You don't necessarily have to actually touch drugs in a drug scenario at the federal level to be held responsible for a criminal conspiracy. A conspiracy involves two or more people getting together with a common criminal purpose. For example, three people get together and decide to be involved in a drug scheme. One person provides the money, another person provides transportation and another person supplies the drugs. Each of them is involved in the conspiracy.
They all knew the extent of the conspiracy and all could foresee what was going to happen. All agreed to be involved in the conspiracy. Each one of those people would be guilty if they were caught and prosecuted. The government could prove that they were involved in an agreement to move drugs.
Even though two out of those three people had nothing to do with drugs and have never touched drugs before, they are involved in a conspiracy to move drugs. They are going to be responsible for each of their co-conspirators' acts as though they were touching the drugs themselves.
This is where you have to sit down with a federal criminal defense attorney and tell him what your involvement was or was not. Let him explain to you whether or not he believes you were involved or whether you should not be held accountable because you were not involved in the conspiracy.
Can I Face Additional Charges Such As Racketeering?
You can face additional charges such as tax evasion, money laundering or racketeering in addition to federal drug charges at the federal level. It is pretty common when someone is charged with being involved in a large drug conspiracy that they are also charged with a RICO violation.
They are also charged with other offenses like money laundering as that is all part of a drug conspiracy. Money has to be moved and drugs have to be moved. People are moving things so it's common that they are charged with multiple counts.
I have defended many cases over the last 25 years where people were charged with RICO. They were charged with a large quantity of drugs. They were charged with structuring. They were charged with money laundering. It doesn't happen in every single case. They are going to look at the facts of the case and what the particular person did.
If you didn't do anything involved with money laundering then obviously you are not going to be charged for that, but these are all things that go hand in hand with big drug conspiracy cases at the federal level.
What Is Drug Trafficking?
Drug trafficking has to do with moving drugs or drug proceeds either interstate, within a state or moving it from state to state. The trafficking of it has to do with when you are actually involved with the sales. You are involved with the possession for sale, with the supplying and with trafficking or moving of the drugs with the purpose of doing it in order to make money. Obviously, the drug has to be illegal.
Once you plead guilty to certain charges in a federal case, then a lot of times other charges will be dismissed at the time of your sentencing. It seems highly unlikely that you would be charged with other charges relating to those same charges you pled guilty to. If in other jurisdictions or even in the same jurisdiction, you have a completely separate case then you could be charged with that charge because it has nothing to do with the charge that you are pleading guilty to and with the charge that you decided to enter into a federal plea agreement.
Should I Take My Federal Drug Case To a Jury Trial?
In determining whether to take a federal drug case in front of a jury and let a jury decide whether you are innocent or guilty of each of the charges, you are going to want to sit down with your attorney. You need to be completely honest and give him all the details without putting a spin on it and then let your attorney review all the discovery.
You should review all the discovery related to the case, the arrest reports and all the evidence that the Feds have on the case and then with the advice of your attorney decide whether or not the case should go to trial. You need to know what the ramifications are of going to trial and losing.
You need to know what evidence the government has against you and how likely they are to prove that you are guilty of a crime. You need to know what defenses you have and what the likelihood of success is should you take the case to a jury trial and assert those defenses. This is where an attorney who has a lot of experience comes in. An attorney who has done federal drug cases in front of a jury before and had success knows what it takes to win a case. He knows when it's time to enter into a plea negotiation with the federal prosecutors because a jury will not end in a good result for you.
Punishment For A Federal Drug Conviction
Whether or not the punishment for a federal drug conviction is more severe than at the state level depends on what you are being convicted of in a drug offense. There are some state cases where the person is involved with so many drugs, weapons, and violence that they could get a lot more time than a federal case where it's just a simple possession for sale of a small amount of narcotics.
I've been doing both state and federal cases for the past 25 years and it's fair to say that if the Feds have your drug case then you are in a position where you are in big trouble and you need the assistance of the best criminal defense attorney you can find. These federal cases are usually much more serious and the person is usually looking at much more time than if they've been indicted for a federal drug offense.
For more information on Federal Drug Conspiracy Charges, a free initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (213) 542-0979 today.