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Detroit Federal Drug Lawyer

If you’ve watched the Netflix TV show Orange is the New Black, you probably have caught that federal drug crimes are serious business. Many of the women portrayed on the show are serving years-long sentences for relatively minor drug crimes. The main character, Piper, is serving a 15-month sentence just for transporting money for a drug transaction without actually touching any drugs. The stories of the other women show how a sentence for a federal drug offense can ruin a person’s life and tear families apart.

The U.S. government has had a policy of tough prosecution of drug offenses going back decades. Billions of dollars are spent nationwide each year by law enforcement agencies on the local, state, and federal level to combat drug crimes. Many locations have multi-agency task forces that may spend years infiltrating and investigating drug cartels or drug trafficking operations. Those investigations also may scoop up individual drug users, who then may face harsh penalties for possession under federal drug laws.

If you’re charged with any kind of federal drug offense, you may face life-altering consequences that include:

  • A lengthy sentence to a federal prison that may be far from your home and family
  • Expensive fines
  • A permanent federal criminal record that can affect whether you’re able to find a job, or could cause you to lose your job
  • Loss of eligibility for financial aid to pay for your college degree
  • Immigration consequences that may include loss of your green card or immigration visa, denial of your application for American citizenship, or deportation to your native country

Federal drug crimes are prosecuted in federal courts. In Michigan, a case would be tried either in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan, or the Western District of Michigan, depending on where in the state you were arrested. The prosecutors are U.S. attorneys employed by the federal Department of Justice.

Federal courts have their own sets of rules that are different from state courts. When you’re charged with a federal drug offense in Michigan, it’s important that you hire a skilled Detroit drug crimes lawyer who has a track record of successfully representing people charged with federal drug crimes and handling cases in federal courts in front of federal judges.

Common Federal Drug Charges

Similar to state drug laws, the United States Code includes a range of offenses that can be charged as federal drug crimes. The most common categories of federal drug offenses include:

  • Possession — This offense typically includes knowingly having an illegal controlled substance, or a legal substance such as narcotic pain medicine but without a valid prescription, on your person or within your ability to take immediate possession.
  • Possession with Intent to Distribute — If you possess a large enough quantity of a drug to indicate that it wasn’t just for personal use, you may be charged with possession with intent to distribute. Possession with intent to distribute is a form of drug trafficking charge, and can carry harsh penalties if you’re convicted.
  • Cultivation or Manufacturing — Cultivation or manufacturing can involve activities such as growing marijuana plants, making meth, processing heroin or cocaine, or even acquiring the ingredients or equipment to cultivate or manufacture a drug. Cultivation and manufacturing also are forms of drug trafficking and are punished severely under federal law.
  • Distribution and Trafficking — Distribution and trafficking involves delivering, providing, selling, or transporting a controlled substance.
  • Continuing Criminal Enterprise — A continuing criminal enterprise basically is a drug operation like a cartel.
  • Conspiracy — Conspiracy is the charge applied to activities that surround or support drug trafficking. In the Orange is the New Black example above, Piper was charged with conspiracy for transporting drug money.

However, there are many more types of drug charges detailed in the U.S. Code. If you have questions or want to understand the charge you’re facing, or that a family member is facing, a qualified Detroit federal drug lawyer can explain your charge, the possible outcomes, and what to expect in court.

Federal Drug Sentences

The system of penalties for federal drug offenses is incredibly complex. Penalties tend to be based on the amount of drug in your possession, the type of drug, and whether you have prior drug convictions. Many federal drug offenses are punished with harsh mandatory sentences, even for a first offense. Just a small sample of mandatory sentences for federal drug crimes includes:

