Did you know that you can be charged for the same drug crime under federal law as well as under state law? That may mean you need to know about defenses against federal drug crime charges, and not just Texas charges.
First, you should know that charges for federal drug crimes are quite common.
In fact, more than half of all federal prisoners were convicted of federal drug offenses. These offenses stem from 38 drug laws on the books which establish fines and penalties for 165 drug-related crimes.
Punishments for those federal drug crimes can range from 3 years in prison and a fine of $250,000 to 10 years or life in prison and a fine of up to $50 million. Charges and penalties or worse when it comes to drug trafficking (sale or distribution) rather than drug possession.
Beyond prison time, persons convicted of federal drug crimes can also face problems when released, such as difficulty getting a job or finding a place to live after background checks reveal this history. Also, defendants may have civil forfeitures, meaning the loss of personal property such as a home or a car as part of their punishment.
Clearly, an experienced and skilled drug crime defense lawyer is needed to fight for your legal rights if you’re facing a federal drug crime charge. Such a drug crime attorney can devise a number of defenses, and they may even be able to get a charge reduced or dismissed before going to trial.
Common defenses for federal drug offenses
Defenses against federal drug crime charges include:
- Establishing unlawful search and seizure. Without a search warrant, law officers must have had probable cause to search your person or your property. Otherwise, anything they found will not be admissible as evidence. This is your legal right under the Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.
- Establishing unlawful entrapment by federal agents. “Entrapment” is when the defendant wasn’t inclined to break a federal drug law but instead was induced to do so by government agents. Proving such government inducement, as well as the absence of a predisposition to commit the crime by the defendant, are ways to establish illegal entrapment.
- Establishing faulty evidence via paid snitches. The government often pays informants or snitches to pin a crime on someone. But these snitches can be unreliable — manufacturing evidence in order to be paid. That can be proven as a defense.
- Establishing faulty crime lab analysis. Drug tests in a crime lab can be inaccurate, depending on the equipment and those operating it. Challenging their accuracy can be part of your defense.
- Establishing that the drugs belonged to someone else. Individuals are often arrested for being in a home or a car where drugs are found which didn’t belong to them. As a defense against a federal drug crime charge, it can be established that the drugs belonged to someone else who had access to the home or the vehicle.
Also, keep in mind that federal drug charges often are made against dozens of people snared in a wide net by authorities seeking to make a big splash in the news via sting operations — and not all of those individuals are guilty. Overzealous authorities can make mistakes.
These are just some of the many possible federal drug crime defense strategies which can be used to protect your legal rights.
If you face a federal drug crime charge and live in Houston, Harris County, Montgomery County or Fort Bend County, contact the Neal Davis Law Firm today for a free legal review of your case.
Your future may depend on it.