The second most common federal criminal prosecutions involve drug trafficking–the manufacture, sale, transportation, or possession of illegal drugs, mainly methamphetamine and cocaine. There has been a dramatic rise in the manufacture and sale of counterfeit pills containing lethal doses of fentanyl.
There have been several recent high-profile federal arrests in Florida of fentanyl manufacturers and dealers. Three Orlando men are facing a mandatory minimum of 10 years, and up to life, in federal prison after being arrested for allegedly using pill presses to manufacture thousands of pills. Another Florida man was recently sentenced to over 31 Years in federal prison for dealing in fentanyl.
The federal government puts massive resources behind fentanyl investigations in Florida and vigorously prosecutes those arrested. Anyone charged with the manufacture, sale, or possession of fentanyl in Florida needs an aggressive defense to counter aggressive government tactics that can sometimes cross the line. If you or a loved one is facing drug charges in Florida, you’ll need the best criminal defense lawyer you can get. Consider the Orlando Criminal Defense Attorneys at the Rivas Law Firm. Call 407-644-2466 for a free consultation.
Federal Drug Charges vs. State Drug Charges in Florida
State charges are filed by a local district attorney and your case will be heard by a trial judge in a state court. Federal criminal charges are prosecuted by a United States Attorney. The U.S. Attorney’s office uses federal investigators from an agency like the Drug Enforcement Agency or the FBI, often in conjunction with the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, to build a case against you and present it to a grand jury.
If your arrest was the result of a federal investigation or involved federal law enforcement, you will face federal prosecution. The scope of your alleged drug activities may come into play as well. State courts will generally handle cases of simple possession of a small amount of drugs. Possession, sale, or manufacture of large amounts of drugs, interstate trafficking, use of the US Postal Service, or importation of drugs will be federal prosecutions.
Federal Fentanyl Prison Sentences
Fentanyl, a Schedule II drug, is often mixed in with other illegal drugs to increase potency. Dealers are increasingly pressing the powder into pills to make them look like legitimate prescription pain killers. It is a synthetic opioid that’s about 30 times more powerful than heroin. Traffickers also manufacture even more potent variants of the drug called fentanyl analogues, which are often sold as heroin or prescription opioids. Fentanyl analogues are generally much more dangerous and cause more deaths. Accordingly, people convicted of Fentanyl analogue offenses have the longest average prison sentences (97 months.)
Under federal drug laws, except where the crime resulted in death or serious bodily harm, Fentanyl offenders are generally sentenced according to the amount of the drug involved.
According to federal sentencing guidelines:
Fentanyl (or a mixture) involving 40 or more grams but less than 400 grams, or Fentanyl Analogue (or a mixture) involving 10 or more but less than 100 grams is punishable by a minimum of five, and up to 40 years, in prison. If the crime resulted in a death or serious injury the sentence is a minimum of 20 years and up to life in prison plus a fine of up to $2 million.
Second offense: A minimum of 10 years and up to life in prison. If there is death or serious injury, the sentence is life imprisonment plus a fine of up to $4 million.
The sentence for 400 gms or more of Fentanyl (or a mixture), or 100 grams or more of Fentanyl Analogue (or a mixture) is a minimum of 10 years and up to life in prison. If there is death or serious injury, a minimum of 20 years, and up to life, in prison plus a fine of up to $4 million.
Second offense: A minimum of 20 years, and up to life, in prison. If death or serious injury, life imprisonment and a fine of up to $8 million.
Federal Criminal Defense Lawyers
A federal prosecution can be far more complex than prosecution in state court, and the stakes can be higher. That’s why it’s vital to have a federal criminal defense attorney who knows his way around a federal courtroom. Federal criminal penalties can involve lengthy prison terms, and many carry mandatory sentencing. Prosecutors use the threat of years in prison to pressure defendants into giving up their right to a trial by making plea bargaining deals. In fact, almost all defendants charged with federal crimes plead guilty rather than risking a lengthy prison term by going to trial. When it comes to federal crimes, the judge has a lot of power to determine how much time a defendant will spend in prison. That’s why it’s crucial to be represented by an experienced, effective, federal criminal defense attorney who knows how to present your side of the story and can make a persuasive argument on your behalf. If you’re looking for the best criminal defense lawyer in Orlando, consider the expert attorneys at the Rivas Law Firm. Call 407-644- 2466 for a free consultation