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What Are the Minimum Sentencing Guidelines for Federal Drug Charges?

Posted by Posted on in Federal Crimes

Illinois federal criminal defense lawyerThe United States has a long and complicated history with drugs. In the 1800s, many drugs that are illegal today were available to most individuals who wanted them. Cocaine, heroin, opium, and cannabis were widely sold and were sometimes even marketed as health remedies. By the late 1800s, several states began to pass laws banning the sale and use of cocaine and opium, and by the early 1900s, the first federal law relating to drug use and possession was passed, highly regulating the legal narcotic industry and creating law enforcement that today is known as the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA). In today’s world, the DEA is best known for enforcing federal drug laws and prosecuting those who sell or traffic drugs across state lines, along with other federal drug offenses.

Sentencing Guidelines for Federal Drug Crimes

Many federal drug crimes have minimum sentences that are required to be imposed if the person is convicted. These guidelines were put into place during the 1980s when the Reagan administration declared the “War on Drugs,” but many studies have shown that these minimum sentences do not actually reduce the amount of drug crime or the rate of recidivism of those who have been convicted. Nevertheless, these minimum sentences still exist today. If you are convicted of federal drug manufacturing or trafficking, you could face the following consequences:

Minimum Five-Year Sentence With a Maximum 40-Year Sentence For Trafficking:

  • 5 grams or more of meth or 50 grams or more of a substance containing meth

  • 100 grams or more of heroin

  • 100 kilograms or more of marijuana

  • 500 grams or more of cocaine

  • 28 grams or more of crack

  • 40 grams or more of fentanyl

  • 10 grams or more of PCP

  • 1 gram or more of LSD

Minimum 10-Year Sentence With a Maximum of Life in Prison For Trafficking:

  • 50 grams or more of meth or 500 grams or more of a substance containing meth
  • 1 kilogram or more of heroin

  • 1,000 kilograms or more of marijuana

  • 5 kilograms or more of cocaine

  • 280 grams or more of crack

  • 400 grams or more of fentanyl

  • 100 grams or more of PCP

  • 10 grams or more of LSD

In addition, these sentences could be increased if the person has a prior felony drug conviction and even more if the person has two or more felony drug or crime of violence convictions. A 20-year minimum sentence applies if the use of the drug in question results in serious injury or death. You can also face increased charges if the drugs are distributed to a person who is under the age of 21 or in certain places, like schools, playgrounds, and public housing.

Contact an Illinois Federal Drug Crime Defense Attorney Today

When you are charged with a federal drug crime, the sentences can be severe. At the Law Offices of Hal M. Garfinkel, we have helped numerous clients facing federal and state drug charges, so we understand the gravity of these situations. Our Chicago, IL federal drug crime defense lawyer has the experience needed to form a strategic defense and protect your rights. To schedule a free consultation, call our office today at 312-629-0669.

 

Sources:

https://www.justice.gov/usao-nh/frequently-used-federal-drug-statutes

https://uscode.house.gov/view.xhtml?req=(title:21%20section:841%20edition:prelim)

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