New York Federal Drug Crimes Attorney
Drug crimes defense lawyers at Joseph Potashnik & Associates are routinely called upon by clients charged with various federal drug-related offenses.
Facing the federal government in a criminal prosecution case is one of the most trying times in life. Being charged with a federal drug crime is even worse because of the harsh potential consequences. When choosing an attorney for a federal criminal case, it is crucial to understand that not just any criminal lawyer is qualified to undertake a successful defense in a federal court. The reason is that federal cases require different expertise and knowledge base than those for state-level cases, and thus lawyers experienced in state criminal courts might not be fully equipped to provide the best possible defense.
Federal drug crimes lawyers at our firm are highly skilled at representing clients in New York and New Jersey federal courts. We will not be intimidated by prosecutors and will be ready to take your case to trial if need be. Whether you need a legal counsel to construct a strong defense or to help you negotiate a plea agreement, we will assist you in reaching the best possible outcome.
Federal Drugs Schedules
Title 21 U.S.C. (Controlled Substances Act (CSA)) Section 812 lists various controlled substances in fives schedules – categories that define penalties related to these drugs. Schedule I includes drugs that have the highest potential for abuse, and others follow in descending order. Offenses related to Schedule I and Schedule II drugs carry the harshest punishment.
Federal Drug Offenses
The above mentioned act ensures prosecution of the following crimes:
- manufacture, distribution or possession with intent to distribute;
- distribution to under-age persons;
- distribution or manufacture in or near schools and colleges;
- criminal enterprise (five and more offenders);
- import/export drug offenses;
- racketeering and corrupt organizations engaged in drug activities;
- financing drug operations illegally, including cannabis loans
- drug-related firearms charges.
Penalties for Federal Drug Crimes
Punishment depends on the specific substance and what amount of it was found in possession of the accused person, and vary depending on whether the person already has drug offenses on their criminal conviction record and some other factors. Perpetrators of federal drug crimes face draconian penalties, second and third-time drug offenders may face doubled or tripled maximum punishment. Still, in some instances even first-time offenders can get minimum 30 years in prison or even life imprisonment. In some states drug offenses may even result in capital punishment.
Sentencing for Federal Drug Crimes
Sentencing in federal cases is a complex process where many important factors are considered. Federal criminal statutes provide for minimum and maximum penalties, but the actual sentencing until fairly recently was controlled by the Federal Sentencing Guidelines.
The Guidelines are now discretionary but they still remain very important in the sentencing process. Along with the Sentencing Guidelines, there are other equally important considerations which weigh heavily with the sentencing court: cooperation with authorities, quantity of the drug in question, entering the guilty plea and previous criminal history.
These circumstances can significantly reduce the Sentencing Guideline calculations. Judges may and do consider cooperation and other factors as grounds for a lighter sentence, sometimes even below the mandatory minimum.
How to find the best NY drug crimes lawyer
When you are facing federal drug charges, you are also facing one of your life’s biggest challenges. You need the best attorney but how do you find one? There are many excellent criminal defense attorneys in New York, and we believe that when choosing one you should do your own research, checking out the lawyer’s credentials and reviews, but then you must meet the lawyer in person and interview him or her. You should not rely on the Internet representation. Ask your lawyer how many cases they handled and how many cases they tried. Don’t fall for “I never lost a trial” nonsense. First, many lawyers never tried a case, and there is no defense lawyer who never lost a trial. You must be comfortable with the lawyer you choose. This is why we encourage you to meet with us so that we could discuss what we can do for you.
Joseph Potashnik and his colleagues, all experienced New York federal drug crime defense attorneys are ready to help when you or your loved ones are facing federal drug charges in New York.
Federal Drug Investigations
Federal agencies involved in drug-related investigations are the FBI and the DEA (Drug Enforcement Agency), both of which have wide discretion when investigating into drug crimes. In many cases, in order to collect evidence, the agencies use wiretaps, search warrants, undercover agents, informants, and review financial records to uncover drug-related money laundering schemes.
People facing criminal investigation in relation to drugs on a local or state level should keep in mind that any drug offense has potential to turn into a federal crime. One of the reasons why it may happen is that the defendant may seem to the FBI or the DEA like a valuable witness or source of information for another ongoing federal investigation. Besides that, the above mentioned sentencing guidelines provide for mandatory jail time even for individuals accused of possession, not trafficking.
