Federal Drug Trafficking Lawyer
Drug trafficking is regarded as one of the most serious crimes that a person can be accused of. Due to the rise of drug use and drug-related deaths in the United States, the federal government takes a tough approach to those suspected of selling or distributing drugs. Although drug trafficking is a crime under both state and federal law, the penalties for a federal conviction are generally much more severe and can result in mandatory minimum sentences in prison and huge fines.
If you have been charged with drug trafficking as a federal crime, it is vital that you seek legal assistance from an experienced criminal defense lawyer. Coming up against the federal government without legal assistance is a risk that we do not recommend taking, as it could cost you your freedom and your future. With the help of an experienced attorney, you may be able to negotiate a fair plea bargain to reduce your sentence or get your charges thrown out completely.
At Cannon & Associates, our attorneys have significant experience fighting federal drug charges and we have helped numerous clients get successful outcomes for their cases. Whether it is negotiating a fair plea bargain, investigating your case, or fighting the charges at trial, our lawyers are prepared to do everything we can to ensure a positive outcome for your case. Our lawyers have been ranked among the National Top 40 Under 40 Trial Lawyers, and have consistently high AVVO ratings.
We understand the importance of having a Fierce Advocate when facing federal drug trafficking charges and want to do everything we can to protect your rights and secure a positive outcome.
Call us today to schedule a free consultation at 405-591-3935.
What is Drug Trafficking?
Similar to drug possession, a drug trafficking charge arises when a person is in possession of a controlled substance, such as cocaine, heroin, methamphetamine, or prescription drugs without a valid prescription. The main difference between a simple drug possession charge and a trafficking charge is the quantity of the substance found in the person’s possession, and what they did or intended to do with those controlled substances.
For a drug trafficking conviction, the accused must also have knowingly or intentionally sold, transported, or imported the drugs, or had the requisite intention to deliver or sell the controlled substances for commercial purposes. This means that if you were found in possession of a large quantity of a controlled substance but had not actually sold, transported, or imported the drugs, you can still be charged with drug trafficking. A prosecutor must only demonstrate that you had the requisite intention for trafficking or importing illegal drugs.
A law enforcement officer may charge you with drug trafficking if you were found in possession of drug materials, such as weighing scales, plastic baggies, or large quantities of money. This could be used in the prosecution’s evidence as proof that you had the requisite intention for selling or distributing the illegal drug.
Drug Trafficking as a Federal Drug Crime
Drug trafficking is a crime under both local Oklahoman criminal law and federal law, and can be charged by both state and federal authorities. However, when the crime occurs across state lines, it is typically investigated at the federal level. As such, if illegal drugs are sold, transported, or distributed across state lines, the defendant will be charged under federal law. An individual can also be charged with drug trafficking, or possession with intent to distribute, if they are caught with a large quantity of a controlled substance in their possession over state lines, without having actually sold it.
The main difference with a federal drug crime is that it is investigated and prosecuted by the federal government. The federal government has a number of investigative agencies that are responsible for investigating certain areas of crime, such as the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), and the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). When it comes to federal drug crimes, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) is responsible for carrying out a federal investigation and building sufficient evidence to secure a conviction against the accused.
The DEA, like other federal agencies, has a significant amount of resources to investigate crimes. When investigating a case, they may use wiretapping, undercover agents, and sting operations to try and catch those involved in drug trafficking. Because of this, most cases they bring against defendants are backed with significant evidence, and it is difficult to fight against drug trafficking charges.
When you are charged with a federal drug crime, such as drug trafficking, your case will be tried by federal prosecutors in a federal court. Federal courts are renowned for having an extremely high conviction rate, due to the significant amount of resources prosecutors have access to and certain other factors. As such, it is important to hire drug trafficking attorneys that have significant experience negotiating fair plea deals in federal cases to ensure that you get a positive outcome for your case.
What are ‘Illegal Drugs’ Under Federal Law?
Illegal drugs, or controlled substances, are divided into categories under the Controlled Substances Act, depending on the level of risk they pose to members of the public for harm and addiction. Controlled substances in higher schedules are generally regarded as more serious than lower schedules. As such, drug trafficking charges relating to controlled substances in Schedule I will have more serious penalties than charges relating to Schedule IV drugs.
The highest schedule of drugs with little or no medical benefit and the highest risk to the public. Schedule I controlled substances include heroin, LSD, marijuana, and ecstasy.
High risk of harm and addiction to members of the public with medical use in some instances. Drugs in this schedule include cocaine, methadone, Ritalin, Adderall, methamphetamine, and fentanyl.
Lower risk of harm and addiction, such as ketamine, testosterone, anabolic steroids, and controlled substances with more than 90 milligrams of codeine.
Prescription drugs that are prescribed by doctors frequently however still pose a risk of addiction and harm if unregulated. Examples include Xanax, Tramadol, Ambien, and Valium.
Drugs in this schedule are considered to pose the lowest risk of harm to members of the public however still need to be regulated to prevent addiction and misuse. Examples include Lomotil, Motofen, and Lyrica.
When it comes to drug trafficking cases, there are some illegal drugs that are the subject of frequent investigation and prosecution by federal authorities, such as cocaine, heroin, marijuana, ecstasy, methamphetamine, and prescription drugs. As most of these substances are contained in higher schedules, the penalties for federal drug trafficking charges relating to these drugs can be extremely harsh.
