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Federal Drug Charges

Federal drug crime charges are extremely serious, and you need to act quickly to get a criminal defense attorney if you are facing charges filed in federal court. Since federal agencies go to great lengths to identify those traffickers who play a major role in the drug trade, you need to ensure you have legal counsel that is experienced in defending serious drug crimes in federal court.

Specific penalties depend heavily upon the type of drug involved in the offense as well as the quantity that it is alleged you were involved in selling. Federal drug trafficking penalties are extremely harsh, with the sentences ranging 5 years to life in prison. The financial penalties associated with a federal drug trafficking conviction can also be very significant, reaching well into the millions , forfeiture of assets and other repercussions.

Federal Drug Trafficking Sentence Reductions

If you or a loved one has been convicted of drug trafficking, a recent vote by the U.S. Sentencing Commission may favor you. In April, it was unanimously decided that the guidelines for drug trafficking sentences will be amended, which pending approval from Congress, will allow for delayed retroactive reductions. Essentially, this means that in November of 2014, judges may begin reviewing cases of current drug trafficking offenders to evaluate their eligibility for reduced sentences. If the amendment stands and an offender is found eligible, reductions can take effect as of November 1st, 2015.

The purpose of this amendment is to regulate the costs and populations of federal prisons. According to the Federal Bureau of Prisons, prison populations are currently exceeding capacity by an estimated 32%. The US Sentencing Commission predicts that this amendment can provide relief in the following ways:

  • 46,290 offenders will be eligible to petition for their cases to be reviewed by a judge for reduction
  • If approved, offenders can see sentences reduced by 18.8%, which averages to 25 months, while still serving an average of 108 months
  • These reductions can, over time, amount to a savings of up to 79,740 bed years, or years in which a prisoner occupies a bed

Why the delay?

The year before sentence reductions go into effect is intended to allow adequate time for judges to assess all possible petitions they receive. While dedicated to solving the problem of prison overpopulation, the government still places high priority on public safety. In a study done after a similar amendment in 2007, it was found that offenders released early were no more likely to reoffend than those who served full original sentences. However, judges will still take the time to evaluate each individual case to assess risks to public safety and ensure that a prisoner can successfully reenter society. Additionally, the time will be utilized by the Federal Office of Probation and Pretrial Services and the Federal Bureau of Prisons to ensure that they are adequately prepared for all necessary transitional services and supervision for released offenders.

Petition for a Reduction

The high focus on maintaining public safety means that offenders interested in petitioning must present their best case to a judge that showcases an honest readiness and ability to reenter society. Thus, it is essential that you hire an attorney who is committed to your case and can provide legal guidance for reflecting the quality of character that a judge will seek in their assessments. I have the experience and dedication to provide you with a defense you can trust.

Long Term Collateral Consequences:

  • Loss of professional license
  • Become a restricted person
  • Cannot vote:
  • Loss of employment job opportunities