Los Angeles Federal Drug Trafficking Defense Lawyers
America has taken a strong stance on drugs and drug crimes since the 1970s. Most courts frown upon those charged with drug crimes and will assign harsh penalties the moment the opportunity arises. This goes doubly for drug trafficking charges, as it means you are allegedly responsible for moving drugs across state lines or the United States border. Being convicted of trafficking is a sure-fire way to leave your life in pieces.
But with the proper defense, you may be able to walk out of your trial a free person, or, at the very least, with lowered charges. That does require you to work with the right team, and there is no criminal defense team better than those at Werksman Jackson & Quinn LLP. We have worked with countless clients charged with various drug crimes and know the ropes. If you work with our Los Angeles federal drug trafficking defense lawyers, you can rest assured that we will do everything in our power to get you the best possible outcome for your case. If you or someone you love is facing drug trafficking charges, call our firm at (213) 688-0460 today to schedule a free consultation.
There are many facets to the definitions of drug trafficking. Firstly, the drug in question must be a controlled substance, as in something that can’t be bought over the counter at a pharmacy. You will not face a charge of drug trafficking if you take aspirin or cold medicine over state lines, for example. The drug must fall into one of the five schedules that are used to categorize all controlled substances. Common drugs that may be trafficked include:
You should also keep in mind that you can face a drug trafficking conviction for a drug that is normally prescribed. Prescription drugs are still considered controlled substances, and if you traffic these drugs with the intent to sell them, then you can face a distribution or trafficking charge.
Second, there is the actual definition of “trafficking.” There are multiple kinds of drug crimes, from possession to selling to distribution. They all go hand in hand, and if you are facing a trafficking charge, it is very likely that you have also been charged with one of the aforementioned crimes. Trafficking can apply to multiple scenarios, but if you have been charged with the crime, it means that the prosecution believes you have done one or more of the following:
- Sold drugs
- Aided in the sale of drugs
- Agreed to transport drugs
- Traveled with drugs with the intention to sell them
- Brought drugs into the state
The crime of drug trafficking can become a federal offense, which means that your prosecution will be taken over by the federal government, rather than by the Californian government. This usually happens when an incredibly large quantity of drugs is involved, the drugs were transported over state lines, or the crime is linked to other offenses such as money laundering, prescription fraud, or murder. A federal case will often involve heavier penalties, as the federal government itself has stricter standards when it comes to drug crimes than the Californian government does. You should also keep in mind that while marijuana is legal in California, it is still considered a Schedule I drug under federal law and you can face drug trafficking charges if you travel across state lines with it.
Given the seriousness of a drug trafficking charge, the penalties can be incredibly harsh. Under California law, drug trafficking is a felony offense. Any penalty for a felony charge is going to involve serious fines and at least a year in prison; however, a conviction of drug trafficking can easily lead to far more serious punishments. For a conviction of drug trafficking, you can expect to face:
- Between three to nine years in jail
- Between three to five years in California’s realignment program
- A fine of up to $20,000
That being said, there are several factors that could cause your charge to be lengthened. For example, if the drug you were allegedly trafficking was heroin or cocaine, then you may be facing additional penalties of:
- Three more years if you were found with more than one kilogram of the drug
- Five more years if you were found with more than four kilograms of the drug
- 10 more years if you were found with more than 10 kilograms of the drug
- 15 more years if you were found with more than 20 kilograms of the drug
- 20 more years if you were found with more than 40 kilograms of the drug
- 25 more years if you were found with 80 or more kilograms of the drug
On top of that, you may also be required to pay between $1,000,000 and $8,000,000 in fines, depending on how much of the drug you were allegedly trafficking. You may also face additional fines and time in jail if you have been convicted of trafficking drugs in the past, or you were found to be selling to vulnerable groups. These vulnerable groups may contain minors, pregnant women, recovering addicts who have sought treatment, or people who have previously faced convictions of other drug crimes.
Considering that a conviction could lead to you facing anywhere from three years to over three decades in prison, finding the right defense is crucial to your future and freedom. Constructing a defense isn’t as easy as simply submitting a plea of not guilty. You must be able to refute what the prosecution brings to the trial, and doing so will require an extensive investigation by a Los Angeles federal defense attorney. That being said, when it comes to drug crimes, there are a few defenses that we most commonly use, including:
- You were unaware that you were in the possession of drugs
- You were unaware that the substances you were in possession of were illegal, controlled substances
- You had no intention to sell or transport the drugs
- Your property was illegally searched without a proper warrant
- The officers who arrested you were practicing misconduct, making your arrest illegal
While everyone facing a trial has the right to an attorney provided by the court, the truth is that a public defender is unlikely to be able to give your case the time that it truly needs. A drug trafficking charge is only defeated or lessened with long hours, deep research, and extensive skill that has been developed over the course of years in the criminal courts. Truthfully, if you are facing a drug trafficking charge, then you need the best.
We at Werksman Jackson & Quinn LLP have decades of collective experience defending people facing charges of serious crimes. Given our extensive knowledge and skill, we have what it takes to help you and your case, even if you are facing is a charge as serious as drug trafficking. We often help our clients lessen their charges and penalties, or even completely drop their charges, walking away from their trial completely free. If you want to work with one of the best drug crime defense attorneys in Los Angeles, call Werksman Jackson & Quinn LLP at (213) 688-0460 immediately.
Recent Case Results
- Complete Dismissal of Molestation Charges
Attorney Mark Werksman’s 29 year old client was falsely accused of molesting two neighborhood children and was subsequently charged with felony child molestation, with a significant prison sentence hanging over his head should he be convicted. Instead, at the preliminary hearing Werksman was able to convince the court to grant his client a complete dismissal of any charges.
- Decision Set Aside
Client, a college student in a faulty Title IX case, was awarded $130,000 in attorney fees.
- Probation with No Jail Time for Drug Money Laundering Charge
Wilmington man accused in New York federal court of laundering drug money through the sale of laptop computers. Mark was able to get the case transferred to federal court in Los Angeles, where he convinced the United States Attorney to reduce the charges. His client was sentenced to probation with no jail time on a misdemeanor conviction.