Federal drug trafficking charges are among the most serious criminal charges that a defendant can face if the defendant does not handle those charges properly with an aggressive and effective defense. Federal drug trafficking charges can go either way. On the one hand, they can lead the trial judge to view the defendant as an extraordinarily corrupt and dangerous individual who deserves the stiffest sentence for the longest incarceration. On the other hand, an effective defense can prove to the judge or jury that the defendant did not have the required guilty knowledge and unlawful intent, did not traffick or control the drugs, and is neither corrupt nor dangerous. Drug trafficking charges can carry long prison terms in the worst cases. But aggressive defense can defend and defeat the charges in the better cases. Don't fool around with federal drug trafficking. Instead, do the wise thing. Retain premier federal criminal defense attorney Joseph D. Lento and the Lento Law Firm's defense team for defense of New Jersey district federal drug trafficking charges.
Federal Drug Trafficking Crimes
Drug trafficking is a broad category applying to several different kinds of unlawful drug activity. Simply possessing a controlled substance in violation of drug laws, without any other associated conduct or intent, is not drug trafficking. But manufacturing, distributing, or dispensing a controlled substance in violation of drug laws, or possessing drugs with the intent to manufacture, distribute, or dispense, are all trafficking offenses. The federal criminal statute 21 USC §841 prohibiting the unlawful manufacture or distribution of controlled substances and the possession of those substances with the intent to unlawfully distribute is a primary federal drug trafficking crime. The statute provides for graduated penalties depending on the type and amount of drug involved and enhanced penalties for trafficking involving minors or near schools. The federal drug conspiracy statute 21 USC § 846, federal drug enterprise statute 21 USC § 848, federal drug-involved premises or crack house statute 21 USC § 856, and federal drug racketeering statute 18 USC § 1952 are other trafficking or trafficking-related federal drug crimes. Federal prosecutors have an array of broad and powerful criminal statutes under which to charge drug trafficking crimes.
Federal Drug Trafficking Convictions and Sentences
Federal drug trafficking first offense convictions involving Schedule I and II controlled substances like heroin, LSD, cocaine, and fentanyl can carry up to twenty years imprisonment and a $1 million fine. Prison terms for first offense trafficking of Schedule III, IV, or V drugs range from five years down to one year maximums. Second offenses and offenses involving death or serious injury substantially increase those penalties. The U.S. Sentencing Commission reports that the average sentence for federal drug trafficking convictions is seventy-seven months, which is about six and a half years. That average prison term increases dramatically to ninety-five months, which is nearly eight years when the trafficked drug is methamphetamine. Forty-two percent of federal drug trafficking convictions involve methamphetamine, while cocaine trafficking convictions make up another twenty-five percent. Marijuana, fentanyl, and oxycodone were other commonly trafficked drugs. Federal courts increased the trafficking sentence for weapons possession in about a quarter of cases and for a leadership or supervisory role in about seven percent of cases. About two-thirds of federal trafficking convictions involved mandatory minimum sentences, although more than half of those offenders avoided the mandatory minimum either by substantial assistance in the prosecution of related crimes or a statutory safety valve.
Defending Federal Drug Trafficking Charges
Because federal drug trafficking crimes can carry long prison sentences, mandatory sentences, enhanced sentences, and substantial fines, and because federal investigators tend to carefully prepare cases against traffickers using substantial federal law enforcement resources before arrest, the defendant facing drug trafficking charges needs to mount a most vigorous, aggressive, and effective defense to obtain an acceptable outcome. Defense of federal trafficking charges begins with the defendant's commitment to remain silent, rely on the constitutional privilege against self-incrimination, and retain premier federal criminal defense representation. Federal drug investigations may be well resourced, but they are seldom perfect. When investigators violate a defendant's Fourth Amendment rights against unreasonable search and seizure, the exclusionary rule may bar drug or other incriminating evidence. Federal prosecutors can also make mistakes in identifying the involved drugs, the involved defendants, the defendant's alleged intent, and the defendant's conduct relating to the charges. Federal prosecutors also occasionally overreach in charging when they don't have supporting evidence. When prosecutors fail to prove any element of the federal drug trafficking crime beyond a reasonable doubt, as a zealous defense may establish, the charges must fail. Don't give up on your federal drug trafficking crime defense before it's even begun. Don't let federal prosecutors bluff you into admissions you need not make and pleas you need not accept. Successfully defending federal drug trafficking charges may not be easy, but with the right representation, it can be possible.
New Jersey District Federal Drug Trafficking Defense Attorney
With so much on the line facing federal drug trafficking charges and with such formidable federal resources arrayed against you, you need to level the playing field. The best way that you can give your defense of federal drug trafficking charges a fighting chance is to retain the best available federal criminal defense representation. New Jersey federal criminal defense attorney Joseph D. Lento has the refined skills, passionate commitment, and substantial experience for winning defense against federal drug crime charges. Attorney Lento has also built the Lento Law Firm defense team to provide the federal drug defendant with the most sophisticated forensic and consulting expert resources. Retain attorney Lento and the Lento Law Firm for your aggressive and effective defense of New Jersey District federal drug trafficking charges. Call 888-535-3686 for a consultation with attorney Lento and the Lento Law Firm defense team now or use the online service.