Conspiracy Law in Federal Drug Distribution Cases
If you’ve been charged with federal drug conspiracy in Virginia, you need to know more about the charges and possible defenses. And you need a lawyer immediately.
A conspiracy is an agreement between two or more individuals to commit a crime and an overt act to carry out that agreement. Conspiracy law in federal drug distribution cases is the legal framework used to prosecute individuals or groups involved in conspiracies related to manufacturing, distributing, possessing, and trafficking illegal drugs.
The statute most commonly used by federal prosecutors in these cases is 21 U.S.C. § 846. The Controlled Substances Act is a federal law that classifies drugs into different schedules based on their potential for abuse and medical use.
Definition of Drug Conspiracy Charges
Prosecutors may include one or all types of drug conspiracy charges against a defendant. There are four types of conspiracy charges:
- Manufacturing of a Controlled Substance: This charge refers to growing, extracting, processing, or any other action used to manufacture or produce illegal drugs.
- Importation of a Controlled Substance: Importation charges apply to bringing illegal drugs into the country by any means or type of transportation.
- Distribution of a Controlled Substance: Even if no money is exchanged, it is illegal to distribute controlled substances by any method.
- Possession of a Controlled Substance with the Intent to Distribute: This charge refers to possessing drugs with the intention to sell or distribute them.
Penalties for drug conspiracy convictions accumulate with the number of charges. There may be additional charges for carrying or using a firearm, breaking and entering, and other associated crimes.
How Conspiracy Law Affects Defendants
Prosecutors might bring conspiracy charges against individuals even if the actual distribution did not occur. Individuals do not have to handle or distribute drugs themselves to face conspiracy charges directly. Any peripheral action or assistance, including financial support and transportation, is enough for federal prosecutors to charge someone with conspiracy.
Conspiracy charges in federal drug distribution cases carry severe penalties, including lengthy prison sentences, substantial fines, and forfeiture of assets. Sentencing for conspiracy convictions is generally based on the quantity and type of drugs involved, the defendant’s role in the conspiracy, and any prior criminal history.
Common Defenses to Conspiracy Charges
An attorney familiar with federal drug cases can provide a vigorous defense based on a specific situation. Here are common strategies used to defend individuals facing federal drug conspiracy charges:
- Lack of knowledge: It is possible to challenge the conspiracy charge if the defense shows that an individual was unaware of any agreement or plan to distribute drugs.
- Lack of intent: Another possible defense is showing a lack of intent to participate in the alleged drug conspiracy.
- Lack of agreement: The prosecution must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that an agreement or understanding existed between the defendant and others to commit an illegal act.
- Insufficient evidence: It is possible to challenge conspiracy charges based on insufficient evidence.
- Constitutional violations: Individuals may challenge conspiracy charges on constitutional grounds or seek to exclude evidence obtained by unlawful search and seizure.
- Duress or coercion: Another defense is showing that an individual faced the threat of harm or death if they did not participate in the drug conspiracy.
- Entrapment: This defense argues that law enforcement officers induced the defendant into a conspiracy in which they would not have otherwise participated.
It’s important to note that defenses against drug conspiracy charges can be complex and may vary depending on each case’s specific facts and circumstances.
Contact Us Today
If you face federal drug conspiracy charges in Roanoke, Virginia, contact a skilled criminal defense attorney to assess your case and protect your rights. For over 30 years, our attorneys have helped clients achieve the best possible outcome with sound legal knowledge and compassionate guidance. Contact Strickland, Diviney & Segura today at (540) 982-7787 or reach out to us online.