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Maryland Federal Drug Conspiracy Lawyer
Federal drug laws contain harsh mandatory minimum sentences that can result in decades in prison for manufacturing, distributing, or possessing drugs with intent to distribute. Federal conspiracy laws have resulted in even low-level individuals in the drug trade facing serious charges. Whenever you are accused of drug crimes, it is important to speak with a Maryland federal drug conspiracy lawyer. Your attorney can help you develop a strategy for responding to the charges if you do however, find yourself in circumstances where you are being prosecuted, a federal drug conspiracy lawyer can assist in negotiating with federal prosecutors to protect your rights.
Charges related to drug conspiracy are often difficult for the government to prove. Many times people are being interrogated for participation in a drug conspiracy the know nothing about or had no part in. A federal drug conspiracy lawyer can assist you in making sure a wrongful investigation in terminated so you can move on with your life.
Federal Laws on Drug Conspiracy
The federal government defines the offense of conspiracy in 18 U.S. Code section 371. Conspiracy occurs when:
- Two or more individuals plan together to defraud or commit a criminal offense against the U.S. or any U.S. agency, and
- Any of the individuals participates in some act that begins the process of committing the fraud or criminal offense.
Conspiracy is a separate offense from any drug crimes you are convicted of, and you can be fined and face up to five years of incarceration. If the offense you conspire to commit is a misdemeanor, the punishment for conspiring to commit the crime cannot exceed the maximum sentence for that offense.
Most drug offenses are not misdemeanors and have very long prison sentences. Mandatory minimum sentences exist for possession with intent to sell,or for the manufacture and distribution of drugs, including heroin, cocaine, crack, PCP, and LSD. The government will assume you are manufacturing, selling, or distributing drugs if you have very large quantities of illegal substances. For example:
- 21 U.S.C. section 841 imposes a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years of incarceration if you have more than one kilogram of heroin; five kilograms of cocaine; 280 grams of crack; 100 grams of pure PCP; 10 grams of LSD; or 50 grams of methamphetamine. With two prior convictions for this offense, the penalty is life in prison.
- The same federal law imposes a mandatory minimum sentence of five years incarceration for having more than 100 grams of heroin; 500 grams of cocaine;; 10 grams of pure PCP; one gram of LSD; or 5 grams of pure methamphetamine. For a third offense, the penalty is also life in prison.
These are just some of the many drug offenses that can result in years of prison time. The U.S.Code makes clear that you face these penalties if you are involved in any way with facilitating the manufacture, possession, and/or sale of these quantities of drugs. This means you could be charged:
- Even if you were only a part of a plot to manufacture or sell drugs for a brief period of time.
- Even if you never personally had any drugs in your possession.
- Even if you never actually did anything to further the conspiracy, as long as you were intentionally involved in an effort to commit the drug offense.
Conspiracy laws have been interpreted so broadly that if you simply were to tell someone how to make methamphetamine and had reason to believe he would follow your advice, you could end up being held legally responsible for the methamphetamine that person manufactured.
How a Maryland Federal Drug Conspiracy Lawyer Can Help
There are options to defend against drug conspiracy charges, and you need to understand all legal approaches to try to avoid a lengthy prison sentence. A Maryland federal drug conspiracy lawyer can assist you in raising defenses, including:
- Illegal search: Evidence collected illegally cannot be used against you.
- Lack of voluntary participation in a conspiracy: You did not intentionally become involved in an effort to commit a drug crime.
- Entrapment: You were tricked into participating in a conspiracy.
- Insufficient evidence: No conviction can be obtained if the prosecutor cannot prove a case against you beyond a reasonable doubt.
Many drug conspiracy cases are made based on testimony from cooperating witnesses and confidential informants. A Maryland federal drug conspiracy lawyer may be able to help you avoid conviction by becoming a witness for the state, or may be able to assist in negotiating a plea bargain to face lesser charges or lesser penalties.
You need an attorney familiar with federal criminal laws when you have been charged with any conspiracy or drug crimes. Contact a Maryland federal drug conspiracy lawyer as soon as possible when you are arrested or under investigation.