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b2ap3_thumbnail_chicago-drug-crimes-defense-attorney.jpgDrug laws have changed dramatically throughout the last few decades. More and more states have legalized medicinal and recreational marijuana. Some states are even legalizing psilocybin mushrooms. However, there are still multiple state and federal laws regulating drug possession, manufacture, and sale. Violating federal drug laws can lead to significant criminal penalties, including years behind bars.

Moving Drugs Across State Lines Can Lead to Federal Charges

Drug crimes vary dramatically in terms of punishments and prison sentences. The amount of the substance and the type of substance determine the severity of drug possession charges. Manufacturing or cultivating drugs is usually penalized more harshly than simple possession. Transporting drugs may also be punished severely, especially if drugs are transported across state lines.

Many people do not realize the significance of their actions when they transport drugs across state lines. This is especially true of substances like cannabis which may be purchased legally in some states. However, even if you purchase cannabis legally in a state like Illinois which has legalized the recreational use of cannabis, you cannot take the drug out of the state. Remember, marijuana is still considered an illegal substance under federal law. Furthermore, it is classified as a Schedule I drug, which means that the penalties associated with a cannabis-related federal drug crime are high.

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Illionois defense attorney,  Illinois criminal defense lawyerPharmacists help people every day, providing the necessary medication that helps patients with their illnesses and injuries. Few pharmacists expect to receive a target letter or a federal subpoena and when they do, it is easy to imagine the worst-case scenarios. While pharmacists are often the target of prescription drug fraud investigations, it is important not to panic. There are defenses available for these cases and ways you can protect yourself.

Becoming Involved in the Government’s Investigation

Once you learn that you are under federal investigation, it is easy to want to wait it out, hope for the best, and see what happens. This is a big mistake. The Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) are overzealous in their investigations and they cannot go unchecked. A lawyer can ensure that the investigation is being conducted in accordance with the law and that you do not provide more to the investigators than you are legally obligated to.

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Posted by on in Drug Crimes

Illionois defense attorney,  Illinois criminal defense lawyerIt was at the end of October when an Illinois woman was sentenced to 20 years in federal prison after being convicted of drug trafficking. The woman was charged with selling drugs through the mail to a man in South Dakota, who later died after using the heroin he had purchased from her. The story is interesting, as many people know that drug trafficking charges are usually tried at the state level. So, what makes drug trafficking a federal crime?

When Trafficking Charges Become Federal

It is true that much of the time, those facing drug trafficking charges will be prosecuted by their own state. If convicted, they will then likely be sentenced to a number of years in state prison. However, there are certain circumstances that could change state trafficking charges to federal charges. These include:

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Illionois defense attorney,  Illinois criminal defense lawyerIn 2017, then Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced the government’s war on opioids. Ever since, no healthcare agency or provider has been immune from the Drug Enforcement Agency’s (DEA) investigations. For nearly two years, the DEA has been aggressively investigating physicians, pharmacists, dentists, and other healthcare professionals for drug diversion.

Due to this, it is important healthcare providers understand the initial signs that could indicate they are under investigation, so they can take the necessary steps to address the problem quickly. The process you can expect if you are under investigation are below.

Patient File Audit

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Posted by on in Drug Crimes
Illionois defense attorney, Illinois federal crimes lawyer, Illinois criminal defense lawyerThe vast majority of people who are prescribed drugs which have potentially harmful side effects are using them in the manner indicated by their doctor. However, some become addicted, or want to make money selling such drugs, and may turn to illegal means to obtain these substances, thinking the consequences will somehow be less severe because, in some instances, possession of such drugs is legal. It is possible to unlawfully possess prescription drugs and to go to jail because of it. Strictly Regulated The prescription of certain substances, even in legal scenarios, is highly regulated by the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA). Under the FDA’s regulatory scheme, drugs are divided into what are called schedules. The lower the schedule, the fewer appropriate medical uses a drug has, and the more stringent the protocols for dispensing it to legitimate patients. For example, Xanax is classified as a Schedule IV drug, with low (but still present) risk of dependence and/or addiction and noted genuine medical usages, while Adderall is classified as Schedule II because while it has some occasional use as a legitimate drug, its potential for abuse is high. Because of these potentially addictive properties, drugs may be prescribed to those who have a true need for them - a person with a panic disorder may have a legitimate need for Xanax, or a person with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) may benefit from Adderall. This does not mean that such drugs should be unregulated or available over the counter because those without a legitimate need for them might conceivably abuse them. In some cases, even those who do have a legitimate need for such drugs can abuse them. The societal problems caused by abuse of prescription drugs can be just as great as those caused by heroin or crack cocaine.

Substance Abuse Problems Can Be a Factor

While Illinois authorities can be quite strict in prosecuting prescription drug-related offenses, they will consider the possibility of a defendant’s having substance abuse problems, simply because many do. More so than with street drugs, those who are arrested for prescription drug offenses are more likely to be first-time offenders, and they are also likely to be older. Too many have found themselves in untenable positions, especially after the commencement of the so-called ‘war on opiates’ and made errors in judgment. If someone is not held to have a substance abuse problem, the offense will generally be prosecuted similarly to any other drug charge. Hearings are usually held relatively quickly, within 120 to 180 days, with a fairly straightforward disposition. Depending on the specific charge, sentencing guidelines range from one to three years for a Class 4 felony to six to 30 years for a Class X felony, and both usually are accompanied by a hefty fine of up to $25,000. The state has a vested interest in clamping down on illegal drug use, and if no extenuating circumstances can be proven, the sentence will be harsh.

Seek Compassionate and Knowledgeable Legal Help

Prescription pill use has real consequences, but each individual case is different and should be argued as such. The experienced Chicago federal crimes attorneys at the Law Offices of Hal M. Garfinkel LLC, Chicago Criminal Defense Attorney are experienced in such cases and are happy to attempt to work out an acceptable disposition for everyone who needs our help. Contact the office today to schedule an appointment.

Sources:

https://www.dea.gov/drug-scheduling

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