  • 5 Years — Mandatory minimum sentence for a first basic offense for trafficking in 100 grams or more of heroin, 500 grams or more of cocaine, 28 grams or more of crack, 10 grams or more of pure PCP, 100 grams or more of a PCP mixture, 1 gram or more of LSD, 100 kilograms or more of marijuana or 100 or more marijuana plants, 5 grams or more of methamphetamine, or 50 grams or more of a meth mixture.
  • 10 Years — Mandatory minimum sentence for a second or subsequent basic offense for trafficking in 100 grams or more of heroin, 500 grams or more of cocaine, 28 grams or more of crack, 10 grams or more of pure PCP, 100 grams or more of a PCP mixture, 1 gram or more of LSD, 100 kilograms or more of marijuana or 100 or more marijuana plants, 5 grams or more of methamphetamine, or 50 grams or more of a meth mixture.
  • 20 Years — When a death or serious bodily injury is involved, this is the mandatory minimum sentence for a first offense for trafficking in 100 grams or more of heroin, 500 grams or more of cocaine, 28 grams or more of crack, 10 grams or more of pure PCP, 100 grams or more of a PCP mixture, 1 gram or more of LSD, 100 kilograms or more of marijuana or 100 or more marijuana plants, 5 grams or more of methamphetamine, or 50 grams or more of a meth mixture.
  • Life — When a death or serious bodily injury is involved, this is the mandatory minimum sentence for a second or subsequent offense for trafficking in 100 grams or more of heroin, 500 grams or more of cocaine, 28 grams or more of crack, 10 grams or more of pure PCP, 100 grams or more of a PCP mixture, 1 gram or more of LSD, 100 kilograms or more of marijuana or 100 or more marijuana plants, 5 grams or more of methamphetamine, or 50 grams or more of a meth mixture.

The mandatory minimum sentences increase when trafficking involves higher quantities of a drug.

  • 10 Years — Mandatory minimum sentence for a first basic offense of trafficking in 1 kilogram or more of heroin, 5 kilograms or more of cocaine, 280 grams or more of crack, 100 grams or more of pure PCP, 1 kilogram or more of a PCP mixture, 10 grams or more of LSD, 1,000 kilograms or more of marijuana or 1,000 or more marijuana plants, 50 grams or more of methamphetamine, or 500 grams or more of a methamphetamine mixture.
  • 20 Years — Mandatory minimum sentence for a second offense of trafficking in 1 kilogram or more of heroin, 5 kilograms or more of cocaine, 280 grams or more of crack, 100 grams or more of pure PCP, 1 kilogram or more of a PCP mixture, 10 grams or more of LSD, 1,000 kilograms or more of marijuana or 1,000 or more marijuana plants, 50 grams or more of methamphetamine, or 500 grams or more of a methamphetamine mixture.
  • 20 Years — When a death or serious bodily injury is involved, this is the mandatory minimum sentence for a first basic offense of trafficking in 1 kilogram or more of heroin, 5 kilograms or more of cocaine, 280 grams or more of crack, 100 grams or more of pure PCP, 1 kilogram or more of a PCP mixture, 10 grams or more of LSD, 1,000 kilograms or more of marijuana or 1,000 or more marijuana plants, 50 grams or more of methamphetamine, or 500 grams or more of a methamphetamine mixture.
  • Life — When a death or serious bodily injury is involved, this is the mandatory minimum sentence for a second offense of trafficking in 1 kilogram or more of heroin, 5 kilograms or more of cocaine, 280 grams or more of crack, 100 grams or more of pure PCP, 1 kilogram or more of a PCP mixture, 10 grams or more of LSD, 1,000 kilograms or more of marijuana or 1,000 or more marijuana plants, 50 grams or more of methamphetamine, or 500 grams or more of a methamphetamine mixture.
  • Life — This is the mandatory minimum sentence for any third offense for trafficking in 1 kilogram or more of heroin, 5 kilograms or more of cocaine, 280 grams or more of crack, 100 grams or more of pure PCP, 1 kilogram or more of a PCP mixture, 10 grams or more of LSD, 1,000 kilograms or more of marijuana or 1,000 or more marijuana plants, 50 grams or more of methamphetamine, or 500 grams or more of a methamphetamine mixture.

There are a number of other federal drug crimes that are punished with mandatory minimum sentences under the U.S. Code. An experienced Detroit federal drug lawyer look at the circumstances of your charge and explain what type of sentence you might face if convicted — and your options for fighting the charge and trying to get it dismissed or reduced.

Defending Federal Drug Charges

When you are charged with a federal drug offense, the entire weight of the U.S. government is against you. That can be an overwhelming situation in which to find yourself. However, with the help of a good Michigan drug crimes attorney, the situation isn’t hopeless. A skilled defense lawyer who understands the nuances of federal drug laws and how cases are investigated and prosecuted can help. You may have many options for fighting your charge that a qualified attorney can explain.

Charged with a drug crime? Contact us today.

Your initial consultation will always be free and confidential. Call today or fill out the form below and we will help you.

Attorney Maurice Davis