government the right to prosecute. Therefore, if you smoke weed in a national park, you could face drug charges at the federal level.

Priorities of Federal Law Enforcement

A top law enforcement priority established by the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) is to combat the nation's opioid crisis. This is the reason people charged with crimes involving oxycodone, heroin as well as fentanyl are going to be charged and prosecuted in a federal court. The DOJ has been given executive mandates and has changed its focus over time to address this crisis. Anyone arrested and charged with crimes involving other forms of drug activity and drugs is also more highly likely to be prosecuted in federal court.

Insufficient State or Local Government Resources

There are often cases where a local or state prosecutor's office does not have sufficient funding to handle a case involving drugs correctly. A local or state prosecutor may have too many cases to handle. They may not have the mechanisms in place to secure the evidence necessary to obtain a conviction. In many of these situations, the local and state prosecutors will refer their drug cases to the DOJ.

Prescription Drugs

Any use of a prescription drug that involves no valid medical reason is usually prosecuted as a federal offense. The reason is that all the regulations associated with prescription medication are at the federal level. Since prescription drugs are classified as a controlled substance, the crimes involving them will be given to the DOJ.

Various Other Reasons

A state may willingly (or willingly) relinquish the right to prosecute a suspect to the federal government for a variety of small reasons that have nothing to do with boundaries and the use of federal agents. For example, a state may lack enough resources to prosecute a sophisticated criminal offense. In this situation, the state may willingly hand over the case to the federal government to prosecute.

In other situations, a federal prosecutor may request jurisdiction for a case to crackdown on a specific problematic area, or because the case-in-question relates to another federal criminal case. Additionally, state and federal officials can sometimes agree to have a state relinquish jurisdiction for any reason should the two entities agree.

Charged with a Federal Drug Crime?

If you or a loved one is charged with a federal drug crime, SRC Law Group, LLC can help! We have decades of experience defending federally prosecuted suspects, and our hands-on approach may be exactly what your case needs.

Penalties for Federal Drug Convictions

Shows like Narcos follow the rise and fall of powerful drug lords and their empires. While many of these kingpins end up six feet under, some are extradited to the United States for trials under federal law. This begs the question: just how serious are the penalties attached to federal drug convictions?

Penalties for Federal Drug Possession

Unsurprisingly, penalties for federal drug convictions are typically worse than state-level convictions.

A simple drug possession conviction at the federal level will result in the following penalties:

  • imprisonment for up to a year; or
  • a minimum fine of $1,000; or
  • both penalties.

A simple marijuana possession charge in Kansas will result in a Class B nonperson misdemeanor charge. A Class B nonperson misdemeanor conviction could result in the following penalties:

  • imprisonment in county jail for up to 6 months; or
  • a maximum fine of $1,000; or
  • both penalties.

As you can see, the penalties for a simple federal drug possession conviction could result in nearly twice the prison sentence of the state’s equivalent conviction.

Drug Trafficking Penalties Depend on Circumstances

Moving drugs across state lines could result in federal drug trafficking charges. The potential penalties for trafficking convictions are impacted by the type and quantity of trafficked drugs.

For example, trafficking more than a kilogram of heroin could result in at least a decade of imprisonment, but trafficking less than a kilogram but more than 100 grams of heroin could result in at least five years of imprisonment. There’s a big difference between a minimum sentence of five and ten years.

Serious Penalties Need Serious Representation

As you can see, federal drug penalties are severe; however, our criminal defense attorneys have participated in more than fifty jury trials and hundreds of bench trials in federal and state courts. If you or a loved one are accused of federal drug charges, you want experienced federal representation on your side.

Drug Crimes Across State Lines

There are many types of drug crimes, including but not limited to the possession, distribution, and sale of drugs. While the circumstances of the supposed crime will impact potential penalties for the accused, one circumstance is worse than most others: drug crimes across state lines.

What Is a Drug Crime Across State Lines?

A drug crime that crosses state lines is when the crime that’s committed involves more than one state. For example, let’s assume someone traffics drugs. If the person goes to a distributor in one state, and brings the drugs into another state, then he or she has committed a drug trafficking crime that has crossed state lines.

Why Are Drug Crimes Across State Lines a Big Deal?

When someone brings drugs from one state into another state, he or she has now committed a crime in both states. Unfortunately, that means both states have the right to prosecute the person for the same crime. However, typically speaking, both states will give up their right to prosecute to allow the federal government to prosecute the crime on their behalves.

Reasons why someone accused of a drug crime doesn’t want the federal government to prosecute the charge:

  • The federal government typically has more resources to prosecute the accused;
  • Federal convictions are typically worse than state convictions;
  • Federal charges are more serious than state charges.

Accused of a Drug Crime That Crossed State Lines?

If you or a loved one is charged with a drug crime that crossed state lines, you’ll want tested federal representation for your case. SRC Law Group, LLC has decades of experience helping those accused of federal drug crimes, and therefore, you can trust our firm to defend your rights.

