Federal Drug Crime Defense in New York City
A conviction for a federal drug crime can lead to severe consequences, mandatory minimum sentences, lengthy jail terms and enormous forfeiture judgments. When facing federal drug charges, you need a skilled, experienced, tenacious criminal defense lawyer. Hope Lefeber can help by challenging the evidence and aggressively defending you to secure a Not Guilty verdict or a favorable plea negotiation.
Experienced Federal Drug Crime Defense in New York City
New York City federal drug crimes defense attorney Hope Lefeber has been defending people accused of federal drug crimes for more than 30 years. She started her career as an Enforcement Attorney with the U.S. Securities & Exchange Commission, where she saw first-hand how the government prosecutes cases. Today, she uses that experience to defend people who are facing prosecution in federal court for drug crimes.
Throughout her career, Ms. Lefeber has successfully defended people who have been charged with drug trafficking, conspiracy, possession with intent to distribute, and distribution.
She is well-known and respected by her colleagues in the federal bar, by federal judges, and by her clients, and has earned a reputation as a fierce defender of her clients’ rights. Ms. Lefeber is tirelessly in her pursuit of justice, and is meticulous in her preparation. Careful preparation is particularly important in a federal drug case because the federal government, including the DEA, FBI, and ATF spend a tremendous amount of time gathering evidence, and have virtually unlimited resources at their disposal to prosecute alleged drug offenders.
Federal Drug Laws
The Comprehensive Drug Abuse Prevention and Control Act of 1970, also known as the Controlled Substances Act, classifies drugs into five categories or schedules, based on how addictive they are and whether they have an acceptable medical use.
- Schedule I drugs have a high potential for abuse and no accepted medical use, and include heroin, LSD and marijuana.
- Schedule II drugs have a high potential for abuse and severe dependence, but have a currently accepted medical use. Schedule II drugs include PCP, cocaine, methadone, and methamphetamine.
- Schedule III drugs have less potential for abuse than Schedule II drugs, a potential for moderate dependency and an accepted medical use. Anabolic steroids and codeine fall into this category.
- Schedule IV drugs have less potential for abuse than Schedule III drugs, a limited potential for dependency, and are accepted in medical treatment. Schedule IV drugs include Valium, Xanax and other tranquilizers and sedatives.
- Schedule V drugs have a low potential for abuse, limited risk for dependency and accepted medical uses. These include drugs like cough medicines with codeine.
Penalties for a Federal Drug Crime Conviction
Federal drug crimes carry the possibility of hefty fines and lengthy prison sentences. The most severe penalties involve drugs listed in Schedule I, while penalties for crimes involving drugs listed in Schedule V are less severe. However, penalties can be more severe if a defendant has prior convictions, if weapons were used, if the illegal activity occurred near parks or schools, or if minors were involved.
Federal courts use sentencing guidelines to determine punishment if someone is convicted of a federal drug crime. These guidelines were adopted so that punishments for drug crimes were more consistent across the country, but they also decrease the amount of discretion a prosecutor or judge can use when it comes to sentencing. The length of a sentence will depend on the severity of the crime and a defendant’s prior criminal history, and the sentencing guidelines provide a minimum and maximum range for the sentence the court can give. In certain circumstances the judge may be able to depart or grant a variance from the specified range.
Forfeiture as a Penalty for a Federal Drug Crime Conviction
Forfeiture laws allow the government to seize property that is connected to illegal activity. This policy has been a centerpiece of the “war on drugs” and law enforcement claims it is necessary to deter drug crime. However, in practice, forfeiture has resulted in too many people having property taken away with little recourse for recovery.
In federal drug cases, the following categories of property may be subject to seizure by the government:
- Contraband - property that is illegal to own, such as drugs or smuggled goods
- Proceeds from illegal activity - money and property that can be traced to illegal activity, such as profits from the sale of drugs
- Tools or instrumentalities used in commission of a crime - property that was used to commit a crime, such as cars, boats, and real estate
Federal Drug Crimes and How a Defense Lawyer Can Help
If you believe you are under investigation for a drug crime, contact an attorney immediately. Getting a lawyer involved as early in the process as possible may deter prosecutors from pressing charges, and an attorney can protect your rights and help prevent you from inadvertently admitting something or otherwise harming your case.
Drug crimes cover a wide range of offenses that involve controlled substances, including crimes for the possession, sale, manufacture, distribution, and trafficking of drugs, as well as prescription fraud and forgery. Federal prosecutors will often include charges of conspiracy and attempt.
Common defenses to federal drug crimes center on how the prosecution obtained evidence. If law enforcement officers violated a defendant’s Fourth Amendment rights to be free from illegal searches and seizures, or Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination, the court will suppress the evidence as being illegally obtained. Without this evidence, the prosecution will have a much more difficult time proving its case, which can lead to a dismissal of the charges or can be used as leverage to negotiate a favorable plea bargain. An experienced criminal defense lawyer knows how to raise these defenses to your maximum benefit, and will force the government to prove its case beyond a reasonable doubt.
Do I Need a Lawyer If I Intend to Plead Guilty?
Even if you plan to plead guilty to a drug crime, working with a lawyer is essential. Working with an experienced criminal defense lawyer gives you the best chance of minimizing the penalties, and maximizes your chance to move forward to a brighter future. A criminal defense lawyer helps to equalize the balance of power between the prosecution, who has the enormous resources of the federal government on its side, and a defendant who may not know how to ensure that his constitutional rights are protected. An experienced criminal defense lawyer can also help by negotiating terms that are favorable to the defendant and guide a defendant towards treatment options that might have otherwise been overlooked.
Hope Lefeber - Your Defense Against Federal Drug Charges in New York City
If you have been charged with a federal drug crime, you need a passionate, tenacious, experienced criminal defense lawyer on your side.
Hope Lefeber has been defending people in federal court for more than 30 years. She is meticulous in her preparation and is a tireless and fierce advocate for her clients. Ms. Lefeber will personally handle every aspect of your case, will carefully investigate every piece of evidence the government intends to introduce, and will work with forensic consultants, investigators, and other experts to identify inconsistencies in the government’s case. Contact Hope Lefeber today to schedule a free, confidential consultation to discuss your case. Call 610-668-7927 or complete the online form.