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Drug Conspiracy Charges Lawyers

November 2, 2021 Federal Criminal Attorneys
Drug Conspiracy Charges
Federal drug conspiracy charges are serious and should not be taken lightly. You can be convicted of participating in a drug conspiracy even if the underlying drug crime is not successful or completed. A federal drug conspiracy occurs when two or more people agree to commit a drug crime in violation of federal drug laws. Before you can be found guilty of a drug conspiracy, the Assistant U.S. Attorney assigned to prosecute your case will have to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you and one or more other people agreed to violate a federal drug law and that you and each of your alleged co-conspirators knew about the illegal agreement and joined in it. If you have been indicted for a federal drug conspiracy charge, you should talk to an experienced federal criminal defense lawyer at the Spodek Law Group as soon as possible.

What Are the Types of Drug Conspiracy Charges?

Multiple federal drug offenses are listed in 21 U.S.C. § 841 and 21 U.S.C. § 952. Under 21 U.S.C. § 846, you can face drug conspiracy charges if you conspire with one or more people to commit any violations of the federal drug laws, including conspiring to do one of the following things:

  • Manufacture a controlled substance
  • Distribute a controlled substance
  • Possess a controlled substance with the intent to distribute it
  • Import a controlled substance

You can face drug conspiracy charges even if the underlying drug crime was not completed as long as the federal prosecutor can prove the elements of a drug conspiracy.

Penalties for a Drug Conspiracy Offense

Under the conspiracy statute, the sentence you might face for participating in a drug conspiracy will be the same sentence you would have received for the underlying drug crime. The potential penalties you might face for a federal drug conspiracy conviction will vary, depending on the types of drugs and their amounts that were involved.

If the drug involved is marijuana, the potential penalties for a drug conspiracy conviction include the following:

  • No alleged quantity – Zero to 20 years
  • 100 kg to 999 kg – Five to 40 years
  • 1,000 kg and above – 10 years to life

If the drug involved is cocaine or crack cocaine, the following potential penalties will apply:

  • No quantity alleged – Zero to 20 years
  • 500 grams of cocaine or 28 grams of crack cocaine – Five to 40 years
  • 5 kg of cocaine or 280 grams of crack cocaine – 10 years to life

If the drug involved is methamphetamine, the following potential penalties will apply:

  • No quantity alleged – Zero to 20 years
  • Five grams to 49 grams – Five to 40 years
  • 50g + – 10 years to life

If the substance alleged is heroin, the following penalties will apply:

  • No quantity alleged – Zero to 20 years
  • 100 grams + – Five to 40 years
  • 1 kg or more – 10 years to life

Drug conspiracies involving opioids, including fentanyl and its analogs, are also prosecuted by law enforcement. While fentanyl is classified as a Schedule II drug, fentanyl analogs are classified as Schedule I drugs. Drug crimes involving these drugs do not carry mandatory minimum sentences.

Potential Sentence Enhancements in Drug Conspiracies

Several sentencing enhancers can greatly increase the mandatory minimums under the Federal Sentencing Guidelines for drug conspiracy charges. It is important to understand the potential enhancements for drug crimes since they can add substantial amounts of time to the minimum mandatory sentence a defendant might be ordered to serve if convicted.

The two most common sentencing enhancements used in drug conspiracy cases include the following:

  • A person dies or is seriously injured after using the substance involved in the conspiracy.
  • The defendant to the drug conspiracy charge has at least one prior allegeable felony drug conviction.

If a person is seriously injured or dies because of using the drug involved in the conspiracy, the government will have to prove that the person would not have sustained serious injuries or have died except for the fact that he or she ingested the drug involved in the conspiracy.

If you are charged with participating in a drug conspiracy and have one or more prior felony drug convictions, the government is required to notify you and the court that it will be seeking the sentencing enhancement under 21 U.S.C. § 851. The notice must identify the potential allegeable felony conviction or convictions upon which the government is basing its request for an enhancement.

Potential Defenses to Drug Conspiracy Charges

A conviction for participating in a drug conspiracy can result in years in prison and substantial fines. However, it is possible to successfully defend against this charge with the help of an experienced federal criminal defense attorney. A lawyer might hold the prosecutor to the burden of proving the following elements:

  • There was an agreement between you and at least one other person.
  • You were aware that the conspiracy existed.
  • Despite your knowledge, you voluntarily agreed to join it.

Some of the potential defenses that might be asserted include the following:

  • You did not have an agreement with one or more other people to commit a federal drug crime.
  • You were unaware of an agreement between two or more others.
  • You did not agree to join an agreement.
  • You agreed, but only while under duress or coercion.
  • The police conducted an illegal search.
  • You withdrew from the agreement.

Other defenses might also apply. Your defense attorney can talk to you about the defenses that might be available to you based on the facts and circumstances of your case.

Get Help from the Spodek Law Group

Federal drug conspiracy charges are very serious and could result in a sentence of decades in prison. If you have been indicted on drug conspiracy charges, you should retain an experienced federal criminal defense lawyer as soon as possible. Contact the Spodek Law Group today to schedule a consultation.

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