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What to know when facing drug trafficking charges

Whether Californians want to believe it or not, the war on drugs is still being waged. Every day, individuals are slapped with federal drug trafficking charges that carry severe penalties. These penalties can strip an individual of his or her future and freedom. It can also devastate a family. Therefore, those who are facing federal drug crime allegations need to be prepared to fight for their lives. The first way to do this is to know what, exactly, they are facing.

To start with, an individual facing federal drug charges should know what the potential penalties could be. This will allow them to better negotiate a plea deal, if they so desire.

The federal penalties vary, depending on a number of factors. The type and amount of narcotics involved are most important as are an individual's criminal history.

For example, an individual convicted of trafficking heroin in the amount of 100 to 999 grams can be sentenced to between five and 40 years in prison for a first offense.

A second offense will result in a sentence of 10 years to life. If the amount of heroin involved exceeds one kilogram, than a first offense could result in 10 years to life in prison. A second offense involving more than a kilogram could result in 20 years to life in prison.

In addition to knowing the potential penalties, an individual should recognize that drug crimes are aggressively prosecuted. The federal government often seeks to obtain convictions and impose the strictest penalties possible.

Therefore, those who are accused of drug trafficking and similar crimes should be prepared to zealously defend themselves. This means knowing the law, how it applies to their situation and being as persuasive as possible. By acquiring the assistance of a skilled California defense attorney, an individual may bolster his or her position.

Source: DEA, "Federal Drug Trafficking penalties," accessed on April 1, 2016

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