If you have been charged with a federal drug offense, it is possible to get out on bail, but the type of crime will dictate the likelihood of you getting out. For example, if you are looking at a 10 year minimum in prison at 85 percent because you are being charged with a serious drug offense involving a significant amount of weight then it would be a good argument for the government that you shouldn't be able to get out. It would be a flight risk because you know you are facing a minimum of 10 years.
Federal courts are not the same as state courts where you get a bail that a bail bondsman posts or you actually post the bail yourself. You appear in front of a magistrate judge who typically is just setting bonds on cases and people are being given their indictment.
There are cases being assigned to a particular judge that will have their case for the whole time. Your lawyer will argue on whether or not you can get out on some sort of condition, whether it is a property bond or a signature bond where somebody signs for you. Sometimes they will let you sign for yourself. Sometimes you will have family members who have collateral and money signed for you.
How Fast Can I Get Released From Federal Custody?
Typically, you can get released from federal court custody before trial very fast assuming that your attorney can get some sort of a bond set for you and you can meet that bond. For example, if a $100,000 property bond is set for you, it takes some time to set that bond.
A lot of times the judges will let you go while the paperwork is being done so the bond can be posted; that's one of the first things that your attorney can argue for you when you go to court. They typically get you into court pretty quick, sometimes on the same day or the next day. Once they get you in front of a magistrate, one of the first things that are dealt with is whether or not you are going to get out or whether you will be detained while your case is pending.
Not every single federal drug case involves asset forfeiture. In order for the authorities to try and forfeit your assets, whether it is money inside your bank or other assets, they should be able to trace the drug proceeds to those assets. For example, if you purchased a house with your drug proceeds or if you paid any payments on your mortgage with drug proceeds and they can prove it then they can try and seize that house and forfeit it.
If they are able to trace money going into a bank account then they can seize the account and try to forfeit the portion of that money which was placed in the account. Sometimes there is case law that if any of the property is paid for by drug proceeds then they can take the entire property. You start to get into issues related to innocent spouses and other people that might be involved in the property.
The bottom line is that forfeiture proceedings are typically separate than the criminal proceedings. The prosecutors have a separate forfeiture division that deals with forfeiting property, whether it is homes or other property, getting bank accounts frozen and trying to take the funds. Your federal criminal defense attorney should be the one dealing with your forfeiture issue because they will have all the facts and the details necessary to protect your interests.
Could My Federal Drug Crime Be Reduced To State Level?
Once the Feds decide to take a case it's very unlikely that your drug crime is going to go backward and be reduced and sent to the state court. Usually, if they decide to indict a person then they are going to indict them and deal with the case. I have seen quite a few people who have been prosecuted at the state level and while the prosecution at the state level is pending, somehow, for some reason the Feds become involved. They will then go to the state and request that the state dismiss the state proceedings so the federal government can then prosecute that person.
There is a scheme related to Federal drug sentences pursuant to 21 USC. § 841 that talks about the different drug crimes or different drugs. With LSD, marijuana, crack cocaine, powder cocaine, heroin, methamphetamine, and PCP there are five years, 10 years and 20 years mandatory minimums that can be involved. People can be looking at life depending on if they have a prior conviction for drug sales or possession for sale of drugs.
There is a whole scheme that looks at the type of drug and the quantity of the drugs and looks at the person's prior criminal record to determine what the person's federal sentence would be. There are ways to get around some of those mandatory minimums and those involve a safety valve. Cooperating with the government is another way that people have been able to get around mandatory minimum sentences in federal cases. Obviously, this is something you would want to discuss with your attorney.
Not everyone wants to get involved with the government. Some people who don't want to get involved in cooperating with the government would want to talk to their attorney or figure out another strategy to best deal with the federal sentencing scheme.
For more information on Getting Bail In A Federal Drug Case, a free initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (213) 542-0979 today.