If federal prosecutors accuse you of drug conspiracy, you might wonder whether beating this type of charge is even possible. Winning a case against federal prosecutors is challenging, and it can be tough to build a strong case in your defense. However, with help from an experienced criminal defense lawyer, beating a federal drug conspiracy charge is possible.
What Is a Federal Drug Conspiracy Case?
U.S. Code Title 21: Food and Drugs, Chapter 13, Subchapter II §963, states: “Any person who attempts or conspires to commit any offense defined in this subchapter shall be subject to the same penalties as those prescribed for the offense, the commission of which was the object of the attempt or conspiracy.”
In plain language, this law means that if you attempt or conspire to commit an offense related to the import and export of drugs in the United States, the federal government can punish you in the same ways as if you had fully committed the crime.
What are the Penalties for a Federal Drug Case?
The penalties for a federal drug conspiracy vary depending on the type and quantity of substance you handle. Common penalties include thousands to hundreds of thousands of dollars in fines and imprisonment for many years.
In cases involving large quantities of drugs, you could face:
- Ten years to life in prison and a fine of up to $10 million.
- If the substances killed or injured anyone, 20 years to life in prison and a maximum fine of $10 million.
In cases involving smaller quantities of drugs, you might be penalized with:
- Five to 40 years in prison and a fine of up to $5 million.
- If the substances killed or injured anyone, twenty years to life in prison and a maximum fine of $5 million.
If the court convicts a person of drug conspiracy for a second time after having already undergone punishment for drug-related crimes, the sentence could be even higher. In this case, they might receive penalties of 10 years to life in prison and fines up to $8 million or $20 million.
While some people might think that conspirators receive lesser penalties than those who commit the crimes, this is not always the case. Courts dole out punishment that is directly proportional to the severity of the alleged crime. For this reason, it is essential to have a knowledgeable drug conspiracy defense lawyer on your side who knows the ins and outs of possible sentences.
What Do I Do if Prosecutors Wrongfully Accuse Me of Federal Drug Conspiracy?
Unfortunately, hundreds of people are wrongly convicted of criminal offenses and imprisoned every year in the United States. If you have been charged with a federal drug conspiracy crime and know you are not guilty, you are not alone. One study found that the most common reason for wrongful drug convictions is false accusations.
If prosecutors falsely accuse you of a federal drug conspiracy, seek help from a criminal defense lawyer as soon as possible to avoid being punished for a crime you didn’t commit.
What Legal Defenses Can I Use Against a Federal Drug Conspiracy Accusation?
If federal prosecutors accuse you of a drug conspiracy, then you may use some of these common defenses:
- Illegally obtained evidence: If the agents or officers involved in your case obtained evidence illegally, such as through an illegal search and seizure, then you can use this as a defense. For example, if they did not have the proper warrant to search your home or office and found evidence illegally, this defense can make the illegal evidence inadmissible in court.
- Lack of intent or knowledge: In some cases, you may be able to show that you were not knowingly involved in a drug conspiracy. If you were in the room while a conspiracy took place, but you did not enter into the conversation yourself, you cannot be held responsible as a conspirator. To charge you with conspiracy, prosecutors must show that you knowingly and willingly entered into the conspiracy.
- False testimonies: If witnesses wrongfully accused you of a crime, you might be able to prove that they falsely testified against you.
- Coerced statements: Sometimes, agents or police officers use tactics that might frighten you into confessing under duress. If someone forced you to say something that was not entirely true out of fear, you might use that as evidence that your confession was false.
- Withdrawal from conspiracy: If you started a conspiracy and decided not to go through with it, you could be able to use your withdrawal as a defense. However, you must have completed certain steps before others committed the crime to use withdrawal as a defense.
Of course, you will need evidence and legal support for each of these defenses. Gathering evidence is crucial to proving your case. If you don’t know how to gather evidence or what to look for, you may need a criminal defense lawyer to help you.
With help from a skilled and knowledgeable lawyer, you can collect papers, photographs, recordings, phone calls, and other evidence that can help you beat a federal drug conspiracy case. Your lawyer will ensure that you get the help you need to beat your case, reduce your sentence, or avoid a wrongful conviction.
If federal prosecutors accuse you of being involved in a federal drug conspiracy, do not hesitate to contact a criminal defense attorney who can help you.