If you’ve been charged with the crime of drug conspiracy by the federal government, you need to understand just how serious the charge is, and what kind of prison time you may be facing if you’re convicted. Dan Carman, Lexington drug conspiracy lawyer, can help you untangle the intricacies of drug conspiracy law and provide the defense you need to deal with your charges.
What is Drug Conspiracy?
If two or more persons agree (or conspire) to illegally distribute drugs, they can be accused of engaging in the criminal activity of drug conspiracy. In most instances, the crime of actually distributing the drugs does not need to have been committed for charges of drug conspiracy to be brought. If the conspiracy is proven, just conspiring to distribute can bring a charge of conspiracy.
If you have been accused of any drug-related federal crime (such as drug possession, trafficking, possession of precursor drug products, or attempting to get on an airplane with illegal drugs), the federal government may (and usually does) add conspiracy to your charges, and if you’re convicted you will have more jail time added to your sentence.
How Does the Government Get Evidence of Conspiracy?
Illegal use of drugs and drug trafficking is a continuing problem in our country. In 2010, according to information provided by the U.S. Census Bureau, 27,200 federal drug arrests were made, and 4,499,621 pounds of illegal drugs were seized. The Bureau of Justice Statistics reports 21 percent of state-level prisoners and 55 percent of federal prisoners are behind bars because of convictions for drug-related crimes.
The federal government has been “at war” against illegal drugs for decades, and uses some of the latest technology in its attempts to win that war. If there is suspicion of illegal drug activity, courts may grant permission to federal agents to “tap” telephone calls as a means of gathering evidence. Persons who have been arrested can be convinced to act as cooperating witnesses in order to effect the arrests of others involved in the illegal drug activity. The government also relies on confidential informants to learn of illegal drug activity. Further, government agents, such as those in the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA), use a variety of tricks and tools, such as cameras on anything from poles on the street to tiny ones hidden in packs of cigarettes, to gather evidence of what they believe is drug trafficking.
Once details of a drug-related conspiracy have been gathered through use of telephone tapping or information provided by cooperating witnesses or through other means, search warrants can be obtained to allow government agents to search the homes of suspects for illegal drugs. Drugs may also be seized during a traffic stop, once a person is identified as being part of illegal drug activity. Drug evidence seized by state law enforcement can also be used in a federal drug investigation.
What Can Happen If You’re Charged with Drug Conspiracy?
Section 846 (Attempt and Conspiracy) of Title 21 (Food and Drugs) and Chapter 13 (Drug Abuse Prevention and Control) of the U.S. Code states: “Any person who attempts or conspires to commit any offense defined in this subchapter shall be subject to the same penalties as those prescribed for the offense, the commission of which was the object of attempt or conspiracy.”
If you’re arrested during a federal drug investigation, you face the very real possibility of being convicted of drug conspiracy if the government can prove that a conspiracy actually existed and that you were part of the conspiracy. You don’t have to be caught with illegal drugs, and it doesn’t have to be proven that you actually did anything to make the conspiracy work or that you were in on the conspiracy from the beginning; the government only has to prove you joined the conspiracy at some point with the intent of making it work.
If you are arrested on a drug-related matter in Kentucky and charged with the crime of conspiracy, it is imperative that you obtain the services of a lawyer such as Dan Carman who has experience in defending clients in federal court against the charge of drug conspiracy and related crimes.
What If You’re Convicted of Drug Conspiracy?
If you are found guilty of drug conspiracy in federal court, the judge will consider several factors in determining the length of your sentence and the amount of your fine:
- the seriousness of your crime
- your criminal history
- any aggravating or mitigating factors.
The judge will also consult sentencing and fine tables found in the Federal Sentencing Guidelines to assist in determining length of sentence and fine amount. Here is where the services of a Lexington drug conspiracy lawyer like Dan Carman, who has experience before federal court judges in defending clients charged with drug conspiracy, can make the difference in your sentence. Judges will consider what are called “mitigating factors” (facts of the crime that may work in your favor) to make a “downward departure” from the recommended sentence length. The level of your cooperation with authorities and other factors will weigh into the judge’s decision on sentencing and fine. Even if you don’t want him to help you take your case to trial, your defense lawyer may also be able to negotiate a plea agreement that will shorten your sentence.
Dan Carman Can Represent You
The drug conspiracy charges you’re facing can have a long-lasting and negative impact not just on you, but your loved ones as well. If you are convicted of drug conspiracy, the resulting jail time and fine will negatively impact you and your loved ones well into the future. You need to seek representation by a competent criminal defense attorney as soon as you are suspected of a crime, and certainly if you or a loved one is arrested for drug conspiracy or related crimes. You need to be represented by Dan Carman, whose term as clerk to one of Kentucky’s federal judges provided valuable experience and insight into the federal justice system.
Dan Carman is a Lexington criminal defense lawyer admitted to practice law in all courts in Kentucky, in the United States District Courts for the Eastern and Western Districts of Kentucky, and in the Sixth Circuit of the United States Court of Appeals. He is also a member of the National Trial Lawyers Top 100 Trial Lawyers. Prior to entering private practice, he served as a law clerk to Chief Judge Jennifer B. Coffman in the U.S. District Court in Lexington and as a judge advocate in the United States Marine Corps. He is a veteran of Operation IRAQI FREEDOM. He can be reached by calling (859) 685-1055 or by filling out the online form.