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Drug Trafficking

Drug trafficking is one of the most serious drug-related charges a person can face, and in an effort to quell the drug epidemic sweeping the nation, state and federal authorities are cracking down on drug trafficking offenses. In fact, according to the Department of Justice, the sale and manufacturing of drugs accounts for nearly one-fifth of all drug-related arrests in the United States. Federal drug trafficking charges can result in costly fines and incarceration in state or federal prison, as well as a personal and professional future limited by a criminal record. If you have been arrested for a serious federal offense like drug trafficking, or if you are under investigation for drug trafficking, your rights, and your freedom may be at stake. Contact Daniel R. Perlman and his team of federal criminal defense attorneys today to schedule a free consultation and case evaluation. As a trial-tested criminal defense attorney, Daniel Perlman knows how to prepare an effective drug trafficking defense. With the knowledge and expertise of Federal Criminal Defense Pro in your corner, you can significantly improve your chances of getting the best possible result in your drug trafficking case.

Experienced Drug Trafficking Defense Attorney

Federal drug trafficking charges can result in a lengthy prison sentence, costly fines, seized assets and a ruined reputation, but keep in mind that federal drug trafficking cases are not put together overnight. Federal prosecutors will typically wait to file criminal charges until they have a solid case against the defendant, which can take months, and this careful, strategic compilation of evidence can make federal drug charges even harder to beat than state charges. Even so, a good criminal defense attorney knows that no drug trafficking case is a lost cause. Sometimes the authorities make a mistake during the initial stages of the investigation that violates the defendant’s rights. Say, for instance, that the drug trafficking evidence against you was obtained as a result of an illegal search and seizure of your property. A knowledgeable and aggressive defense team would capitalize on this mistake and file a motion to suppress the evidence in order to avoid a formal criminal charge.

When facing federal charges for a crime like drug trafficking, your criminal defense lawyer is your most important advocate and your most valuable legal resource, and with a proven track record of success defending clients against drug charges in state and federal court, Daniel Perlman is the best attorney for the job. As a federal drug trafficking lawyer, Daniel Perlman represents federal cases across the country, so if you have been accused of a drug crime in Los Angeles or anywhere else in the United States, and you are facing charges in federal court, Federal Criminal Defense Pro Daniel Perlman can help.

What is Drug Trafficking?

Drug trafficking, also known as drug distribution, is the criminal act of unlawfully manufacturing, selling, transporting or importing illegal drugs or controlled substances, including narcotics or prescription drugs. Drug trafficking is similar to the crime of drug possession, which involves a person being in possession of an illegal substance for personal use, but in order for drug trafficking charges to be filed, that person must also be accused of knowingly or intentionally selling, transporting or importing the drugs, or intending to sell or deliver the drugs for commercial purposes, which is a felony offense. If you were in possession of certain drug-related materials or tools at the time of your arrest, such as plastic baggies for measuring or distributing drugs, a scale for weighing drugs, or even a large amount of cash indicative of a drug trafficking operation, you could face drug trafficking charges.

What Makes Drug Trafficking a Federal Crime?

Drug trafficking is a crime under both state and federal law and federal drug charges can arise out of the sale, transportation or distribution of large quantities of drugs or the distribution of drugs across state lines. Most people think of international drug rings or professional criminals who make a living dealing drugs when they hear the term “drug trafficking,” but the truth is that under federal law (21 U.S.C. § 841), it is a crime for any person “knowingly or intentionally– (1) to manufacture, distribute, or dispense, or possess with intent to manufacture, distribute, or dispense, a controlled substance;  or (2) to create, distribute, or dispense, or possess with intent to distribute or dispense, a counterfeit substance.”

Under this federal statute, the crime of drug trafficking can even be charged against a person who is in possession of more than a certain amount of an illegal drug or controlled substance, even if the substance wasn’t sold or distributed for commercial purposes. For instance, if you are arrested with one kilogram or more of “a mixture or substance containing a detectable amount of heroin,” or 1,000 kilograms or more of “a mixture or substance containing a detectable amount of marijuana” in your possession, you could face drug trafficking charges, even if you didn’t actually sell or transport the drugs in question. This crime is also known as possession with the intent to distribute or dispense.

What is a Controlled Substance?

A controlled substance is a drug, substance or chemical whose manufacture, use or possession is regulated by the government, and under the Controlled Substances Act, such drugs are categorized into “schedules” based on their accepted medical use and potential for abuse or dependence. For instance, Schedule I drugs, like heroin and ecstasy, have a high potential for abuse and have no currently accepted medical use in the United States, while Schedule V drugs, like cough medicines containing codeine, have a relatively low potential for abuse and do have a currently accepted medical use. The following are the drugs most commonly involved in federal drug trafficking cases:

  • Marijuana
  • Heroin
  • Cocaine
  • Ecstasy
  • Methamphetamine
  • Oxycodone

Criminal Penalties for Drug Trafficking Offenses

Each state has its own laws regarding the crime of drug trafficking, but the federal government also prosecutes drug trafficking offenses, especially those involving trafficking activity that crosses state lines. Most offenders convicted of drug trafficking in federal court are sentenced to imprisonment and the federal sentencing guidelines establish both minimum and maximum penalties for drug trafficking crimes, which can vary depending on the type and amount of the drug trafficked and any other circumstances surrounding the crime. For instance, for the crime of trafficking in 1,000 kilograms or more of marijuana, the defendant may face a minimum of 10 years and a maximum of life in prison, but could instead face a minimum sentence of 15 years, if the defendant has a prior conviction for a serious drug felony or a violent felony offense. If serious bodily injury or death occurs as a result of the drug trafficking offense, the defendant could face a minimum sentence of 20 years.

