When you are charged with a federal drug crime, you face harsh minimum punishments dictated by federal law. You will need a Houston federal drug attorney to fight the charges. A federal drug conviction often leads to harsher consequences than a Texas drug offense. Though Texas takes all drug crimes seriously, the state has greater variety in the level of charges and potential punishments. It also offers lower minimum sentences than federal law. When you are facing a federal drug crime, there is no other option but to mount an aggressive defense.
When facing federal charges, you will need the knowledge and experience The Law Offices of Ned Barnett can offer. You need a skilled attorney who can fight to have the charges dropped or reduced. If an assistant U.S. attorney pushes forward with charges, then we will build you the strongest defense possible under the law. We can also discuss with you negotiating a fair plea deal and other strategies for minimizing the consequences of a conviction.
If you or a loved one have been charged with a federal drug crime, call a Houston federal defense attorney at our firm today at (713) 222-6767, or via our online form to schedule a free case consultation.
Federal Controlled Substances Schedule
The federal controlled substances schedule is broken down into five categories. The lower the category, the more serious the drug. Schedule I drugs have no accepted medical use and have a high potential for abuse and dependence. The higher the category, the less the risk of abuse and dependence.
An example of commonly used controlled substances within the federal schedule include:
- Schedule I – Heroin, LSD, marijuana, peyote, ecstasy
- Schedule II – Opioids, morphine, opium, codeine, fentanyl, methamphetamine, cocaine, stimulants
- Schedule III – Ketamine, anabolic steroids, testosterone, less than 90 milligrams of codeine
- Schedule IV – Anti-depressants, sleep medications, benzodiazepines
- Schedule V – Less than 200 milligrams of codeine, cough medications
This schedule can mean a great deal to your case. The penalties for federal drug crimes vary depending on the type and amount of the drug involved. If you have been arrested for a drug crime, you should contact a Houston federal drug attorney as soon as possible to discuss the potential charges and sentence you face.
Is Drug Trafficking a Federal Crime?
Drug trafficking involves a number of offenses, including the cultivation, manufacturing, transporting, distribution, and sale of controlled substances. Typically, drug trafficking involves large quantities of one or more illegal drugs and movement across national borders and state lines. If you have been arrested for trafficking, you may wonder whether it is a federal crime. Yes, you can be charged with a federal offense for drug trafficking in the United States.
There are several ways in which a drug crime can be charged at the federal level instead of as a Texas crime, including:
- The alleged criminal conduct violated a federal statute.
- The alleged criminal conduct crossed state lines or international borders.
- The alleged criminal conduct took place on federal property.
- A federal agency investigated the alleged offense.
- A federal agent arrested you for the alleged crime.
- An informant’s information led to your arrest.
- You are suspected of being part of a large criminal enterprise.
- There is an agreement between federal and state prosecutors.
If you are arrested or under investigation for any drug crime, you may face federal charges. These often lead to harsher penalties than if you faced state-level charges. You will need an experienced criminal defense attorney who is qualified to defend you in front of a federal court. Ned Barnett, a Houston federal drug attorney, is admitted to the bar for the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas, and the Eastern District of Texas and the U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeals.
Federal Drug Charges
Under federal law, you can be charged for any activity involving controlled substances, unless you have a specific license and approval to work with specific drugs, or if you have a valid prescription. There are several federal drug laws. However, you may be most concerned with the Controlled Substances Act (CSA).
Under 21 U.S. Code §841, you can be charged with a crime for knowingly and intentionally:
- Manufacturing, distributing, or dispensing drugs
- Possessing drugs with intent to manufacture, distribute, or dispense them
Also, you may be charged with conspiracy under 18 U.S. Code §371. Under this statute, prosecutors must prove that you voluntarily and knowingly agreed with one or more co-conspirators to commit a drug crime. They must prove you knew the conspiracy existed, even if you did not know everything. They do not have to prove you committed any other crime, or that you completed an act in furtherance of the conspiracy.
If you have been arrested and charged with a drug offense, contact a Houston federal drug attorney right away. There are many strategies for defending against drug charges. At The Law Offices of Ned Barnett, we also have many strategies for minimizing the consequences of a potential conviction. However, it is important to know that there are federal mandatory minimums. If you are convicted of a drug crime, you will be sentenced to at least the minimum penalty for that crime and drug.
Federal Drug Sentencing Guidelines
The mandatory minimum you face depends on the offense for which you were convicted, the type of controlled substance involved, and the amount. The federal government uses statutory threshold amounts. If you have the threshold amount or more, a longer sentence is triggered.
You face at least between five and 40 years in prison for:
- Methamphetamine – Five grams
- Crack cocaine – 28 grams
- Heroin – 100 grams
- Powder cocaine – 500 grams
- Marijuana – 100 kilograms
You face a minimum of 10 years and up to life in prison if you possessed or controlled:
- Methamphetamine – 50 grams
- Crack cocaine – 280 grams
- Heroin – One kilogram
- Powder cocaine – Five kilograms
- Marijuana – 1,000 kilograms
These are not the only factors that matter within the federal sentencing guidelines. If you are convicted of a crime, the judge sentencing you will determine the level of that crime. There are levels of crimes, Levels 1 through 43. The level of a drug crime depends on the type and amount of the drug. Next, the judge will review your criminal history and determine which criminal history category you belong in, category I through VI. Based on these two figures, the judge reviews the federal sentencing chart to determine the recommended months in prison.
If you have any questions regarding federal sentencing for drug crimes, contact Houston federal drug attorney Ned Barnett. He is highly-experienced in federal drug cases and has a thorough understanding of how federal authorities test drugs and weigh them. He also has dealt with many federal prosecutors, and he knows when they push for higher charges and harsher penalties.
Contact a Houston Federal Drug Attorney for Help Today
The consequences of a federal drug crime conviction reach farther than incarceration. Once you pay your debt to society and are released, you will still have to deal with the repercussions of the offense. You may be ineligible for certain jobs and government assistance programs. You may have a hard time finding employment, keeping your job, or going back to school. You could also have a hard time being approved for rental housing or loans. Not to mention, you will lose your right to own firearms.
To avoid incarceration, fines, and the collateral consequences of a federal drug crime, you need a Houston federal drug attorney on your case. Attorney Ned Barnett is here to help you face these charges head-on. He will thoroughly investigate the accusations against you, gather evidence on your behalf, and build a strong offense on your behalf. He will fight hard for you to avoid a conviction, or when necessary, minimize the consequences of a conviction.
Call The Law Offices of Ned Barnett for help at (713) 222-6767 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation.