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Federal Drug Charges: Fines, Penalties & Sentencing
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Federal Drug Charges: Fines, Penalties & Sentencing

Fifty percent of all inmates in federal prison in 2014 were there as a result of drug-related charges. If you’re facing a drug charge, you may be at risk of joining them. It doesn’t matter if you possessed drugs, sold them or even if it was just a simple misunderstanding. Whatever the set of circumstances, now that you’re facing this charge, you need to fully understand the potential consequences.

What constitutes a federal drug charge?

If your drug offense was minor, you may only face a state charge, which means your penalties probably won’t be as severe. Often, however, drug charges are tried at the federal level. You’re likely to face a federal charge if your drug-related offense involved bringing drugs in from another country, transporting drugs or manufacturing drugs. Even if you didn’t do any of these things, if the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) feels you were involved with a trafficker, you may still be charged at the federal level.

Drug Trafficking

In efforts to reduce drug trafficking, the DEA has implemented severe punishments for drug-related offenses. So when you’re charged in federal court, those convicted can expect to face mandatory minimum sentences. These often lengthy sentences depend on the type of drug involved, the number of previous offenses and other outside factors–like if someone was hurt.

Marijuana

If you’re convicted of a charge that involves 100 kg or more of marijuana or 100 marijuana plants or more, but less than 1,000 kg or more of marijuana or 1,000 or more marijuana plants, you’ll face a minimum of:

First offense

  • No death or bodily harm; Five years in prison
  • Death or bodily harm; 20 years in prison

Second offense and subsequent

  • No death or bodily harm; 10 years in prison
  • Death or bodily harm; Life in prison

If you’re convicted of a charge that involves 1,000 kg or more of marijuana or 1,000 or more marijuana plants, you’ll face a minimum of:

First offense

  • No death or bodily harm; 10 years in prison
  • Death or bodily harm; 20 years in prison

Second offense

  • No death or bodily harm; 20 years in prison
  • Death or bodily harm; Life in prison

Third offense

Life in prison

Heroin

If you’re convicted of a charge that involves 100 g or more of heroin, but less than 1 kg of heroin, you’ll face a minimum of:

1st offense

  • No death or bodily harm; Five years in prison
  • Death or bodily harm; 20 years in prison

2nd offense and subsequent

  • No death or bodily harm; 10 years in prison
  • Death or bodily harm; Life in prison

If you’re convicted of a charge that involves 1 kg or more of heroin, you’ll face a minimum of:

1st offense

  • No death or bodily harm; 10 years in prison
  • Death or bodily harm; 20 years in prison

2nd offense

  • No death or bodily harm; 20 years in prison
  • Death or bodily harm; Life in prison

Third offense

  • Life in prison

Cocaine

If you’re convicted of a charge that involves 500 g or more of cocaine, but less than 5 kg of cocaine, you’ll face a minimum of:

First offense

  • No death or bodily harm; Five years in prison
  • Death or bodily harm; 20 years in prison

Second offense and subsequent

  • No death or bodily harm; 10 years in prison
  • Death or bodily harm; Life in prison

If you’re convicted of a charge that involves 5kg or more of cocaine, you’ll face a minimum of:

First offense

  • No death or bodily harm; 10 years in prison
  • Death or bodily harm; 20 years in prison

Second offense

  • No death or bodily harm; 20 years in prison
  • Death or bodily harm; Life in prison

Third offense

  • Life in prison

Crack

If you’re convicted of a charge that involves 28 g or more of crack, but less than 280 g of crack, you’ll face a minimum of:

First offense

  • No death or bodily harm; Five years in prison
  • Death or bodily harm; 20 years in prison

Second offense and subsequent

  • No death or bodily harm; 10 years in prison
  • Death or bodily harm; Life in prison

If you’re convicted of a charge that involves 280 g or more of crack, you’ll face a minimum of:

First offense

  • No death or bodily harm; 10 years in prison
  • Death or bodily harm; 20 years in prison

Second offense

  • No death or bodily harm; 20 years in prison
  • Death or bodily harm; Life in prison

Third offense

  • Life in prison

PCP

If you’re convicted of a charge that involves 10 g or more of pure PCP or 100 g or more of mixed PCP, but less than 100 g of pure PCP or 1 kg of mixed PCP, you’ll face a minimum of:

First offense

  • No death or bodily harm; Five years in prison
  • Death or bodily harm; 20 years in prison

Second offense and subsequent

  • No death or bodily harm; 10 years in prison
  • Death or bodily harm; Life in prison

If you’re convicted of a charge that involves 100 g of pure PCP or 1 kg of mixed PCP, you’ll face a minimum of:

First offense

  • No death or bodily harm; 10 years in prison
  • Death or bodily harm; 20 years in prison

Second offense

  • No death or bodily harm; 20 years in prison
  • Death or bodily harm; Life in prison

Third offense

  • Life in prison

Meth

If you’re convicted of a charge that involves more than 5 g of pure meth or 50 g of mixed meth, but less than 50 g of pure meth or 500 g of mixed meth, you’ll face a minimum of:

First offense

  • No death or bodily harm; Five years in prison
  • Death or bodily harm; 20 years in prison

Second offense and subsequent

  • No death or bodily harm; 10 years in prison
  • Death or bodily harm; Life in prison

If you’re convicted of a charge that involves more than 50 g of 500 g of mixed meth, you’ll face a minimum of:

First offense

  • No death or bodily harm; Five years in prison
  • Death or bodily harm; 20 years in prison

Second offense and subsequent

  • No death or bodily harm; 10 years in prison
  • Death or bodily harm; Life in prison

If you’re convicted of a charge that involves more than 50 g of 500 g of mixed meth, you’ll face a minimum of:

First offense

  • No death or bodily harm; 10 years in prison
  • Death or bodily harm; 20 years in prison

Second offense

  • No death or bodily harm – 20 years in prison
  • Death or bodily harm – Life in prison

Third offense

  • Life in prison

LSD

If you’re convicted of a charge that involves 1 g or more of LSD, but less than 10 g of LSD, you’ll face a minimum of:

First offense

  • No death or bodily harm; Five years in prison
  • Death or bodily harm; 20 years in prison

Second offense and subsequent

  • No death or bodily harm; 10 years in prison
  • Death or bodily harm; Life in prison

If you’re convicted of a charge that involves 10 g or more of LSD, you’ll face a minimum of:

First offense

  • No death or bodily harm; 10 years in prison
  • Death or bodily harm; 20 years in prison
  • Second offense

    • No death or bodily harm; 20 years in prison
    • Death or bodily harm; Life in prison

    Third offense

    • Life in prison

    Distribution near a school

    The law is particularly strict when drug offenses occur near a school or similar facility. If you’re convicted of distributing drugs near a school or something that is like a school, you face:

    First offense

    • One year or the minimum for the type and quantity of drugs you distributed, whichever is longer.

    2nd offense

    • Three years or the minimum for the type and quantity of drugs you distributed, whichever is longer.

    3rd offense

    • Twenty-one years or the minimum for the type and quantity of drugs you distributed, whichever is longer.

    If you’ve been charged with a federal drug offense, the prosecution is actively working to prepare a case against you. Given the seriousness of the consequences you face if convicted, you need someone on your side who knows the law. Lori has over ten years experience in defending federal drug cases. Don’t wait until it’s too late. Get help now give yourself the best chance at avoiding these life-changing penalties.

    Ready to Speak with an Attorney?

    Contact Lori Murray to discuss your situation.

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