State Versus Federal Drug Crimes
State drug crime laws and federal drug crime laws both address the unlawful possession, use, manufacture, sale, and trafficking of federal controlled substances like cocaine, heroin, methamphetamines, and opiates. Depending on the circumstances, one criminal act involving drug activity may thus lead to either state or federal charges. What often happens is that as state or local law enforcement officials investigate a drug case, facts or circumstances of the case spur them to have federal officials take over the case in favor of stiffer federal drug charges. Federal drug crimes can require additional facts like drug activity crossing state lines, taking place in a national park or on other federal property, involving other federal crimes like money laundering, involving the sale of drugs through the mail or sale of large drug quantities, or involving organized crime. The involvement of federal informants and federal agencies like the Drug Enforcement Administration may also trigger federal rather than state drug charges.
Federal and state prosecutors may each charge their respective federal and state drug crimes, although one is more likely to defer to the other in typical cases. Prosecutions by both state and federal officials would not be double jeopardy because the prosecutions are by different sovereigns. In general, given a tough choice, defendants should prefer state prosecution over federal prosecution. Unlike the state system, the federal system offers no parole and early release for drug convictions. Federal drug crimes can also carry mandatory minimum sentences. If you face federal drug abuse charges in New Jersey's federal district, retain premier federal criminal defense attorney Joseph D. Lento for an aggressive and winning defense. You have a lot at stake when facing federal drug abuse charges.
The Federal Controlled Substances Act
Federal officials prosecute federal drug abuse crimes under the federal Controlled Substances Act. The Controlled Substances Act places drugs into five schedules depending on the drug's medical benefit, potential for abuse, and safety versus addictive properties. Schedule I drugs include heroin, LSD, marijuana, methaqualone, peyote, and Ecstasy, among many others. Schedule II drugs include morphine, PCP, cocaine, OxyContin, and fentanyl, among many others. Schedule III drugs include anabolic steroids, codeine, hydrocodone, and some barbiturates. Schedule IV drugs include most benzodiazepines like Darvocet, Valium, and Xanax. Schedule V drugs include over-the-counter medications with codeine. Proper identification and scheduling of the controlled substance can be key to federal drug crime prosecutions and defense. Small differences in the chemical composition of the involved substance can determine whether the substance belongs on a schedule or not or on a higher schedule rather than a lower schedule. Your retained federal criminal defense attorney should have forensic drug expertise available to deploy in your defense.
Federal Drug Possession Charges
Federal drug abuse crimes focus on illegal drug possession. Federal drug possession charges involve controlled substances without a valid prescription from a licensed medical practitioner. Federal drug possession charges can also involve possession of drug paraphernalia. Federal prosecutors need not prove any conduct beyond possession. The defendant need not have made, sold, or otherwise distributed the controlled substance for prosecutors to charge the federal possession crime. Indeed, illegal drug manufacture, trafficking, criminal enterprises, and conspiracies are other federal drug crimes. The defendant also need not have used or abused the drug for a federal drug possession charge. Again, the key conduct is possession alone. Federal drug possession charges are generally less severe, carrying lower potential sentences than manufacturing, trafficking, enterprise, and conspiracy charges, although possession penalties can still be severe depending on the drug type and quantity and other factors.
Fighting Federal Drug Abuse Charges
Federal law enforcement officials and prosecutors typically spend considerable time and effort building a federal drug case before arresting the defendant or otherwise alerting the defendant to a coming federal drug crime charge. You won't likely have federal law enforcement officials contacting you for interviews and inspections. If you do get any such request, do not voluntarily speak, communicate, or offer access to items or facilities until you have first retained and consulted a skilled and experienced federal criminal defense attorney. You have the right to remain silent, a privilege against self-incrimination, a right against unreasonable search and seizure, and other constitutional and procedural rights. Your retained federal criminal defense attorney will help you invoke and rely on those rights. You have no obligation to help federal prosecutors build their case against you. On the contrary, their constitutional obligation is to prove every element of the federal drug abuse crime beyond a reasonable doubt. Federal officials making a drug abuse arrest may also seize or secure the defendant's property. Federal laws support forfeiture actions for property used for federal drug crimes. You could lose a residence, business property, business equipment, vehicles, and other things of substantial value simply because of their use and location relating to federal drug crime.
Premier Federal Attorney Representation Available
You have an enormous amount at stake when facing federal drug abuse crime charges in New Jersey's federal district. Federal drug crime convictions can carry long sentences with substantial fines and civil forfeiture penalties. If you don't handle federal drug abuse charges properly, with an aggressive and effective defense, you could lose your freedom, finances, job, reputation, and relationships. Don't underestimate the impact of federal drug crime conviction. Devote your greatest effort and full resources to your defense of those charges. Retain New Jersey criminal defense attorney Joseph D. Lento and the Lento Law Firm for your aggressive and effective defense of New Jersey District federal drug abuse charges. Attorney Lento has built a premier team of forensic and consulting experts at the Lento Law Firm. Attorney Lento also has the passionate commitment and fighter's skills to raise your best possible defense. Call 888-535-3686 for a consultation now or use the online service.