The federal government remains heavily involved in restricting the use and sale of many controlled substances, including common street drugs as well as drugs that are only available legally by prescription.
Someone who faces drug charges in federal court will face a process that, to those unfamiliar with it, may be intimidating when compared with how the state courts of New York operate.
Furthermore, the penalties for federal narcotics crimes tend to be stiffer than those imposed in the state courts.
Federal law enforcement authorities and the United States Attorneys have a long reach with respect to prosecuting federal drug violations.
Federal drug conspiracy charges may require an assertive defense
For example, the federal government will frequently charge people with conspiracy offenses related to narcotics. In theory, this practice allows authorities to hold all of those involved in the illegal drug trade accountable for their actions.
In practice, though, conspiracy charges can sweep in someone who simply was in the wrong place at the wrong time or whose only offense was associating with people involved in the drug trade.
The laws surrounding conspiracy charges can be complicated. However, in general, anyone who appears to have agreed to participate in a drug transaction can face a conspiracy charge, no matter how minor their role in the transaction seems to be.
For example, someone who is served as a lookout may be accused of a drug conspiracy, as could someone who offers to handle drug money after the fact or who agrees to help purchase a rent a property where drugs are exchanged.
In short, a person can be accused of a drug conspiracy, and face years in prison as well as hefty fines, even if he or she never sold or even touched the narcotics in question.
Someone accused of conspiracy may well have no criminal role in the drug trade. However, he or she will still need to mount an assertive defense to counter the government’s case.