Drug crimes are among the most serious offenses a person can commit. Criminal lawyers deal with these cases every day and come up with aggressive defense strategies for their clients. This is important because, in most states, these types of charges carry severe jail sentences or even the death penalty if proven guilty. Therefore, it is vital to seek the services of competent and experienced criminal drug crime lawyers immediately on suspicion of having used drugs. These drug crime defense lawyers will provide you with a knowledgeable legal team who will review your case files and advise you accordingly on your defense strategy.
Crimes Involving Drugs
Drug crimes are divided into three major categories:
- Drug manufacturing
- Drug trafficking
- Drug consumption
Drug manufacturing generally refers to ingesting controlled substances such as cocaine, methamphetamine, heroin, or other dangerous drugs. These dangerous drugs are usually made in sterile environments and injected for euphoria, relaxation, or anxiety. Drug manufacturing occurs when an individual participates in any step of the manufacturing process involved in the production of an illicit drug. Manufacturing activities may include mixing chemical substances to make acid (LSD) or cooking drugs to produce meth, and making homemade OxyContin pills from prescription medications. Other methods of drug production may include:
- Crushing tablets to make powder
- Manufacturing liquids for such as alcohol, opium, and cocaine
- Making plant materials used in the manufacture of a controlled substance.
Criminal offense charges are filed whenever law enforcement officials find drug manufacturing or related criminal offenses.
Drug trafficking involves the transportation, production, and distribution of these drugs. Also, drug trafficking involves organized criminal groups that commonly transport, produce, and distribute drugs. The federal government has designated several crimes relating to drug trafficking. This includes offenses regarding possession of drugs for personal use, trafficking in drugs, and trafficking across state lines. These laws have been placed into place to curb the violence associated with drug use, and, as such, drug trafficking offenders are sent to prison where they face severe penalties. Those who know the laws on these crimes are not usually put in jail but are given the opportunity to achieve recovery and work their way through drug rehabilitation programs.
Drug consumption includes ingesting controlled substances for non-medical purposes like using as a date rape drug or marijuana or hashish. In line with the increasing criminalization of drug offenses, drug consumption laws have been toughened up in many jurisdictions. Most countries have abolished the death penalty for serious drug crimes.
Drug abuse can be a severe social and economic problem. The increased consumption of dangerous drugs such as cocaine and heroin has prompted governments to take aggressive public communication and public health measures to deter drug use. Drug crimes are increasingly seen as a public health and social concern; however, there are limited resources available to implement public policies that effectively curb drug use and abuse. As a result, many states are taking measures to implement stiffer punishments for drug crimes and other serious criminal offenses, such as those involving heroin or methamphetamine consumption by adults.
Aside from being illegal and immoral, drug offenses are considered to be one of the leading causes of death in the United States. Drug overdose is the leading cause of death related to drug abuse or substance addiction. In most states, drug crimes are punishable by years of incarceration in prison and hefty fines. In the worst cases, a mandatory prison term can mean facing a life sentence if convicted.
The Federal Controlled Substances Act
The Federal Comprehensive Drug Abuse Prevention and Control Act of 1970 is more commonly known as the Controlled Substances Act. The Controlled Substances Act (CSA) places all substances which were in some manner regulated under existing federal law into one of five schedules. Placement on the list is based upon the substance’s efficacy for medical use, the potential for abuse, and safety or dependence liability. United States federal drug laws outline how an individual is treated for violating this Act. The five classes of drugs covered under the Controlled Substances Act are:
- Anabolic steroids
Drug offenses are covered in the Controlled Substances Act or the Controlled Substances Import and Export Act. The firearms and drug-related offenses involve the possession and use of firearms in connection with serious drug offenses and instances in which prior drug convictions trigger mandatory sentences for unlawful firearms possession.
The minimum sentence can range from imprisonment for a year to prison for life. Although the penalties are also mandatory minimum sentences, a defendant may avoid them under several circumstances. Prosecutors may choose not to prosecute. The President may choose to pardon the defendant or commute his sentence. The defendant may qualify for sentencing for providing authorities with substantial assistance or under the so-called “safety valve” provision available to low-level, nonviolent, first-time offenders.
Over time, defendants, sentenced to mandatory terms of imprisonment for drug-related offenses. Courts have concluded that the provisions fall within congressional authority under the following clauses of the Constitution:
Courts have also found no impediment to the imposition of mandatory minimum sentences under the following provisions:
- Due Process
- Equal Protection
- Cruel and Unusual Punishment Clauses
- separation-of-powers doctrine
Fighting Drug Laws with the Help of an Attorney
A lawyer specializing in drug crimes can defend clients charged with drug possession, DUI/DWI, or any other drug offense. However, before a criminal defense attorney can represent a person, they must first be charged with violating the Controlled Substances Act. Breaking this law results. In being charged with any number of federal or state drug crimes, resulting in jail or prison time under the federal mandatory sentencing guidelines, which mean mandatory minimums. Being convicted for breaking federal drug laws can be devastating not only for the accused but his or her family. However, there are current sentencing diversion programs for those addicted to drugs. The possibility of being referred to a drug diversion program increases if the felony drug offender retains a drug crime defense attorney.
Many drug crimes are felonies. The minimum sentence for most first-time drug crime offenders ranges from one year to ten years in a federal prison facility. The resulting punishment for drug crimes may also include fines ranging from five hundred to several thousand dollars. Repeat offenders are typically sentenced to a minimum of three to fifteen years in state or federal prison without the opportunity for early parole.
Drug laws can vary widely state to state and some even by local municipalities. The majority of penalties for breaking federal drug law and committing drug crimes generally depend on several factors, such as:
- The quantity or the amount of a drug;
- The classification of the drug (i.e., according to the schedules); and
- The purpose of the drug possession (e.g., personal or recreational use versus distribution).
The most serious types of illegal drug crimes include:
The intent to distribute illegal drugs can lead to much more serious charges for drug possession.
Hire a Drug Felony Attorney
If a defendant chooses not to retain a criminal defense attorney, the court may appoint an attorney free of charge. Many people are reluctant to hire a drug felony attorney because of the cost involved. But if a mandatory prison time as the result of a conviction for drug crimes is of grave concern, it’s worth it to have a drug defense attorney at your side.
There are many people who have been arrested or charged with criminal drug offenses and often they do not have positive prospects for receiving the best outlook in criminal justice. The unfortunate truth is that over two million people in the US alone have been reported to have used drugs at some point in their lives. If you or someone you know has been arrested or charged with drug offenses, contact a drug crime attorney immediately to discuss your case and how they can help. They will provide expert legal advice and fight for your rights.