DC Federal Drug Attorney

Federal drug offenses can include allegations of manufacturing, distribution, and trafficking. If such charges result in a conviction, sentencing can be extensive. Federal drug charges frequently involve lengthy, multi-agency investigations – which can include the FBI, DEA, state, and local law enforcement. In recent years, there has been a pronounced increase in the number of charges pertaining to the distribution and trafficking of prescription narcotics. This is due, at least in part, to prescription drug abuse becoming the nation’s fastest-growing drug problem, according to federal officials. If you are facing charges, an experienced federal criminal attorney can help you build a defense.

Federal drug charges are very serious, and you need an experienced federal drug lawyer.Federal drug offenses not only encompass the movement of controlled substances into the country or across state lines but also the sale, purchase, and delivery of certain controlled substances. The amount of drugs alleged to be in the possession of the defendant will likely influence the type of federal charge. Federal prosecutors do not have to prove that the drugs were in the process of being transported or distributed at the time of the arrest. They can merely argue that the quantity of drugs found on the accused, or in their control, justifies the charge, whether it be manufacturing, distribution, or trafficking. When this occurs, a DC federal drug lawyer should be consulted.

Drug Manufacturing

The federal government can charge a person or group of people with cultivation or manufacture of a controlled substance. Cultivation is defined as growing, possessing, or producing naturally occurring elements in order to make illegal controlled substances. This offense commonly involves marijuana, despite efforts by many states to decriminalize the possession and cultivation of the drug and its active ingredient, Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC).

Federal drug manufacturing charges may also apply to “producing or creating illegal controlled substances through chemical processes or in a laboratory.” These may include Schedule I and Schedule II substances, including LSD, cocaine, heroin, and methamphetamine, making it important that a federal drug attorney in DC is contacted.

Though there may be little difference in the wording of state and federal drug manufacturing and distribution laws, the penalties for such federal offenses are generally more severe. One area where several state and federal drug laws now differ, however, is the cultivation, distribution, and possession of marijuana.

Potential Sentencing

Federal distribution, trafficking, and manufacturing sentencing guidelines often involve mandatory minimum incarceration in prison. The length of the prison sentence is based on the schedule or type of drug. Drugs, substances, and certain chemicals used to make drugs are classified into five distinct categories or schedules depending upon the drug’s acceptable medical use and the drug’s abuse or dependency potential.

Schedule I drugs, substances, or chemicals are defined as drugs with no currently accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse. Schedule I drugs are the most dangerous drugs of all the drug schedules with potentially severe psychological or physical dependence. Some examples of Schedule I drugs are heroin, LSD, marijuana, and ecstasy. Other factors that a DC federal drug lawyer will need to take into account include any previous drug convictions or criminal record.

Unlike mandatory minimums, the sentencing guidelines are advisory, not mandatory. Federal mandatory minimum prison sentences are statutory and may not be reduced at a judge’s discretion. While judges can vary from the sentencing guidelines, they cannot sentence below the mandatory minimums (except in limited circumstances). If there is a mandatory minimum, it always trumps a lower guidelines sentence.

Prosecuting and Drug Manufacturing and Distribution

Those who make and sell certain drugs, such as cocaine, heroin, and methamphetamine, are the focus of great federal scrutiny. Congress has passed or modified several laws governing what it views as the most dangerous controlled substances. This includes:

  • The Chemical Diversion and Trafficking Act of 1988
  • The Domestic Chemical Diversion Act of 1993
  • The Comprehensive Methamphetamine Control Act of 1996

This has resulted in greater restrictions on access to certain chemicals which are used to manufacture certain drugs and greater penalties for conviction making it important those convicted should consult with a DC federal drug lawyer.