Bearing in mind everything said previously, it is clear that anyone facing a criminal investigation or prosecution in relation to drug offenses needs a highly-qualified legal counsel to represent them in all communications with the officials. Even if the person wishes to cooperate with the prosecutors and enters a plea agreement, it is vital that a drug crimes lawyer explains to the individual their rights and ensures that the best settlement is achieved.
This is exactly the sort of attorneys working with Joseph Potashnik and Associates PC. Here, we do our best when examining the prosecutors’ evidence and identifying its potential strengths and weaknesses. Through years of representing clients accused of drug crimes in federal courts, our criminal attorneys have gained all the experience necessary to mount strong defense and reach the best possible outcome under the established circumstances. We will see to it that our client’s rights are respected on every investigative and prosecution stage, and if we have any concerns that the prosecutors are being overzealous or that there are some procedural issues, we will make sure the judge knows about it.
Drug Crimes Attorney
Facing a scenario where you are charged with the possession of drugs or having involvement with such a predicament in another way can be frightening. Not only are you afraid of what the future is going to hold, but you also do not know how to navigate your way there. Fortunately, our law firm can provide you with an attorney to help, and hiring one is a wise decision to make.
Understanding Your Rights
When you do not know what your rights are, moving on with this particular type of case is going to be difficult. Even if you have a basic understanding of what you can and cannot do, and what your rights are in the case, completely recognizing them can be challenging. Instead of just guessing with this extremely important element of the process, a lawyer can help you to fully see what your place is and where you belong in this process.
Having Representation in Court
Some people think that they are going to do well when they defend themselves. While it is not unheard of to defend one’s self and succeed, you generally have a much better chance of doing so with the lawyer. Even if you feel that there is no one better to represent you than yourself, you may very well not have the knowledge necessary to predict what types of questions might be asked in court and to determine what type of scenario you can expect when you are on the stand.
Explaining Legal Terms and Phrases
Whether you have a lot of material to read through before the day of the trial or you are trying to figure out what everyone is saying in court, not knowing what is going on around you can be seriously detrimental to your case. Having a lawyer from our firm means that he or she can explain unfamiliar words to you. Not only will you know the definitions of all of these terms, but the lawyer can put them into words that you understand and can explain the implications of them for your case.
Guiding You Along the Way
A court case for drug crimes is going to involve a number of different components. Even if you just spend one day in court, a lot will happen leading up to that day, and more may come after it in the event that you are found guilty. At some points during the process, you are going to have decisions to make. While the decision is ultimately up to you, legal guidance is extremely important. With the advice of professionals, you could make a decision that ends up in the worse case scenario for you. Heeding the advice of professionals can make all of the difference.
The decision to hire a drug crimes attorney is a smart one because you have the opportunity to learn more about the circumstances of the situation, receive representation in court and have someone with whom to consult when you are faced with a challenge or decision.
What Happens When I Am Arrested on Federal Drug Charges in New York?
Drug trafficking violates both federal and NYS law. Thus, if someone is arrested on a drug charge, the case may be prosecuted in either state or federal court. If a person has been arrested by federal agents, it is likely that they will be tried in federal court.
NYS and New Jersey are jointly considered a high intensity drug trafficking area (HIDTA); therefore, federal agencies have a lot of well-funded resources dedicated to prosecuting drug crimes in this area. Typically, the federal authorities prioritize going after drug organizations and their investigations will center on individuals the authorities believe can lead them to the organizations.
Due to the government’s focus on going after organizations, any individual caught up in such an investigation risks being charged as a conspirator in offenses they have not committed and may not even have known about. Statutes such as RICO may be used to charge low-level offenders, against whom individually there is not much evidence, with involvement in international drug trafficking.
Punishment for federal drug offenses is quite stiff and depends on a variety of factors. The accused may face up to life imprisonment or even death penalty. Other consequences of a federal drug prosecution may include civil forfeitures, where property is seized from the defendants and may be permanently forfeited if prosecutors show by a preponderance of the evidence that the property was knowingly bought with proceeds from drug sales or other criminal acts.
Non-citizens should also be aware of the impact that a federal drug prosecution will have on their immigration status. Non-citizens who are arrested and charged with drug trafficking will typically be also be subject to removal proceedings; it should be noted that a non-citizen can be removed even if he or she is not actually convicted of drug trafficking by the federal court.
If you or someone you know has been arrested or investigated for federal drug trafficking offenses, your first step to protect yourself should be to retain a federal drug crime attorney at Joseph Potashnik and Associates. We will give you a realistic picture of possible outcomes, and address any collateral consequences that are specific to your individual situation.
Call our experienced NYC drug crime defense lawyers at the number provided to schedule an immediate consultation.