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What are the penalties for federal drug trafficking charges?

Due to the detrimental effects of drugs and other illegal substances, Florida has enacted some of the toughest drug laws in the United States. Readers should note that many drug crimes can be prosecuted on either a state or federal level. If you are facing drug charges and are going to be prosecuted in a state court, you are dealing with less serious charges as compared to federal drug charges. Federal drug charges can trigger mandatory minimum prison sentences and hefty fines.

Federal drug charges involve Schedule I, II, III, IV and V substances, with the exception of marijuana. The type of drug and the quantity seized can determine the potential consequences that come with a conviction on federal charges.

If you get caught as an individual carrying 500 to 4,999 grams of cocaine, even as a first-time offender, you can be sentenced to a minimum of five years up and up to 40 years of prison time. You can also be fined up to five million dollars for the offense. The same penalties are applied if you get caught carrying 40 to 399 grams of fentanyl and 5 to 49 grams of pure methamphetamine. The penalties become harsher if you get caught with a larger quantity of drugs. The type of drug also dictates the penalties involved. For instance, if you were arrested for possession of five kilograms of cocaine, you can be sentenced to a minimum of 10 years in prison. You can also be fined up to ten million dollars.

If you are dealing with federal drug charges, you must take the matter very seriously. A legal professional who is adept in handling drug charges and has knowledge in the federal justice system can give you sound advice on how to deal with the case. You may also seek legal assistance to craft a strong criminal defense.

Source: United States Drug Enforcement Administration, "Federal trafficking penalties," accessed on Oct. 23, 2014

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