Drug conspiracy charges are taken very severely by the federal government. As a result, as the so-called “War on Drugs” has escalated, the punishments for drug conspiracy charges have become more severe.
Mandatory minimum sentences have been imposed in an effort to get drug dealers off the streets for good, ensuring that anyone convicted of a drug conspiracy offense will do time in federal prison, without exception.
A conviction can have a severe impact on your life and freedom, with prison sentences ranging from 10 to 40 years.
If you are charged with any drug conspiracy charges, you will face a tremendous battle against a court system that has been designed to favor the prosecutor. A professional and experienced criminal defense attorney who can represent you and fight for your rights is your best defense against these harsh federal laws.
What Are Drug Conspiracy Charges in the United States?
The federal drug conspiracy provisions are designed to be as wide as possible. Nonetheless, a federal drug conspiracy is defined as a knowingly entered into arrangement by two or more people to break a federal drug statute. The prosecutor must establish the following in order to obtain a conviction:
- Two or more people struck an agreement to break a federal drug statute.
- Everyone involved in the plot was aware of the pact and signed it.
Despite the fact that the basic definition of drug conspiracy is extremely broad, it may be divided into four categories:
- Growing, extracting, processing, or any other component of the process of producing illegal drugs is referred to as “manufacturing of a controlled substance.”
- Importing a Controlled Substance entails introducing illegal substances into the United States by any means possible.
- The transfer of illegal narcotics to another person is referred to as distribution of a controlled substance. To be deemed distribution of a controlled substance, no money must be transferred for the drugs. Any mode of distribution is acceptable, including so-called “internet pharmacies,” which employ bogus prescriptions to deliver illegal medications to a receiver.
- Possession with the Intent to Distribute a Controlled Substance. Possession, in general, refers to any situation in which a person is apprehended with an illicit substance. Prosecutors may, however, try to show that the defendant intended to sell or distribute the narcotics in addition to possessing them. Scales and baggies, for example, can be used to indicate intent to distribute a restricted narcotic. Furthermore, the amount of drugs found in the defendant’s possession could be evidence of a drug distribution conspiracy. Possession charges are the least straightforward of the four types because to the possibility of being related to additional drug conspiracy charges.
Penalties for Drug Conspiracy in the United States
The amount of each substance involved determines the penalties for federal drug conspiracy crimes. Depending on the type of substance, different amounts and punishments apply. The following are the punishments for each substance or category of drug:
Based on the amount of marijuana involved in the conspiracy, the following penalties apply:
- If you weigh more than 100 kilograms, you must serve a minimum of 5 years in federal prison and a maximum of 40 years.
- If you weigh 1,000 kilograms or more, you must serve a minimum of 10 years in federal prison and a maximum of 40 years.
- There is no alleged amount – there is no mandatory minimum punishment, and the maximum term is up to 40 years.
Based on the amount of heroin involved in the conspiracy, the following sanctions apply:
- If you have 100 grams or more, you must serve a minimum of 5 years in federal prison and a maximum of 40 years.
- If you have 1 kilogram or more, you must serve a minimum of 10 years in federal prison and a maximum of 40 years.
Cocaine (and “Crack” Cocaine) is a stimulant.
Based on the amount of cocaine or crack cocaine involved in the conspiracy, the following punishments apply:
- 500 grams or more of cocaine, or 28 grams or more of crack cocaine – a minimum of 5 years in federal prison is required, with a maximum penalty of 40 years.
- 5kg or more of cocaine, 280g or more of crack cocaine – minimum federal prison sentence of 10 years, maximum life sentence
Based on the amount of methamphetamine involved in the conspiracy, the following sanctions apply:
- 5g or more – a mandatory minimum term of 5 years in federal prison, with a maximum penalty of 40 years
- 50g or more – minimum federal jail sentence of 10 years, maximum life sentence
- Less than 5g – no obligatory minimum sentence, maximum term of 20 years
GHB and opioids
The federal government has recently increased its enforcement of offenses involving opioids (including ketamine and fentanyl, as well as GHB (gamma hydroxybutric acid), often known as the “date rape drug”). Conspiracies employing various types of medicines have the following penalties:
- There is no required minimum punishment and a maximum term of 20 years in prison.
- Increased penalties if the drug used in the conspiracy results in someone’s death or serious injury.
- If the defendant has a past felony conviction for a drug-related offence, the penalties are increased.
Defenses to Drug-Conspiracy Charges in the Courtroom
Despite the fact that the government has worked hard to stack the deck against you as a defendant facing drug conspiracy accusations, there are legal defenses that you may be able to use in your case.
You might be able to get your drug conspiracy charges reduced or dropped if you use the correct defense strategy. The following are some of the most popular drug conspiracy defense methods that your attorney may use in your case.
Evidence Obtained Illegally
If the evidence used against you by the federal government was obtained illegally, a judge may rule it inadmissible in court, leaving the prosecution without a case. You may be able to have your case dismissed if the evidence was obtained through illegal search and seizure or entrapment.
Lack of Conspiracy Intent or Knowledge
The prosecution must prove that you knowingly agreed into the conspiracy agreement in order to be found guilty of participating in a narcotics conspiracy. You cannot be convicted if you can show that you did not agree to join or have awareness of the plot.
Resignation from the Conspiracy
If you tried to cease your connection with the conspiracy that you committed to be a part of, you may be able to defend your case, especially if you can show that you were proactive in seeking to withdraw.
There may be defenses available to help you avoid the heavy penalties imposed by the federal government if you’re facing federal drug conspiracy accusations. Don’t be afraid to speak with an attorney who can examine the circumstances of your case and determine the best course of action for you.
I have what it takes to defend clients charged with even the most serious crimes as a criminal defense attorney with over 30 years of experience handling drug conspiracy cases. Call my office today to schedule a consultation and allow me to begin protecting your rights.
Contact Heath Hyde now at 903.439.0000 or submit a free & confidential consultation form to ensure you are expertly represented and do not have to suffer the penalties and hardships of Federal Drug Conspiracy Charges.