Federal governments and state governments have their own drug crime laws. Every state, including Texas, enacts its own set of drug crime regulations that are often narrower than federal drug crime laws. Typically, federal drug charges result in harsher sentences than state drug charges. Convictions of federal drug charges in Texas can result in lifetime prison sentences. If you are a Texas resident and you are facing a federal drug charge, finding skilled legal representation is essential. If you are convicted of a federal drug charge, you face serious consequences, such as a lengthy prison sentence, fines, and a permanent criminal record.
At Law Offices of Steven Jumes, we have extensive experience dealing with complex federal narcotics statutes. Our attorneys are trial-ready and have extensive working knowledge of the federal criminal procedure. Contact our Fort Worth criminal defense law firm today to learn how we can help you fight your federal drug charge.
The Controlled Substances Act
The federal Controlled Substances Act regulates the distribution and manufacturer or controlled substances. The law divides drugs into five different schedules or classifications. The lower the schedule number, the higher the potential for abuse. For example, Schedule 1 drugs are the most dangerous and most heavily regulated.
- Schedule 1 drugs include heroin, ecstasy, LSD, and marijuana
- Schedule 2 drugs include methamphetamine and cocaine
- Schedule 3 drugs include ketamine, testosterone, and anabolic steroids
- Schedule 4 drugs include Xanax, Valium, and Ambien
- Schedule 5 drugs include cough suppressants and Lyrica
The penalties for federal drug crimes usually depends on which schedule the drug falls into and the quantity of the drug. Dividing drugs into different schedules or categories makes it easier for prosecutors to bring federal drug charges. If you have been charged with a crime related to a Schedule 1 drug, you are facing serious penalties. Even defendants charged with a schedule 5 drug crime can suffer from the lifetime consequences of a federal drug crime.
Federal Drug Possession Charges
Possessing any amount of an illicit controlled substance is illegal under federal law. Marijuana, cocaine, and heroin are all considered illicit substances under federal law. The two main drug possession charges are that of simple possession and possession with the intent to distribute. Possession of a small amount of illegal drugs could result in a simple drug possession charge. Many times, prosecutors will add on a drug paraphernalia charge to a simple possession charge. When law enforcement officials discover evidence of the intent to distribute the drugs to others, the federal prosecutor could bring a possession with intent to distribute charge.
Federal Drug Dealing Charges
Federal drug dealing charges involve selling illegal drugs. Drug dealers are often individuals who sell drugs on a smaller scale than drug manufacturers or traffickers. The penalty for federal drug dealing is not as severe as other federal drug crimes. The severity of the punishments for federal drug-dealing depends on the type of illegal drug and the amount of the drug sold. Selling less than 50 grams of marijuana can result in up to a five-year prison sentence and a $250,000.00 fine. The sale of 1,000 kilograms of marijuana can result in a prison sentence of 10 years to life.
Federal Drug Trafficking and Distribution Charges
Under federal law, selling, transporting, and importing illegal controlled substances is considered drug trafficking. A drug trafficking and distribution conviction can result in serious penalties. Those convicted federal drug trafficking face a sentence of three years to life in prison. Unlike with simple drug possession, drug trafficking usually involves transporting a large amount of illegal drugs. When law enforcement discovers large amounts of illicit drugs in the defendant’s possession, prosecutors might bring drug trafficking and distribution charges.
Drug Manufacturing and Delivery Charges
The manufacture of illegal drugs is illegal under federal criminal laws. Taking any step in the production process of an illicit drug constitutes drug manufacturing. For example, creating and using a meth lab constitutes drug manufacturing under federal law. A meth lab is defined as any building, structure, or dwelling used to manufacture or “cook” methamphetamines. In 1996, Congress passed the Comprehensive Methamphetamine Act. This federal law does the following:
- Permits law enforcement officials to seizure methamphetamine precursor chemicals such as pseudoephedrine
- Increases the penalties for the possession of equipment used to make illicit drugs
- Increases the penalties for trafficking certain precursor chemicals
- Directed government agencies to create a task force to implement meth prevention
The penalties for federal drug manufacturing charges are serious. Once convicted, federal judges must impose a mandatory minimum drug sentence of at least five to 10 years in prison. The amount of time in the prison sentence increases in proportion to the amount of drugs seized by law enforcement officials. If you have been charged with running a meth lab, it is essential to contact a criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. A conviction for the manufacturing of meth can result in significant prison time and fines.
Federal Drug Paraphernalia Charges
The term “drug paraphernalia” describes the possession of any equipment used to prepare, inhale, inject, or conceal illegal drugs. Possession of any equipment used to hide, produce, or manufacture illegal drugs can also result in a drug paraphernalia charge. Common drug paraphernalia includes the following items:
- Rolling papers
Many Texas residents assume that if a drug paraphernalia item is designed for tobacco use, it is safe. However, prosecutors will still bring drug paraphernalia charges for tobacco products depending on how the item looks and where the defendant purchased the item.
Our Federal Drug Crime Defense Attorneys can Help
Federal drug crimes convictions can seriously negatively affect your life. If you or someone you love has been charged with any type of federal drug crime, we can help. Accessing professional and skilled attorneys can help you fight your drug charge. At the Law Offices of Steven Jumes, attorneys have an in-depth understanding of federal drug crime laws and fight hard on behalf of our clients. Contact our Fort Worth federal criminal defense law firm today to schedule your initial consultation.