Many California residents could face drug charges at the State level; however, you could end up with federal charges in certain situations.

For example, you will most likely get charged at the federal level if a federal agent arrests you. Agencies like the Federal Bureau of Investigation or the Drug Enforcement Administration investigate drug crime suspects all the time. You could appear in federal court if they charge you as a suspect.

Crossing state lines or importing drugs from foreign countries also warrant federal charges. Further, federal authorities also make an aggressive effort to crack down on organized crime.

So, federal law enforcement could charge you with a “Racketeer Influenced Criminal Organization” offense if they suspect the crime was related to a criminal enterprise.

Federal Law & Drug Crimes

21 U.S.C. § 841 deems it illegal to (1) manufacture, distribute, dispense, or possess with intent to manufacture, distribute, dispense, or possess a controlled substance; or (2) create, distribute, dispense, or possess, with intent to distribute or dispense, a counterfeit substance.

You could face drug trafficking, possession, cultivation, and other charges for violating 21 U.S.C. § 841.

You could also be charged with federal drug conspiracy. 21 U.S.C. § 846 states that any person who conspires to commit a federal drug offense faces the same penalties as those prescribed for the offense.

What’s a Controlled Substance?

Controlled substances are drugs or chemicals used to make drugs. Controlled substances are separated into five categories, called schedules.

A substance’s potential for abuse greatly determines its designated schedule. For example, schedule I drugs serve no known medical purpose and pose the highest risk for abuse.

The five drug schedules include the following:

  • Schedule I: Drugs with high potential for abuse like heroin, LSD, and ecstasy
  • Schedule II: These drugs could lead to severe psychological harm and include fentanyl, Adderall, and cocaine
  • Schedule III: These drugs have a low potential for abuse and include ketamine, anabolic steroids, and testosterone
  • Schedule IV: Drugs with an even lower risk of dependence, such as Xanax, Valium, and Ambien
  • Schedule V: Drugs in this schedule have the lowest risk for abuse and include antidiarrheal medicine or cough preparations

Penalties You Could Face for Federal Drug Crimes

The specific details of your case ultimately determine your sentence. The type of scheduled drug, the amount in your possession, and your criminal history all factor into your sentence. Overall, you could face life in prison and millions in fines if the court convicts you of federal drug charges.

Marijuana Penalties

Although many states have legalized marijuana, it remains illegal under federal law. Violating 21 U.S.C. § 841 with 1,000 kilograms of a mixture or substance containing a detectable amount of marijuana or possessing 1,000 or more marijuana plants regardless of weight could result in a mandatory ten-year sentence.

Mandatory minimums would extend to 20 years if injury or death occurred during the commission of the crime. On top of prison time, you must pay between $10 and $50 million in fines. Subsequent offenses could result in life in prison.

Cocaine Penalties

Having five kilograms or more of a mixture or substance containing a detectable amount of cocaine could result in a minimum of ten years in prison and up to $50 million in fines. Possessing 280 grams of cocaine base results in the same penalties.

Like the penalties for a marijuana conviction, you could face a mandatory minimum of 20 years in prison if injury or death occurred.

Having 500 grams or more of cocaine or 28 grams of cocaine base results in 5-40 years in prison and up to $25 million in fines.

Methamphetamine Penalties

Manufacturing, distributing, or possessing 50 grams or more of meth results in a ten-year minimum sentence and up to $50 million in fines. Like the previous charges, injury or death will extend the minimum sentencing requirement to 20 years.

How to Beat Federal Drug Charges

While you may face life in prison for your federal drug charges, you still have a chance to defend yourself in court. Your attorney might use the following arguments to win your case or reduce your penalties:

  • Illegal Search & Seizure – Law enforcement must have probable cause to search you, your vehicle, or your residence. The recovered evidence can’t be used if they searched your property without a warrant.
  • Entrapment – Law enforcement might have coerced you into committing a crime you otherwise wouldn’t have committed. Any attempt by law enforcement to intimidate you into committing a crime could be entrapment.
  • Chain of Custody Issues – Evidence must follow strict protocol after it’s collected. If officers mishandle or misplace the drugs in any way, your charges could get dismissed.
  • The Substance is Not Actually a Drug – Law enforcement might charge you with an offense only to find out later through lab analysis that the substance collected wasn’t actually a drug.

Contact Morris Law for Your Federal Drug Charge

Federal law takes drug crimes seriously, and you should too. You could spend the rest of your life in prison and face millions in fines for your offense. Now’s the time to retain a lawyer who’s handled several federal cases and has the experience to get the job done.

Federal drug charge attorney Seth Morris is dedicated to ridding you of your charges, so you can go home to your family and put this event behind you. Don’t wait; call Morris Law today at 510-330-0814. for a free consultation.