Federal Drug Possession Lawyer
Facing drug charges in any court is not a good prospect, but federal drug charges can be the most daunting. Federal law is complex and confusing, especially when it comes to drugs, because it is so different from state law. Boyle & Jasari understands this and knows what is at stake if you do not have proper legal representation in your case. Our attorneys stand up for you against this powerful prosecution to protect your rights and help you get a fair trial.
When you face a drug charge, you may be confused over what makes it a federal crime and not a state crime. You may also wonder what the classifications of drugs mean and how that can affect the outcome of your case. There are many aspects you should understand when facing such charges so that you can go to court prepared.
Why Choose Us?
Few lawyers have the experience and expertise in criminal matters as Attorney Dennis Boyle. He is a highly accomplished litigator in both state and federal courts throughout the United States and internationally. He is a certified criminal trial specialist by the National Board of Trial Advocacy and defends against criminal and white collar criminal, which are financially motivated but non-violent, offenses.
Throughout his career, Attorney Dennis Boyle has served as a Navy Judge Advocate, First Assistant District Attorney, and a Special Assistant US Attorney. After serving more than a decade as a prosecutor, he partnered with several of the nation’s largest and most prestigious law firms as criminal defense counsel.
Attorney Dennis Boyle has tried over 200 criminal jury trials in his long-running career. Federal courts are different from state courts. Not every defense lawyer is qualified to practice in federal court. Our attorneys are admitted to practice in the District of Columbia, Pennsylvania, New York, Maryland, Alaska, and many more federal courts across the nation. Our attorneys have defended crimes including narcotics distribution, securities fraud, money laundering, tax fraud and evasion, and many more.
If you or a loved one is facing federal drug charges, our attorneys will use their skill and expertise in complex criminal offenses to advocate on your behalf. Call our offices today for a consultation of your case.
Types of Drugs and Relationship to Penalties
The first thing to understand is how the government classifies drugs, legally referred to as controlled substances. Anything labeled as a controlled substance is something the government has legal control over how you can use or distribute it.
The government puts controlled substances into categories known as schedules. These schedules rank the drugs according to how harmful they are, using the following factors:
- Medical use
- Abuse potential
- Addictive qualities
There are five schedules at the federal level. Schedule I is the highest when it comes to the severity of charges you may face and includes substances that have no recognized medical use according to the federal government. Schedules II through V have some recognized medical use, with Schedule V being the lowest or least severe level of substances. Here are examples of the drugs categorized into each schedule:
- Schedule I – heroin, LSD, marijuana
- Schedule II – cocaine, morphine
- Schedule III – codeine, hydrocodone
- Schedule IV – Benzodiazepines (Xanax, valium)
- Schedule V – OTC meds with codeine
One thing to note is that the federal government maintains that marijuana is an illegal substance that has no medical use. This differs greatly from many states’ classification of the drug. It could lead to you facing federal drug charges even if marijuana is legal in your state. This is a good illustration of why you may need a federal drug charge crime defense lawyer who can help you navigate the difference in the laws.
Types of Crimes/Charges
It is important to understand that drug crimes often hinge on your use of the substance. Many legal medications are controlled substances that are only legal when you use them according to the law. For example, if you have a prescription for a controlled substance, then you can legally use that drug if you do so according to the prescription. If you were to give one of your pills to someone else, then that would be a crime. The most common drug charges include:
Distribution is selling or transporting controlled substances. Trafficking is the same as distribution, but it involves larger quantities of the substances. Possession is having a controlled substance illegally. Possession with the intent to sell is a similar crime but involves having enough of the drug to be considered more than you would need for personal use.
Manufacturing is growing or making controlled substances. It may also include having the facilities to grow or make drugs.
You may also face paraphernalia charges. These involve possessing any item you may use to distribute, manufacture, or use drugs.
There are varying degrees of each crime that federal prosecutors could charge you with. The charges will typically depend on:
- Type of substance
- Location (near schools, for example, lead to harsher sentences)
- Criminal history
A federal drug charge crime defense lawyer can use these details to assist you with mounting a defense to help lessen charges or your sentence.
State Vs. Federal
State and federal drug charges vary greatly because of the different ways these courts each classify controlled substances. In addition, many states have decriminalized certain drugs. States also offer alternative sentencing options that focus on rehabilitation more than punishment. The most common crime at the state level is possession, and at the federal level is trafficking. State penalties are usually less harsh than federal ones.
You should know that whether you face state or federal charges is often up to the prosecutors. Even if your arrest is by local law enforcement, it could turn into a federal charge. However, if federal officers arrest you, then it is highly likely you will face charges at the federal level. Your federal drug charge crime defense lawyer can assist you with figuring out what charges you face and why your charges are now in federal court.
Mandatory Minimum Sentences
One thing to note about federal drug charges is that some crimes come with mandatory minimum sentences. This means the judge has no option because the law says you must serve at least a specific sentence. Such sentences can range from a year to life in prison.
If you face a charge that carries a mandatory minimum sentence, it is crucial to seek help from a federal drug charge crime defense lawyer. If you lose your case, then you will face that mandatory sentence regardless of the facts or circumstances.
The Need for Competent Legal Representation
State and federal criminal cases differ significantly. Not all attorneys can go to federal court, so you have to be sure that you choose a federal drug charge crime defense lawyer. You need someone to represent you who understands federal statutes and procedures.
Federal prosecutors and law enforcement have extensive resources at their disposal. You need a legal team that can match that to give you a proper defense. As a former prosecutor, Attorney Dennis Boyle has a unique insight into the various methods and the investigative process. As a result, he can evaluate your case for the strengths and weaknesses in order to build an aggressive defense.
Criminal cases are often won or lost before the trial begins. Following a detailed analysis of your case, the dedicated staff of Boyle & Jasari, will examine the factual evidence, interview witnesses, and retain valuable experts. In some cases, a thorough and strong investigation can persuade the prosecution to dismiss your case. However, if your case must proceed to trial, our federal drug crime attorneys are experienced trial lawyers skilled in complex criminal matters.
Whatever the charges, you are likely to be facing serious consequences, so you need an attorney who can focus on your case and who has great attention to detail. Boyle & Jasari have the experience and competence to work as your advocate and to plan a strategic approach to defending you at the federal level.