Tampa Federal Narcotics Defense Lawyer
The federal “War on Drugs” continues at a rapid pace across the nation. Multiple government agencies such as the Drug Enforcement Administration and the FBI aggressively investigate alleged drug trafficking and distribution. As a result, millions of people are serving in jails and prisons around the country for drug crimes.
At O’Mara Law Group, we realize that federal prosecutors often go overboard when charging drug crimes. Many innocent people are caught up in government stings, or they made a simple mistake which should not result in a felony conviction and time in prison. If you’ve been arrested, please contact one of our Tampa federal narcotics defense lawyers today.
Types of Criminal Charges
Prosecutors can bring federal charges against someone for manufacturing, trafficking, distributing, or possessing an illegal substance. Charges are also possible for drug paraphernalia, which is any item for the use or distribution of a drug.
Many people have a question about how the law regulates prescription drugs. For example, many controlled substances are legal for medical use, which is why a doctor prescribes them. So long as a person uses the drug according to the prescription, then it is not illegal to possess or use the drug. However, trying to give, sell, or distribute prescription drugs to someone else would qualify as a crime.
Which Drugs are Controlled?
The federal government maintains five schedules of controlled substances. The severity of the criminal charges depends on which schedule comes into play, with Schedule I drugs seeing the stiffest sentences. Here are some of the more common substances on the schedules:
- Schedule I: LSD, heroin, marijuana
- Schedule II: oxycodone, fentanyl, cocaine, Ritalin
- Schedule III: codeine, testosterone, anabolic steroids
- Schedule IV: valium, Xanax
- Schedule V: over-the-counter medications containing small amounts of codeine, such as cough syrup
Of particular note, marijuana is listed as a Schedule I substance even though Florida has decriminalized it for medical use.
Federal Penalties for Drug Offenses
The penalties a person faces for a drug offense will depend on several factors, such as the type of substance, the amount, and where the offense took place (such as near a school). A defendant’s criminal history will also impact the ultimate sentence.
Some drugs carry a minimum sentence. Mandatory minimums are controversial but still send countless people to prison for years. For example, possessing 5 kilograms of cocaine will result in at least 10 years in prison for a first offense. If someone dies or is seriously injured, then the mandatory minimum is 20 years. Similarly, 1 gram of LSD can result in a mandatory minimum of 5 years for a first offense.
Why Your Choice of Attorney Matters
The best defense to federal narcotics charges begins even before trial starts. In some situations, federal authorities seized drugs illegally because they lacked a search warrant or probable cause. An officer cannot barge into someone’s home or place of business based on a mere hunch that a person harbors drugs on site.
At O’Mara Law Group, our team knows how to file motions to suppress illegally-obtained evidence. If successful, we can often get charges dismissed or reduced. When prosecutors cannot introduce the drugs themselves, many cases fall apart.
If you have no criminal history, your odds of a favorable plea deal increase. But no one should expect the prosecutor to offer a generous deal.
Contact a Tampa Federal Narcotics Defense Attorney
Federal drug charges are some of the scariest a defendant can face. Fortunately, O’Mara Law Group can push back against the charges while protecting our clients’ rights. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation.