Los Angeles Federal Drug Charge Defense Lawyer
What are Federal Drug Charges?
Most drug offenses in California can be prosecuted by either the state or federal government, as they are illegal under both state and federal law. Generally, the federal government has the option to choose which drug offenses it will pursue. The federal government is most likely to prosecute drug crimes that:
- Took place on federal property or used federal services such as the U.S. Postal Service;
- Crossed state lines or involved importing drugs into the country (known as “drug trafficking”);
- Involved large quantities of a controlled substance; OR
- Were investigated by a federal agency such as the FBI or the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA).
If the federal government decides to investigate you on drug charges such as manufacturing or drug trafficking, you can be sure you will face severe penalties. You are also likely to be charged with other federal crimes, including money laundering, conspiracy or racketeering, for which you could receive additional jail time.
You will need help from a Los Angeles federal drug charge defense lawyer who will aggressively fight these serious charges. The Law Offices of Adrian M. Baca has over 30 years of experience defending clients against both state and federal drug charges. We work tirelessly to help our clients avoid the worst consequences of a federal drug investigation.
What are the Penalties for Federal Drug Crimes?
As with other federal crimes, most judges rely on federal sentencing guidelines to determine the penalties for federal drug crimes. Penalties for federal drug crimes under the sentencing guidelines will vary based on the type and amount of substances involved in the alleged crime, but most federal drug crimes have mandatory minimum prison terms. For example, if you are convicted of federal possession of 1 kg of heroin or 5 kg of cocaine, you may be required to serve a minimum of 10 years in federal prison, even for a first conviction.
Special penalties apply to the importation or trafficking of drugs from outside the United States. The penalties for violating federal drug trafficking laws depend on the amount and type of drug, whether serious bodily injury or death occurred in conjunction with the trafficking, and whether you have prior drug-related convictions. For example, if you are convicted of trafficking more than 50 pounds of marijuana (or more than 51 marijuana plants), you could be subject to a fine of at least $50,000 and serve five or more years in a federal prison. In addition to lengthy prison sentences and substantial fines, you could also be subject to other penalties such as the seizure of your property and other assets obtained from illegal trafficking activity.
Defenses to Federal Drug Charges
Defenses to federal drug charges are the same defenses that may be available if you are prosecuted on drug charges at the state level. These include:
- The evidence against you was obtained through an illegal search and seizure.
- The crime lab analysis was faulty or illegally tampered with.
- The testimony of federal agents against you was flawed or fabricated.
- The drugs at issue belonged to someone else.
- You were not aware that you were involved in illegal drug activity.
It is not uncommon for federal investigators to make mistakes or even purposely fabricate evidence to make their case against you. A knowledgeable and experienced defense attorney will be able to exploit these mistakes for your benefit.
Get Help from a Los Angeles Federal Drug Charge Defense Lawyer Today
If you are the subject of a federal drug investigation or facing federal drug charges, you should contact a Los Angeles federal drug charge defense lawyer as soon as possible. An experienced defense attorney understands how these cases are investigated and prosecuted and can intervene early to potentially get your charges reduced or dropped. The Law Offices of Adrian M. Baca regularly represents clients against serious drug charges, with a strong track record of success. We have experience in the local federal courts and can help you navigate an often confusing system. Contact us today for a free consultation.