Federal law treats drug trafficking crimes very seriously. If convicted, you could face decades to life in prison. As a result, it is critical that you enlist the legal support of an experienced professional who is deeply familiar with the federal trial process. The Miami drug trafficking lawyer at Frank Schwartz, P.A. has taken more than 100 cases to federal court and will work directly with you on your defense from beginning to end.
Elements of a Federal Drug Conspiracy
Under federal law, drug trafficking crimes are governed by laws relating to drug conspiracy, which refers to an agreement between 2 or more people to commit a drug crime. Note that to prove a crime of drug conspiracy, the prosecution must prove that there was an agreement between 2 or more people to violate a federal drug law and that all the alleged conspirators knew of the unlawful nature of the agreement.
Federal law addresses 4 types of drug crimes:
- Manufacturing a controlled substance – production, processing, preparation, or extraction of a controlled substance (e.g., growing a marijuana plant, pressing pills)
- Distributing a controlled substance – delivering a drug to someone, even if there is no money involved
- Possessing a controlled substance with the intent to distribute it – a person had an intent to distribute the drugs in their possession; evidence could be prior drug sales, possession of equipment such as scales and baggies, the amount of drugs in someone’s possession (e.g., 5 pounds of marijuana could result in a charge for intent to distribute marijuana)
- Importing a controlled substance – importation (trafficking) of illegal drugs into the U.S.
Penalties for Federal Drug Convictions
The sentences for federal drug-related convictions will depend on the type of drugs and amount involved in the offense. For instance, individuals could face the following sentences based on these factors:
- 5-40 years in prison – 100 kilograms or more of a substance containing marijuana, 500 grams or more of a substance containing cocaine or 28 grams or more of a substance containing crack cocaine, 5 grams or more of a substance containing methamphetamine, 100 grams or more of a substance containing heroin
- 10 years to life in prison – 1000 or more kilograms of a substance containing marijuana, 5 or more kilograms of a substance containing cocaine or 280 grams or more of a substance containing crack cocaine, 50 grams or more of a substance containing methamphetamine, 1 or more kilograms of a substance containing heroin
- up to 20 years in prison – no quantity of drugs specified
In cases where someone dies or is seriously injured as a result of the drug conspiracy, the government may issue enhanced penalties. They may also increase the prison sentence for individuals who have prior felony convictions for drug offenses.
Note that 21 U.S.C. § 853 establishes that the government can seize and keep any property and money in a person’s possession that was obtained, directly or indirectly, through a drug offense or any property used to facilitate such an offense.
Defending Drug Trafficking Charges in Florida
If you have been accused of committing a federal drug trafficking crime in Miami, do not hesitate to contact the Miami drug trafficking lawyer from Frank Schwartz, P.A. immediately for legal guidance. We could argue you were entrapped by law enforcement or there was an illegal search, for instance. We understand how serious federal drug crimes are and will handle your federal defense with the attention and tenacity you deserve.
Frank Schwartz is a Miami attorney who concentrates his legal practice in the area of criminal defense. Mr. Schwartz is proud to have established a highly successful and effective criminal defense trial practice in South Florida.