Penalties For Federal Drug Trafficking Charges
As noted previously, the penalties you can receive for federal drug trafficking charges vary significantly depending on the type of substance found in your possession. The penalties will also depend on the quantity of a controlled substance you are charged with trafficking and whether there were aggravating factors, such as the presence of a weapon.
The penalties for federal crimes are typically far more severe than state drug trafficking penalties, as you will be subject to the jurisdiction of the federal court. There are usually federal sentencing guidelines in place depending on the particular substance and you may be subject to a mandatory minimum sentence in federal jail. Potential penalties for federal drug trafficking cases can include:
- Mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years for many drug trafficking convictions. This increases to a minimum of 20 years for more than one kilogram of a controlled substance, and life imprisonment if you have been convicted of more than two felony offenses.
- Fines ranging from $250,000 to $10 million.
- Lengthy probation periods.
- A permanent criminal record.
Federal prosecutors take a tough approach towards those charged with drug trafficking and if convicted, the Judge will be required to impose mandatory minimum sentences. A drug trafficking conviction may result in you spending a long time in federal prison, having to pay extortionate amounts of money to the government, and facing difficulties when you finish your sentence with a criminal record. When coming up against federal authorities, it is vital that you get assistance from a drug trafficking attorney.
Do I Need To Hire a Criminal Defense Attorney?
When it comes to federal drug trafficking charges, the stakes are high. The consequences of a serious drug felony conviction can be extreme, and if convicted, you will be subject to severe penalties such as mandatory minimum sentencing and huge fines. As noted, federal prosecutors are usually equipped with a wide range of resources that makes securing a conviction a lot easier. When it comes to drug trafficking, prosecutors are known to take a tough approach toward alleged offenders.
In addition, the federal court process is significantly different from the Oklahoma state criminal courts. Trying to navigate this process without an experienced criminal defense attorney can be quite difficult. From the get-go, your attorney will need to investigate the drug crimes charges brought against you and try to build a strong defense. Most prosecutors do not want to bring cases to the federal court, which is why negotiating a fair plea deal is essential.
By investigating your case and building a defense on your behalf, your criminal defense lawyer will negotiate with the prosecutor to try and lower your sentence significantly or get the drug trafficking offense charge thrown out. This way, you can try to avoid going to court and facing mandatory minimum sentencing from a trial jury.
In the event that you want to bring your case to court, you will need to hire a strong criminal defense lawyer with significant experience fighting drug crime cases in federal court. Your attorney must have a deep understanding of federal law, have a strong criminal defense built on your behalf, and have the time and resources necessary to ensure that you get a successful outcome for your case.
Defenses For Federal Drug Trafficking Cases
The most important thing for any person fighting against drug crime charges is to have a strong criminal defense strategy. The penalties for a federal drug trafficking conviction are severe, and the only way to get these penalties reduced or potentially get your drug trafficking charges thrown out is to have a strong criminal defense for your case. The attorney that you hire for your case should build up a strong defense strategy based on the facts of your case, the evidence at hand, and their skills as a criminal defense attorney.
Some defense strategies they may use include:
- Insufficient evidence – Your attorney may argue that the prosecutor lacks sufficient evidence to secure a conviction for drug trafficking. Depending on the circumstances, they may lack sufficient physical evidence or may not have enough to prove a drug trafficking charge.
- Illegal search – If law enforcement officers or the DEA carried out a search on your property, they must have had a valid legal search warrant obtained by a Judge. If this search warrant is illegal or invalid, your attorney can use this as a defense for your case.
- Lack of intent – To be convicted of drug trafficking, you must have had sufficient intent to distribute or sell the drugs. If the prosecution does not have enough evidence or means to prove this intent, they cannot convict you of the federal charges.
- Breach of constitutional rights – Arresting officers and investigators are required to respect your constitutional rights at all stages of the federal case against you. If your attorney discovers that there has been a breach of your rights, they can use this to get your criminal charges thrown out.
- Entrapment – Your attorney may be able to argue that you were the victim of entrapment by federal agencies and that the criminal charges brought against you lack sufficient legal basis.
A skilled attorney will need to investigate your case thoroughly, examine the evidence brought against you, consult with witnesses, and have a deep understanding of federal criminal law to build a strong defense for your case. Contact one of the federal drug trafficking attorneys at Cannon & Associates today to discuss what type of defense strategy may be available for your case.
Contact a Federal Drug Trafficking Lawyer at Cannon & Associates!
If you are facing serious federal drug charges for trafficking in Oklahoma, you are probably extremely worried about what could happen. Drug trafficking charges are among the most serious federal charges you can be accused of. The consequences of a federal drug crime conviction are serious, and you could be looking at severe penalties, such as a lengthy prison sentence, huge fines, and a permanent criminal record for federal drug crimes.
The only way to successfully fight against a federal drug trafficking charge is to hire a strong criminal defense attorney with requisite experience in federal criminal law. At Cannon & Associates, our criminal defense attorneys have the experience and skills that you need to ensure a positive outcome in your federal drug trafficking case. The lawyers in our law firm have won multiple awards for their dedication to clients’ cases, and our founder, John Cannon, is a top-rated criminal defense attorney by Super Lawyers.
Our lawyers will thoroughly investigate your case, build a strong drug trafficking defense, negotiate with the prosecutor to get a fair plea bargain or get your charges dropped completely and fight aggressively on your behalf in a federal court if necessary. Our priority is ensuring that your legal rights are protected and that your entire life is not impacted by a federal drug trafficking conviction.
When it comes to federal drug crime cases, experience is essential. Our law firm has what it takes to fight your federal drug trafficking case and get the best possible outcome for your case.
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