Federal Drug Charges in Alameda County
Federal drug charges mirror the state courts in the sense that possession is far less serious than dealing, trafficking, or distribution. The Drug Enforcement Agency is a federal law enforcement agency responsible for handling the matters of controlled substances.
If someone is accused of possessing even a small personal-use only amount of a drug like cocaine, it could potentially be a felony offense. Additionally, even though it is legal to possess marijuana in California, it is still against federal law, and if caught in Alameda County, it may lead to federal drug charges in the Northern District of California especially if there is trafficking, sales, or cultivation involved. In the wake of a drug charge, it is essential that a defendant gets in touch with a dedicated federal drug attorney to help protect their rights.
What Makes a Drug Offense Federal?
In order for the federal government to become involved in the prosecution of a crime, they must have jurisdiction over the type of crime and where it was committed. One of the most common ways the federal government gets involved with a drug case is when a controlled substance is brought across state lines. The charge may become even more serious if a drug is trafficked into the United States from another country.
Additionally, anytime someone crosses a border with large quantities of drugs or money that has been gained from the sale of illegal narcotics. If taxes are not paid on those profits, the defendant may be prosecuted by the Internal Revenue Service.
The Severity of Federal Versus State Charges
The federal government usually only goes after people that are moving large amounts of illegal drugs, are bringing narcotics into the country or across state lines. Naturally, the consequences of these charges are far more severe than basic possession charges from the state or county.
Additionally, federal judges have a mathematical calculation accounting for any prior offenses, the amount of the drug, and many other factors to give a prescribed sentence. As a result, judges have very little latitude to show leniency or discretion when passing a sentence. The result is that the consequences may be significantly more severe when someone is facing federal drug charges in Alameda County.
Federal Drug Offense Penalties
A conviction on a federal drug charge generally results in lengthy periods of incarceration. If someone finds themselves in a federal court, the penalties are almost never light. When judges do exercise their discretion to alter a sentence from the federal guidelines, it is nearly always to impose a harsher sentence on the convicted individual. It is possible that these charges may be dropped or beaten if there are any fourth amendment violations or the evidence is insufficient, but if a conviction is secured, the penalties are almost always severe.
An Experienced Attorney Could Help You Fight Federal Charges
When determining a just punishment at sentencing, a person may be eligible for what is called a minor role reduction. This is meant to help people who only play a small role in the trafficking of large quantities of drugs. Most of the people who serve as mules to ferry drugs across borders are only doing dirty work for drug kingpins, the people the federal government actually wants to convict. There are also reductions available for people who cooperate with the federal government or resolve their matters early.
If you are facing federal drug charges in Alameda County, it is imperative that you start working with an experienced legal team right away. Federal charges are particularly serious and could lead to decades or even life in prison. Call right away to get started on your case.