An arrest for a federal drug charge can have a substantial impact on a person’s life. Federal drug charges often result in severe penalties that can follow a defendant around for the rest of their life. For example, a convicted drug offender may have issues with finding employment or even finding housing. If you were arrested and charged with a federal drug crime, you should consult with an experienced Philadelphia federal drug charge lawyer. The Law Office of Lloyd Long is here to provide you with the aggressive legal representation that you deserve for your criminal case. We are committed to giving our clients a unique representation based on the specific circumstances of their case. Criminal defense lawyer Lloyd Long is here to explain the most common types of federal drug charges in Pennsylvania.
Common Federal Drug Crimes in Pennsylvania
Federal drug crimes often carry many of the same elements of state drug crimes. However, if a defendant is being prosecuted on the federal level, it often means they will be subjected to mandatory sentences and increased penalties if convicted. In some cases, a defendant may even face state and federal charges for drug crimes. The following is a list of common federal drug crimes in Pennsylvania.
Federal Drug Possession
Federal drug possession laws are covered under 21 United States Code (USC) §844. Under this code, it is illegal for a person to possess a controlled substance without a prescription. Controlled substances are identified by the Controlled Substance Act of 1970. Drugs are divided into five categories referred to as “schedules,” depending on the potential for abuse and the medical uses for the drug. For example, the federal government still considers marijuana as a drug that has no medical use, despite many states decriminalizing the drug or clearing it for medical use.
It is also important to note that the amount of drugs found in a person’s possession and previous convictions can affect the grade of offense imposed upon a defendant. Ordinarily, violation of this criminal statute can result in up to one year in prison and $1,000 of criminal fines. If a defendant is convicted of this offense twice, they can be sentenced to a maximum of two years in prison. These penalties can be increased if a defendant is found in possession of a drug like Rohypnol or a similar drug.
Additionally, civil fines for drug possession could be imposed even if the federal government does not seek prosecution for a drug possession offense.
The trafficking of drug paraphernalia is also a federal crime. Drug paraphernalia are items that are used to prepare and even distribute drugs like needles, straws, zip lock bags, and other items. If a defendant is convicted of a federal offense for the trafficking of drug paraphernalia, they can be sentenced to a maximum of three years in prison and criminal fines.
Drug trafficking is one of the most common types of federal drug crimes. Drug trafficking occurs when an offender prepares to distribute or distributes controlled substances. An offense for drug trafficking is dependent upon the type and weight of drugs held by an offender. For example, if a defendant is found guilty of trafficking 500 grams of cocaine, they can be sentenced to at least five years in prison to a maximum of 40 years in prison. Other controlled substances that can result in a maximum 40-year sentence for drug trafficking:
- 28-279 grams of cocaine base
- 40-399 grams of fentanyl drug mixture
- 100-999 grams of heroin
This is not an exhaustive list. Additionally, if trafficked drugs cause a person to suffer serious bodily injury or result in a person’s death, a defendant will receive a sentence of at least 20 years.
Second offenses for the sale of the above drugs can result in a penalty of at least 10 years to a possible life sentence.
There are various other federal drug offenses that are not discussed above. Our firm recognizes the difficulty of being charged with a federal offense for drug trafficking, and we can help you weigh your defense options.
Other Penalties Caused by a Federal Drug Trafficking Conviction
Drug trafficking convictions can lead to a number of other legal issues for a convicted felon. For example, if a defendant was convicted of a federal offense, they will be unable to receive federal benefits. This means they will be denied financial aid for school, grants, and other similar benefits.
Additionally, a conviction for a federal drug offense will result in the forfeiture of personal property and real estate. Specifically, property and real estate purchased with money made from drug trafficking can result in that property being seized if a defendant is found guilty. There are various other impacts a drug conviction can have on a person’s life. Our firm understands the full implications of a federal drug offense conviction, and we are here to defend you.
Contact Our Experienced Pennsylvania Drug Crime Defense Attorney Today
If you or a family member was arrested and charged with a federal drug offense, consult with an experienced Philadelphia criminal defense attorney today. Criminal defense attorney Lloyd Long possesses a broad range of experience litigating complex criminal cases, and he is prepared to work with you. You do not have to fight your federal drug case alone. Contact the Law Office of Lloyd Long at (215) 302-0171 to schedule your free legal consultation. You can also use our online submission form to contact the firm online.