Both state and federal laws prohibit the possession, distribution, manufacture, or sale of various drugs and controlled substances. As a result, many illegal substance offenses in the area could be prosecuted under either government. When federal prosecutors take on a drug case, the consequences can be serious.
Anyone facing federal drug charges should consult an experienced Charleston federal drug lawyer as soon as possible. National drug cases are often investigated and prosecuted by federal agents, so those defending against the charges should have a federal criminal attorney fighting for their rights.
Advantages of a Federal Illegal Substance Attorney
An individual charged with an offense like this rarely benefits from speaking to law enforcement without the guidance of a diligent legal team. Prompt representation from a Charleston federal drug attorney could prevent a defendant from making missteps during the investigative process, like giving up their right to silence or making careless statements that damage their case. A dedicated lawyer could also:
- Provide representation at bail and detention hearings
- Negotiate with prosecutors
- Speak with law enforcement agents
- File appropriate motions to challenge evidence
- Investigate to build a strong defense
- Pursue all appropriate defensive strategies
- Provide aggressive representation in court
- Seek alternative sentencing arrangements
Even if charges have not yet been filed, those under investigation should consider speaking with a knowledgeable legal team before proceeding with their case.
National Drug Crimes
Federal drug laws are lengthy and complex. The section of the U.S. Code describing prohibited acts starts at 21 United States Code §841 and goes on to describe various offenses and their potential punishments.
What is a Substance Distribution Crime?
Federal law forbids the manufacture, distribution, and possession with intent to distribute controlled and counterfeit substances. Penalties for violating this statute depend on the quantity of the particular substance at issue.
For instance, distribution of one kilogram or more of heroin, 1000 kilograms of marijuana, or 50 grams of methamphetamine are subject to a mandatory minimum federal prison sentence of ten years. That minimum sentence is doubled to 20 years if the use of the substance causes death or serious injury. The maximum sentence for distribution is life in prison, and fines as high as $10,000,000 may also be assessed.
When the quantity of drugs involved is lower—100 grams of heroin or 100 marijuana plants, for example—the mandatory minimum sentence drops to five years, though it can increase to 20 years if the substance causes serious bodily injury or death. Sentences are lower where smaller quantities of marijuana are involved, but those convicted may still be required to pay a fine as high as $250,000 and be incarcerated for up to five years.
Penalties are also lower for drugs considered less addictive and with more accepted medical uses, such as some prescription pills. A knowledgeable federal illegal substance attorney in Charleston could help a defendant identify what particular charges and consequences they may be facing in their case.
What is a Possession Drug Crime in Charleston?
21 U.S.C. §844 outlaws the possession of controlled substances, unless the substance was obtained through a valid prescription. Many controlled substances have no accepted medical use and are not available through any legal means.
Penalties for a first-time offender include up to one year of imprisonment and the potential for a fine of at least $1,000. The maximum sentence doubles to two years, and a minimum sentence applies if the individual charged has a prior substance conviction.
Consult a Charleston Federal Drug Attorney Today
Federal substance crimes carry severe penalties, so it is often essential to explore every available avenue of defense. If you are facing charges like this or are being questioned in connection with a substance crime, a Charleston federal drug lawyer could begin working right away to collect and preserve evidence that could prove vital to your defense. Call today to schedule a consultation.