In addition to a lengthy prison sentence and costly fines, there are other significant criminal penalties that defendants in federal drug trafficking cases may face, including forfeiture of all assets related to the drug trafficking operation, such as bank accounts, properties or vehicles used to commit the crime. Furthermore, as a felony offense, drug trafficking charges can result in certain immigration consequences for defendants, possibly including deportation after the defendant’s prison sentence has been served.

Defense Against Federal Drug Trafficking Charges

With the increasing drug epidemic impacting the United States, the federal government is often overzealous in prosecuting drug crimes, especially those involving the trafficking of illegal drugs, and it is the duty of your criminal defense lawyer to fight for the justice and fairness that the government doesn’t always provide. In a federal drug trafficking case, it is up to the federal prosecutor to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant committed the crime, and when you hire Daniel Perlman to represent your criminal case, he will hold the federal government to its burden of proof. Even if your drug trafficking case seems hopeless, remember that there are certain “elements” of the crime that the prosecution must establish in order to prove that you committed the crime, including the following:

To “possess” a controlled substance means you have control of the substance. Even if the controlled substance wasn’t in your physical possession at the time of your arrest, which is known as actual possession, it is still considered possession pursuant to the law if you had the power and intention to exercise control over the substance. In order for the distribution element of the drug trafficking charge to be met, the prosecutor must provide proof of the actual, constructive or attempted transfer of the substance.

Drug Trafficking Defense Strategies

Drug trafficking offenses are prosecuted harshly in both state and federal court and the legal consequences of a drug trafficking conviction can alter the course of your entire life. Fortunately, there are a number of possible defense strategies your criminal defense attorney can use in court to either get the criminal charges dropped or reduced to a lesser offense, or negotiate a favorable plea agreement that minimizes the penalties typically associated with a federal drug trafficking conviction. The following are some potential defenses against federal drug trafficking charges:

  • The prosecution doesn’t have enough evidence to prove beyond a reasonable doubt the elements of the crime of drug trafficking
  • The prosecution’s evidence was obtained as a result of an illegal search and seizure
  • The arresting officer did not have probable cause to arrest you
  • You weren’t aware of the drugs
  • You weren’t in possession of the drugs
  • You had no intent to sell or distribute the drugs
  • You were the victim of entrapment
  • You believed the substance was legal

Hiring the Right Attorney to Represent Your Case

Federal criminal cases differ a great deal from state cases, and the criminal penalties associated with a federal drug trafficking conviction can vary a great deal depending on the specific details of your individual case, which is why you need an experienced attorney on your side who can help you understand the charges against you and the consequences you could face if you are convicted of the crime. Any time you are facing charges for a federal drug crime in California, you should contact a skilled criminal defense attorney right away, before speaking to the police or making any decisions about your case, to ensure that your rights and best interests are protected.

Drug trafficking is one of the most serious drug crimes you can be accused of and hiring an attorney with experience defending against federal drug trafficking charges can mean the difference between spending the next several decades in prison and walking away free. Los Angeles criminal defense lawyer Daniel R. Perlman has represented clients in drug cases in both state and federal court, and his accomplished legal team will carefully review the facts of your drug trafficking case to ensure that you receive the best outcome possible for your specific situation. Protecting the rights of defendants accused of federal drug crimes is Daniel Perlman’s top priority, and he will explore all of the possible defenses for your drug trafficking case in order to put forth the strongest defense.

Contact Our Federal Criminal Defense Attorneys for Help

Facing any federal criminal charge is a grave matter that should be taken extremely seriously, but federal drug crimes are seen as particularly contemptable offenses in the United States, and a criminal conviction for federal drug trafficking can result in a significant term of imprisonment, possibly with a mandatory minimum sentence. If you have been accused of a crime like drug trafficking and you are facing criminal charges in a federal court, you need a seasoned and highly skilled criminal defense lawyer on your side who has experience handling federal cases and can mount a compelling defense on your behalf. Researching and exploring all possible defense strategies is critical to the potential success of your case, and it is imperative that you retain an attorney who is willing to go the extra mile to challenge the prosecution’s case and aggressively represent your defense. Contact federal criminal defense attorney Daniel R. Perlman as soon as possible to protect your rights, your freedom and your future.

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Our Clients Say

“About 3 years ago, I was in need of legal help. I was recommended to a different firm initially, but during my consultation realized I was being lied too so that with a sense of urgency, I would retain theyer services.  I left and did my own research and found Daniel Perlman. I decided to meet with him, who immediatly struck me as someone how knew what he was talking about.  He laid out all the different options for proceeding, and after defending me for about 4 months, got me the best possible outcome for my case.  Hes not the cheapest attorney, but being a small business owner, I understand that you get what you pay for, and with this firm, its money well spent.  I highly recommend his services and hope I never need them again.” – Rhett B.

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