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What Are the Penalties for a Federal Drug Trafficking Conviction?

 Posted on May 24, 2023 in Drug Offenses

naperville drug trafficking defense lawyerWhether they are handled at the state or federal level, drug-related offenses are taken very seriously, and those who are convicted are likely to face harsh penalties. In many cases, the most serious drug charges will involve accusations of drug trafficking. Large-scale schemes in which controlled substances are imported into the United States, transported across state lines, or distributed to people in multiple jurisdictions may lead to federal drug charges for those who have allegedly been involved in this activity. Anyone who is being investigated for offenses related to drug trafficking at the federal level will need to understand the potential penalties they may face and their options for defending against these charges.

Federal Drug Trafficking Charges

The laws of the United States have made it illegal to distribute controlled substances to others, with some exceptions, such as prescription drugs being dispensed to patients by doctors or pharmacists. It is also illegal to manufacture illegal drugs, possess drugs with the intent of distributing them to others, or possess chemicals that may be used to manufacture controlled substances. While accusations of drug possession or drug manufacturing and distribution may result in state-level charges, cases involving large amounts of controlled substances or the distribution of drugs to people in multiple jurisdictions are more likely to result in federal charges.

The specific types and amounts of drugs involved in a case will determine the penalties that may apply for a conviction. Harsher penalties will usually apply in situations involving large amounts of drugs, including one or more kilograms of heroin, five or more kilograms of cocaine, 50 or more grams of methamphetamine, or 1,000 or more kilograms of marijuana. In these cases, a person convicted of drug trafficking may be sentenced to between 10 years and life in prison, and they may be fined a maximum of $10 million. In situations where someone was seriously injured or died due to the use of the drugs involved in a case, a person may be sentenced to 20 years to life.

In cases involving smaller amounts of drugs, including between 100 grams and one kilogram of heroin, between 500 grams and five kilograms of cocaine, five to 50 grams of methamphetamine, or 100 to 1,000 kilograms of marijuana, a person may face less serious penalties. However, a conviction on drug trafficking charges in these situations may still result in a prison sentence of five to 40 years and a maximum fine of $5 million.

In addition to incarceration and fines, a person who is convicted of drug trafficking may face other penalties as well. The government may seize any assets that were believed to be related to drug trafficking or purchased with money earned from these activities, including bank accounts, vehicles, boats, or real estate property. A person may be required to serve a term of probation following their release from prison, and during this time, they may need to regularly check in with law enforcement officials and undergo drug testing. A federal drug conviction will also remain on a person's criminal record, affecting their employment prospects and their overall reputation.

Contact a DuPage County Federal Drug Charges Defense Lawyer

Federal drug trafficking cases are complex, and they may involve multiple government agencies and a variety of different types of evidence. Those who are facing drug trafficking charges will need to make sure they are represented by a lawyer who has experience defending clients in federal courts. At Law Office of Philip R. Nathe, our Naperville federal drug trafficking attorney can provide invaluable legal help in these situations. We will explore all the potential defenses and determine the best approach to take to prevent a conviction or reduce the penalties a defendant may face. Contact our firm at 630-416-7600 to schedule a free consultation and begin building a winning defense strategy.


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