Federal Drug Crimes
Anyone who is found cultivating, trafficking or manufacturing drugs in any area which is considered federal land could face federal drug charges. In some instances, distribution or manufacture to children under the age of 21, distribution in a school zone or working with someone under the age of 18 to distribute may also be charged under federal law. In some instances, the prosecutor may determine that it would be more beneficial to pursue charges under federal drug laws.
Federal Cultivation Charges
Cultivation means the combining of drugs or in the case of marijuana, the growing of the drug. In the case of marijuana, if you are found to have between one and 49 plants in your possession at the time of your arrest, you could be facing federal cultivation charges which can result in up to five years in prison and fines of up to $250,000 for a first time conviction. Subsequent convictions could result in fines of up to $500,000 and jail time of up to 10 years.
Federal Manufacturing Crimes
Drug manufacturing charges are extremely serious and should be taken seriously. Even if you are merely assisting someone by offering to assist in measuring ingredients to make LSD or if you assist someone in the process of “cooking” methamphetamine, you could be facing manufacturing charges on the federal level. The federal penalties for manufacturing are nearly identical to those of cultivation; again, the more drugs you have on hand, the higher the fines and the longer the potential jail time.
Federal Drug Trafficking Crimes
Federal drug trafficking laws are very harsh; sentencing for less than four ounces of heroin with an intent to distribute could mean you are facing a minimum of five years in prison with the potential for the sentence to be as long as 40 years. Fines can be as high as $5 million for a first-time offender. Second and subsequent offenses will result in a mandatory 10 years in jail.
Federal Forgery & Fraud
When someone steals a prescription drug pad, creates a prescription drug pad on their home or work computer, they could face federal charges of forging a prescription or prescription drug fraud. These charges are often filed if there is reason to believe you have mailed an illegal prescription to another person; particularly across state lines.
Federal Conspiracy Charges
In the same manner a local prosecutor must demonstrate you have violated Pennsylvania drug laws, the federal prosecutor also has a burden of proof. In order to prove you have violated federal drug laws as part of a conspiracy the prosecutor must be able to demonstrate:
- There was an agreement to violate drug laws
- Each person involved in the conspiracy knew about the agreement
- That someone involved took specific action to advance the conspiracy
Facing Federal Charges
In nearly all cases, federal drug charge convictions will carry heavier penalties if you already have a criminal record, if someone was seriously injured or died and the severity of the crimes you are being charged with. In addition, the more drugs you are in possession of at the time of your arrest, the higher the sentence may be.
Being arrested and charged under Pennsylvania drug laws is worrisome enough, however, if you are facing federal drug charges, there is even more to worry about. Federal controlled substance laws are very harsh and in some cases, you could be looking at minimum jail time as well as thousands of dollars in fines. You will need an aggressive criminal defense attorney who is familiar with both Pennsylvania’s drug laws and federal drug laws and has the experience necessary to help you fight these charges.