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Mandatory minimums and federal drug charges

Sometimes, a drug crime allegation will lead to a person facing charges on the federal level. There are many different reasons why it can be a very serious thing to be facing federal drug charges. One is that many federal drug charges carry mandatory minimums.

A mandatory minimum is when a given criminal charge has a required minimum sentence for a conviction on that charge. Such a minimum limits the amount of sentencing leniency a judge can give to a person convicted of the charge, regardless of the circumstances. Some federal drug offenses have fairly high mandatory minimums for prison sentences. Thus, there are some federal drug charges in which a substantial prison sentence is more or less a guarantee if a conviction is reached.

We will now go over an example of mandatory minimums in federal drug law. One type of federal drug charge that has a mandatory minimum attached to it is cocaine trafficking. A federal charge of trafficking 500 to 4999 grams of cocaine mixture carries a mandatory minimum prison sentence of five years for a first offense and 10 years for a second offense, while a federal charge of trafficking five kilograms or more of cocaine mixture carries a mandatory minimum prison sentence of 10 years for a first offense and 20 years for a second offense.

Given the potential of a severe mandatory minimum and the other serious aspects of federal charges, a person can feel very worried about their future when they have federal drug charges brought against them. Something that it can be vital for such individuals to remember is that they don't have to take such charges lying down and that they do have a right to defend themselves against the charges brought against them. Defense attorneys can help federal drug crime defendants with the various aspects of constructing a vigorous defense.

Source: U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, "Federal Trafficking Penalties," Accessed Oct. 30, 2014

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