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Criminal Defense Blog


Federal drug trafficking charges have serious penalties

Facing drug charges can lead to uneasy thoughts for many people. When the drug charges you are facing are federal charges, you might begin to feel worried or stressed. The truth of the matter is that federal drug crimes, such as federal trafficking, carry harsh penalties that can’t be ignored.

For some drugs in specific amounts, including cocaine, cocaine base, fentanyl, heroin, fentanyl analogue, LSD, methamphetamine, and PCP, the lowest penalty is 10 years in prison. That minimum sentence is for the first conviction of federal drug trafficking. The incarceration can be as long as life. The fine can be as high as $10 million. Those penalties increase on a second conviction. With two or more prior convictions, the sentence is life in prison on a third conviction.

The penalties for some other Schedule I or II drugs if you are convicted of drug trafficking can be as long as 20 years for a first offense or 30 years for a second offense.

For some other Schedule III drugs, you could face up to 10 years on a first offense or 20 years on a second offense. Schedule IV drugs not already listed carry sentences up to 5 years on a first offense or 10 years on a second. Schedule V drugs carry up to 1 year on a first offense or up to 4 years on a second offense.

All of the penalties listed here are only valid if there wasn’t any injury or death associated with the charge. The penalties are all more serious if there was an injury or death involved. With all of this in mind, you can see why presenting a defense to federal drug trafficking charges is imperative.

Source: United States Drug Enforcement Agency, “Federal Trafficking Penalties,” accessed Aug. 06, 2015

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