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Top 10 Federal Drug Crime Questions

Top 10 Federal Drug Crime Questions

Of all the questions we get here at Korner Law none beat the honesty and level of interest as Federal Drug Crimes. At a time in the nation when drug laws from DC to Oregon are relaxing the Federal Government continues to keep the courts busy.


So we decided to create a page to answer your top ten questions related to Federal Drug Crimes. Of course, we generally get such questions when someone is already facing charges so we are going to answer each accordingly.


To get us started, following are the Top 10 Federal Drug Crime Questions:

1.  What are Federal Drug Crimes?

Federal Drug Crimes are many and varied. In general, Federal Drug Crimes are drug-related offenses which have been committed in violation of Federal Law.


Of course, even a so-called minor crime when committed on Federal property may be charged on a Federal level. The most common Federal Drug Crimes are…

      • Protected Location Crimes – Selling drugs to minors (under 21), distribution of drugs in a school zone, and/or using people under 18 to sell drugs will net a Federal Drug Charge
      • Simple Drug Possession Crimes – Possession of controlled substances, possession without a prescription may be charged Federally. However, unless the quantities are substantial, possession charges most often go state.
      • Drug Trafficking – The manufacture, distribution, and/or possession with intent to distribute controlled substances is almost always Federal.
      • Drug Conspiracy – Related to Drug Trafficking is conspiracy because in almost every case there are others involved in the trading of narcotics. Facilitation, promotion, or even attempting to become involved in the trading of controlled substances/drugs can result in a Federal Drug conspiracy charge. However, the government has the burden of proof that the defendant was aware of the conspiracy.
      • Drug Manufacturing – Those who manufacture controlled substances and paraphernalia will virtually always face Federal Drug Charges. About the only exception would be the manufacture or growing of very small quantities.


Some of the most common ways that someone may become involved in a Federal Drug Crime are…

      • The drug crime occurred on Federal Property
      • There was an undercover Federal Agent involved
      • Caught selling drugs
      • Caught manufacturing drugs
      • Caught by a Federal Agent
      • State and Federal Prosecutors have made a deal
      • You were informed on by someone involved in a Federal case


2.  Is a Federal Drug charge a felony? Generally, no, though there are a few specific acts which are Federal misdemeanor offenses. For instance, Simple possession and distribution of a small amount of marijuana when there is no remuneration is a misdemeanor.


However, when drug charges go Federal, they are generally more serious in nature. In most cases, Federal drug charges involve large quantities and commerce. In the majority of such cases, the Federal prosecutors seek felony charges. In other words, smaller cases are left to the cities and states for prosecution.


3.  What type of crime is drug possession?

This question depends on a large number of variables. For instance, there are both Federal and state drug possession charges. With the exception of marijuana, most drug possession charges will qualify for felony charges. If the charges are state, 35 grams is the line which will determine whether the marijuana possession is a state felony or not.


In the case of Federal Drug Charges, the general rule is that the Feds don’t bother with low-level charges. Instead, when Federal Agents are involved, look for additional charges which will make any drug possession charges seem light.


The best way to know for certain what type of charges you are facing is to speak to a seasoned Attorney. As an Attorney at Law in St Louis, Missouri, Jason A Korner has helped many to either get felony drug charges reduced or eliminated entirely. He will be glad to help you understand what you face and the best way to face it.


4.  What is a Federal drug trafficking charge?

Drug Trafficking involves the transportation of narcotics as listed in the Comprehensive Drug Act Drug Schedules. Whereas transportation within state borders would qualify for state trafficking charges, in most cases the transportation involves other people in other states.


Thus, there are generally Federal drug trafficking charges added to Federal Drug possession charges and Federal Conspiracy Charges.


5.  How many years do you get for drug trafficking? Federal Drug trafficking charges carry stiff penalties, depending on the precise nature of the offense, the circumstances related to the crime, the players involved, the quantities recovered by authorities, and whether violence/injury occurred as a result of the crime.


To illustrate, consider the following… Which of the following drug trafficking offenses carry the longest sentence? Which of the following drug trafficking offenses carry the longest sentence?

      • Cocaine – 1 kilo
      • LSD – 10 grams
      • Methamphetamines – 50 grams
      • Marijuana – 1000 kilos

Answer – The penalty is the same for each. A defendant losing a Federal Drug Trafficking case with the quantities shown above will face a minimum 10-year incarceration with the possibility of life in prison. Bear in mind that weapons charges, conspiracy charges, if there was violence involved, injuries, deaths…


such factors will tip the scales of justice to the lengthier side of the equation. If such factors are present in your case, you need an attorney who knows how to fight. Jason A Korner. In addition, the Federal judge will take into account the defendant’s criminal history.


This too plays a big role in the final sentence rendered. Even when there are mitigating factors, the specifics of the case could be such that the judge will have no alternative than to mete out a stiff sentence.


This is because of the presence of Federal Sentencing Guidelines provided by the United States Sentencing Commission. For instance, based on the history of the defendant weighed beside the nature of the offense, the Sentencing Commission has developed sentencing zones as follows…

      • Zone A – the Sentence will be a minimum 0 – 6 months
      • Zone B – the Sentence will be a minimum 1 – 15 months
      • Zone C – the Sentence will be a minimum 10 – 18 months
      • Zone D – the Sentence will be a minimum 15 months to life


6.  What are Mandatory Minimums for Federal Drug Offenses? Because the exact charges for Federal Drug Offenses vary considerably, the Mandatory Minimum sentences proscribed vary. In general, however, between five to ten years incarcerated is typical; six year’s Federal incarceration is the average.