Defenses to Federal Drug Crime Charges

United States Code Title 21 creates the provisions which form our federal drug laws. These charges can be extremely intimidating due to their national nature and the elevated, life-changing penalties a conviction can levy. However, you shouldn’t lose hope; a number of defenses exist that could be the key to you being cleared of charges. You should seek the assistance of a skilled Kansas City drug crimes attorney with federal court experience, who can work together with you to determine whether any of these common drug crime defenses apply to your case.

Common Federal Drug Crime Defenses

The simplest drug crime may also have the simplest defense: if you did not know about the presence of drugs on you or in your home, car, or other space, then you are not actually guilty of drug possession. Say you borrowed your friend’s car to run an errand, were pulled over, and police conducted a search of your car and found drugs hidden under the passenger seat. You and your attorney can argue you did not know about the presence of the drugs, which is a valid defense in federal court.

Sale to an Informant

It’s not uncommon for law enforcement officers to go undercover when trying to take down a large drug operation. In some cases, however, they go too far. Depending on the circumstances, they may try to compel you to do something you wouldn’t otherwise have been predisposed to doing and then arrest you for it. This is known as entrapment, and proving it can get the charges levied against you dropped in many cases.

Conspiracy

Federal drug laws make simply conspiring to commit a drug crime, such as sale, possession, or manufacturing, a punishable offense. This is a slippery slope for many cases because prosecutors don’t actually need physical evidence to levy these charges against you. These cases are hard to defend, but a skilled attorney can work to prove that you were not actually conspiring to commit a drug crime. It’s strongly recommended you don’t face these charges alone.

Illegal Search

In order for police to be able to perform a legitimate search, they must either obtain your permission or get a warrant that has been signed by a judge. In order to obtain a warrant, police must present a valid case for what they believe they will find, where they plan on searching, and when they plan on performing the search. Sometimes the information used to obtain the warrant may be “stale” or exaggerated, which would mean the warrant was obtained under false pretenses. If your attorney can demonstrate that any evidence acquired from a search where the warrant didn’t have a legitimate base, the evidence against you could be suppressed and your case dropped.

Canine Search

If you were searched using a drug-sniffing dog, you actually may have a better chance of having your charges dropped than you might think. Drug dogs must be handled in a very specific way. A dog’s record when it comes to success finding drugs goes a long way in proving its reliability, and if its handler was not properly trained or improperly followed procedures, evidence against you may have been found without establishing probable cause. Discuss your case with an attorney to see if any of these provisions apply to you.

If you are facing federal drug crime charges, SRC Law Group, LLC can help! We are a widely-recognized law firm that has been ranked in the Top One Percent by the National Association of Distinguished Counsel.

Federal Drug Diversion Investigations

Drug diversion involves the transfer of prescription drugs from the person legally receiving the substance to another person for illicit use. This federal drug crime is often typically aimed at medical professionals.

Whether you have been contacted by a federal agent or been subpoenaed, being investigated for federal drug diversion can be a stressful, scary, and confusing situation. Rather than navigating the legal process in the dark, you should understand what to expect and take legal action to protect your reputation, rights, and future.

Fighting the opioid epidemic is a top priority for federal law enforcement.

The White House declared a national public health emergency on the opioid epidemic in 2017. This means federal law enforcement agencies are prioritizing drug diversion cases and aggressively targeting healthcare providers (e.g. doctors, nurses, pharmacists, and even business owners) who have contributed to the epidemic.

The investigation may involve multiple federal agencies.

Although the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) primarily enforces U.S. drug laws, the government’s battle against drug diversion can include the Federal Bureau Investigation (FBI), the Department of Justice (DOJ), and the Office of Inspector General (OIG).

A conviction for federal drug diversion is punishable by harsh penalties

When medical professionals divert prescription drugs, they face federal charges. According to the Controlled Substance Act (CSA), drug diversion carries a maximum 10-year federal prison sentence and a fine not exceeding $250,000

In addition to federal drug diversion, medical professionals can be charged with other federal crimes.

Common federal crimes include healthcare fraud, wire fraud, mail fraud, money laundering, and conspiracy.

There are many “red flags” may lead to an investigation.

Common examples include opioid prescriptions in high volume, scarce amount of patient records, lack of in-person patient exams.

Do not interact with federal authorities.

It is a huge mistake to answer any questions from federal agents without first obtaining legal advice. Other mistakes include destroying medical records and continue engaging in illegal prescription practices.

As soon as you are contacted by federal authorities or learn you are being investigated for federal drug diversion, it is important to hire an experienced federal crime attorney. At SRC Law Group, LLC, we have nearly three decades of combined legal experience protecting our clients from federal charges in Kansas.

LEARN ABOUT YOUR LEGAL OPTIONS
Take the next step and request your free consultation with a Kansas City criminal defense attorney.