What are federal drug charges?
While simple possession of a small number of illicit drugs is generally a state crime, some of the most serious drug-related offenses are federal crimes. These include but are not limited to:
Drug distribution (in possession of a firearm)
Manufacturing and delivery
Possessing certain drug paraphernalia
Possession of certain drugs
Transporting drugs over state lines
Drug offenses involving conspiracies
Investigations into offenses like these frequently involve federal agents and undercover officers, often using elaborate means to detect illegal activity.
If you are convicted of a federal drug charge, you can expect severe penalties that go beyond the penalties for state drug crimes.
The nature of these penalties varies greatly depending on the type of drug seized (drugs are divided into five Schedules in Tennessee) as well as the amount involved, the location of the seizure, and your criminal record.
Typically, penalties for a federal drug conviction include:
- Imprisonment of more than ten years
- Loss of benefits
A federal charge may also result in other penalties as a convicted felon, including the loss of the right to vote and to own a firearm.
If you face federal criminal charges, it is in your best interest to consult with an experienced attorney immediately.
Penalties for drug offenses
Drug crimes comprise a broad range of offenses which, in turn, incur a wide variety of sentences.
In the case of marijuana charges, for instance, a first-time offense for a small amount for personal use is a Class A misdemeanor.
A Class A misdemeanor can result in one year in jail and fines up to $2,500. However, it may not result in a criminal record if your lawyer can present a strong case to the court.
Distribution of over half an ounce of marijuana, on the other hand, can result in a felony conviction and harsher penalties.
If you have previous drug offenses on your record, you are likely to face more serious penalties too. A marijuana possession repeat offense or possession of heroin, cocaine, or any other serious drug for a second time will mean you face Class E felony charges.
If convicted, you could face between one and six years in prison and fines up to $5,000.
Defending your rights and freedom
The first steps in building your defense are critical.
We will seek to discover all the facts of your case. The details are important – what the police actions were before, during, and after arresting you, how evidence was obtained, how you were interviewed, and so on.
Often in drug cases, law enforcement fails to follow the correct procedure and this can result in critical evidence being inadmissible in court or your rights being breached and the case being dismissed.
Your lawyer will listen and review all of the issues in your case, looking for opportunities to pick holes in the prosecution’s case or to suppress evidence and seek a dismissal of the charge.
Looking for a drug crime attorney in Chattanooga?
Drug charges are often complex and hinge on details like the actions of law enforcement officers.
During your free initial consultation, an attorney from Houston & Alexander, PLLC can review your case and start to consider possible legal strategies for your defense.
Call us at our Chattanooga office today at (423) 933-1972 or contact us online.