A uniform sentencing code provided by the United States Sentencing Commission is applied to each case. For a complete listing of specific Federal offenses along with the mandatory minimums carried by each action, see Federal Trafficking Penalties for Schedules I, II, III, IV, and V (except Marijuana).


7.  What are the Defenses to a Federal Drug Trafficking Charge?

When preparing a defense against a Federal Drug Trafficking Charge, your attorney is going to review your criminal record if any, your state of mind at the time of arrest (i.e. were you intoxicated, taking drugs, combative, etc.), and whether the alleged offense occurred in a school zone.


Of course, also playing a role in the defense will be the exact drug involved and the quantities. This is because drug trafficking as a charge involves both weight and measure. Essentially, there is a cutoff quantity for each drug listed in the Federal Comprehensive Drug Schedule.


If you are caught with more than that amount of that specific drug, you can be charged with Drug Trafficking. It will be the job of your attorney to argue that Drug Trafficking in your case does not apply. The other element of a Federal Drug Trafficking charge is intent.


If the Federal prosecutor can prove that you knew that the drugs were in your possession and that you intentionally possessed the controlled substances, then you can be convicted. Thus, another part to the defense will be to show that you did not intend to possess the drugs, that you were unaware of their presence.


8.  What are the Defenses to a Federal Drug Possession Charge?

When arrested and charged with Federal Drug Possession, the first thing to do is contact an expert attorney such as Jason A. Korner. There are several directions in which to attack the charges including…

      • Challenging the testimony or evidence
      • Target procedural errors, such as are frequent in search and seizure situations
      • Challenge stated facts in the case
      • Force the Prosecutor to prove the drugs were yours
      • Was the substance properly identified, i.e. analyzed by a crime lab?
      • Force the prosecutor to produce the actual drugs in question. Missing evidence is not common but if this happens, the case will likely be tossed.
      • The drugs were planted


If there is the possibility of entrapment, this will be exploited to the fullest extent possible What about medical marijuana? We mention this here because some have heard about the affirmative defense presented by many in state courts arguing that the defendant had the drug for medicinal purposes.


This does not apply in Federal Court. The Federal Government does not recognize medical marijuana and will not accept such an affirmative defense.


9.  What is a Federal Drug Conspiracy Charge? Federal Conspiracy charges predate the drug war by 100 years. During the Civil War, Congress passed Conspiracy laws designed to give the Federal government increased power in fighting the war. Today, specific provisions therein provide for strong penalties when more than one person are involved in acquiring, manufacturing, possessing, and selling illegal substances.


The Drug Conspiracy charge assumes that no illegal drug enterprise is the work of a single person. There must be suppliers of required raw materials, there must be sales channels, there must be transportation. By use of Drug Conspiracy charges, anyone engaged in the drug trade may be charged with a Federal Drug Offense, whether that individual ever touched the products or not. (21 U.S.C. § 846)


In addition, the fines incurred in Federal Drug Conspiracy cases tend to be high, reaching as high as $250,000 for individuals and $500,000 for organizations. In some circumstances, restitution may be ordered and even forfeiture of assets.


10.  What are the Defenses to Federal Drug Conspiracy Charges?

Because Federal Drug Conspiracy charges often net a large group of individuals, some of whom may have never met, the Federal Prosecutor must prove that the defendant had knowledge of the conspiracy.


This is because at time some have faced Federal Drug Conspiracy charges as a result of passing contact with those involved. Without proof that you actively participated in the drug conspiracy, there is no real case.


Federal Drug Conspiracy charges often involve numerous persons and situations—the scope is often broad and the complete investigation complex. Your attorney will question you at length, often about seemingly trivial matters.


In order to defend against these charges, your attorney will investigate thoroughly so as to cast doubt on the Government’s assertion that you knew of the conspiracy. Of course, the exact elements related to the alleged conspiracy will be considered. Some of these are…

      • Was there a search and seizure involved?
      • Was the search and seizure performed legally?
      • Did the case involve a traffic stop?
      • Was the traffic stop legal, that is, reasonable?
      • Was there a search warrant?
      • Was it in order…was there probable cause to search?
      • At any point in the process were civil rights violated?
      • Did the government rely on witnesses? An Informant?
      • Were these reliable?


Know that Federal Drug Conspiracy charges are among the most common. However, in order to successfully prosecute a Federal Drug Conspiracy charge, the prosecutor must prove three specific elements. These are…

      1. An agreement among the parties to violate drug laws must have been present
      2. There must have been at least one crime committed in furtherance of the conspiracy
      3. Each conspirator must have known about the agreement


Your attorney, Jason Korner will help you determine the best direction to take in mounting a defense and together you will fight. Facing Federal Drug Charges? Call the Law Offices of Jason A. Korner If you or someone you know are facing Federal Drug Charges such as Federal Drug Possession, Federal Drug Trafficking, Federal Drug Conspiracy, or any others, call the Law Offices of Jason A Korner immediately.


Federal Drug Charges are very serious and without proper representation you will likely spend many years of your life incarcerated. Don’t let one mistake ruin your life.



Additional Sources of Information Related to Federal Drug Crimes

  1. http://federaldrugcharges.net/
  2. http://www.dea.gov/druginfo/ftp_chart1.pdf
  3. http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/21/846
  4. http://www.dea.gov/druginfo/ds.shtml