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California Federal Drug Charges

With the harsh penalties for federal drug crimes, it is essential to avoid conviction altogether with the help of an experienced Fresno defense attorney. Fresno criminal defense attorney Michael McKneely understands the burden of a California federal drug charge and realizes how crucial it is to intervene early in a case. Mike will work tirelessly to find the defense that works best in your case so that your charges are reduced or dismissed, if possible.

In modern times, being convicted of federal drug charge carries dire consequences. In 1971, the war on drugs was announced. This led to the expansion of federal drug agencies and established severe penalties for federal drug crimes. Despite being criticized as one of the least effective campaigns in history, the war on drugs has led to seemingly low-level crimes being punished mercilessly, with mandatory minimum sentences and the potential for decades spent in federal prison.

Call Michael McKneely, Criminal Defense Lawyer at (559) 443-7442 for a free consultation.

What Separates Federal Drug Crimes from State Drug Crimes

In the United States, most drug crimes are punishable under both state and federal law. The most severe offenses and those investigated by federal law enforcement officers are the ones most likely to be charged in federal court.

According to the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), a drug crime will typically be charged at the state level, unless:

  • The crime takes place on federal property
  • An overt or undercover federal agent makes the arrest
  • The crime involves the trafficking and distribution of large amounts of drugs
  • Drugs are being sold or manufactured
  • The offender is turned in by a federal informant
  • State and federal governments agree that a case should be tried at the federal level

Some crimes that can be charged at the federal level include:

  • Simple drug possession
  • Drug manufacturing
  • Conspiring with those who possessed drugs
  • Drug trafficking
  • Selling to minors

Penalties for Federal Drug Charges

While the penalties for any drug related crimes are serious, those imposed in federal court are the most severe. Many federal drug crimes have mandatory minimum sentences, meaning that the prison sentence cannot be lower than a certain number of years, even if the judge is inclined to reduce the sentence due to favorable circumstances. Common sentences for federal drug crimes include, but are not limited to:

  • Trafficking Marijuana (1000 kilograms or more) – Mandatory minimum of 10 years, but no more than life in federal prison
  • Trafficking Marijuana (100 to 999 kilograms) – Mandatory minimum of 5 years, but no more than 40 years in federal prison
  • Trafficking Marijuana (50 to 99 kilograms) – No more than 20 years in federal prison
  • Trafficking Heroin (100 to 999 grams) – Mandatory minimum of 5 years, but no more than 40 years in federal prison
  • Trafficking LSD (1-9 grams) – Mandatory minimum of 5 years, but no more than 40 years in federal prison

Aggravating factors or those that will increase the sentence include the presence of a weapon, whether someone was harmed, and a previous criminal record.

Defense Against a California Federal Drug Charge

With the help of a knowledgeable and experienced criminal defense lawyer in Fresno, many strategies may be available to protect your rights. In these scenarios, the charges may be reduced to crimes that carry less severe consequences. To speak with a Fresno criminal defense attorney from Michael McKneely, Criminal Defense Lawyer today about a California federal drug charge you or someone you know may be facing. Call (559) 443-7442.

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