Because we operate under a federalist form of government in the United States, both the federal government and the individual state governments can investigate and prosecute crimes. Typically, federal law enforcement agencies only focus on big drug operations that involve the manufacture and/or distribution of large quantities of illegal drugs. If you have been charged in federal court, you need to understand the serious nature of those charges and the potential penalties if convicted. Toward that end, a Murfreesboro criminal defense lawyer at Bennett, Michael & Hornsby discuss federal drug manufacturing and distribution offenses and penalties.
Federal Law – What Is Illegal?
Section 841of the Controlled Substance Act (CSA) governs the manufacture and distribution of illegal drugs in the United States. Specifically, Section 841 makes it illegal to:
- Manufacture, distribute, or dispense, or possess with intent to manufacture, distribute, or dispense, a controlled substance; or
- Create, distribute, or dispense, or possess with intent to distribute or dispense, a counterfeit substance.
Controlled Substance Schedules
The CSA classifies all controlled substances by schedule (Schedules I-V) based on medical use, potential for abuse, and safety or dependence liability. The five CSA schedules are defined by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) as follows:
- Schedule I. Drugs, substances, or chemicals with no currently accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse. Examples include heroin, lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD), marijuana (cannabis), 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine (ecstasy), methaqualone, and peyote.
- Schedule II. Drugs, substances, or chemicals with a high potential for abuse, with use potentially leading to severe psychological or physical dependence. These drugs are also considered dangerous. Examples include combination products with less than 15 milligrams of hydrocodone per dosage unit (Vicodin), cocaine, methamphetamine, methadone, hydromorphone (Dilaudid), meperidine (Demerol), oxycodone (OxyContin), fentanyl, Dexedrine, Adderall, and Ritalin.
- Schedule III. Drugs, substances, or chemicals with a moderate to low potential for physical and psychological dependence. Examples include products containing less than 90 milligrams of codeine per dosage unit (Tylenol with codeine), ketamine, anabolic steroids, testosterone.
- Schedule IV. Drugs, substances, or chemicals with a low potential for abuse and low risk of dependence. Examples include Xanax, Soma, Darvon, Darvocet, Valium, Ativan, Talwin, Ambien, Tramadol.
- Schedule V. Drugs, substances, or chemicals with lower potential for abuse than Schedule IV and consist of preparations containing limited quantities of certain narcotics. Examples include cough preparations with less than 200 milligrams of codeine or per 100 milliliters (Robitussin AC), Lomotil, Motofen, Lyrica, Parepectolin.
Federal Drug Manufacturing or Distribution Penalties for Conviction
If convicted of drug manufacturing or distribution at the federal level you face serious potential penalties, including a lengthy term of imprisonment. The type and amount of the drug involved will directly impact your potential sentence. Examples of potential sentences for manufacturing or distributing drugs include:
- Mandatory minimum five-year and maximum 40-year prison sentence for any of the following:
- 5 grams or more of actual meth
- 28 grams or more of crack
- 50 grams or more of a mixture containing meth
- 40 grams or more of fentanyl
- 100 grams or more of heroin
- 10 grams or more of PCP
- 500 grams or more of cocaine
- 1 gram or more of LSD
- 100 kilogram or more of marijuana (or 100 or more plants)
- Mandatory minimum ten-year with a maximum sentence of life in prison for any of the following:
- 50 grams or more of actual meth
- 280 grams or more of crack
- 500 grams or more of a mixture containing meth
- 400 grams or more of fentanyl
- 1 kilogram or more of heroin
- 100 grams or more of PCP
- 5 kilograms or more of cocaine
- 10 grams or more of LSD
- 1000 kilogram or more of marijuana (or 1,000 or more plants)
Your own criminal history, the specific facts and circumstances surrounding your arrest, and the degree to which you cooperate in the prosecution of your case are additional factors that will likely impact the sentence you receive.
Contact a Murfreesboro Criminal Defense Lawyer
If you are facing federal drug manufacturing or distribution charges it is in your best interest to consult with an experienced Murfreesboro criminal defense lawyer at Bennett, Michael & Hornsby as soon as possible. Contact the team today by calling 615-898-1560 to schedule your free appointment.