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New York Federal Drug Charges Lawyer

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Are you facing federal drug charges in New York? The consequences of a conviction can include heavy fines, a permanent criminal record, and long prison sentences. It’s an unsettling reality that can leave you uncertain about your future and alone against complex legal procedures and unforgiving federal laws.

But you don’t have to face this on your own. At the Law Offices of Mehdi Essmidi P.L.L.C., we are uniquely equipped to navigate the complexities of the federal criminal justice system with former prosecutors who understand both sides of the system.

Common Federal Drug Crimes

Understanding federal drug charges is the first step toward a strong criminal defense. Here are some of the most common illegal substance offenses that individuals may encounter:

Drug Distribution

Individuals accused of selling, delivering, or providing controlled substances can be charged with federal drug crimes. Penalties depend on the type and quantity of the drug involved, as well as the individual’s criminal history.

Drug Trafficking

Drug trafficking involves illegally importing, transporting, and selling controlled substances. This serious federal offense carries severe penalties, including long prison sentences and substantial fines.

Drug Manufacturing

You could face a drug manufacturing charge if you’re accused of producing illegal drugs or being involved in any stage of the production process. This includes growing marijuana plants or operating a methamphetamine lab.


This federal drug crime is brought against individuals carrying a controlled substance on their person or property. While possession charges may seem less severe than distribution or trafficking, they can still lead to considerable federal penalties.

Narcotic Offenses

Narcotic offenses are federal crimes where an illegal drug such as heroin or cocaine is involved. This federal crime ranges from simple possession to distribution and trafficking. Potential penalties vary and can culminate in lengthy prison sentences.

Continuing Criminal Enterprise Federal Law

This drug offense applies to individuals involved in ongoing, large-scale drug operations. To be convicted under this law, federal agents must prove that you supervised five or more people and obtained substantial income from the drug enterprise.


Conspiracy charges involve an agreement between two or more people to commit drug crimes on a federal level. Even if the offense was not carried out, you could still get convicted of conspiracy.

State vs. Federal Drug Crime

State laws apply to offenses committed within the state’s borders, while federal laws apply to crimes on federal property or across state lines.

State drug charges are typically less severe than federal crimes. They often involve smaller quantities of drugs and local distribution, while federal offenses involve larger quantities of drugs, interstate trafficking, or organized drug operations.

The Federal Controlled Substances Act

The Federal Controlled Substances Act (CSA) regulates certain substances’ manufacture, importation, possession, use, and distribution. The CSA classifies substances into five schedules by their addictive characteristics, and violations of the CSA can lead to serious federal charges.

  • Schedule I: These drugs are highly addictive and are not accepted for medical use in the United States. Examples include heroin, LSD, marijuana, and ecstasy.
  • Schedule II: Unlike Schedule I drugs, these substances have accepted medical uses.
  • Schedule III: Drugs in this category can be moderately addictive. Examples include anabolic steroids and testosterone.
  • Schedule IV: These have a low risk of physical dependence. Some examples are Xanax, Valium, Ativan, and Tramadol.
  • Schedule V: These drugs have small amounts of specific narcotics.

Prison Sentences for a Federal Drug Conviction

Federal drug charges are among the most severe in the legal system, with some cases leading to life imprisonment. The penalties for drug-related convictions are determined by the federal sentencing guidelines, which consider several factors. Here’s a breakdown:

Type and Quantity of Drugs Involved

The sentence primarily depends on the drug type and its quantity. Larger quantities typically lead to harsher sentences.

Prior Criminal History

Those with past convictions for major drug or violent crimes will face more severe penalties. A repeat offender is likely to get a longer sentence than someone without any previous offenses.

Death or Serious Bodily Injury

If a drug from Schedule I or II results in someone’s injury or death, the person responsible will face a minimum of 20 years in prison. Moreover, if that individual had a prior serious drug conviction and their supplied drug leads to harm or death, a life sentence becomes mandatory.

Every situation is unique and federal sentencing guidelines can be a complex and confusing topic. If you’re facing federal drug charges, an experienced attorney can help guide you throughout the process and ensure you get the best possible outcome for your specific case.

Common Federal Drug Crime Defenses

There are numerous defenses available that can be used to challenge the charges against you.

  • Unlawful search and seizure: If law enforcement violated your rights during the search and seizure, evidence may be deemed inadmissible in court, like improperly obtained search warrants, for example.
  • Lack of possession: The prosecution often must prove a person’s possession of drugs. If a lawyer can prove that you were unaware of the drugs or that they belonged to someone else, this could serve as a viable defense.
  • Entrapment: Entrapment occurs when law enforcement induces or manipulates a person to commit a crime they would not have committed otherwise.
  • Mistaken identity: You may be wrongly identified as the perpetrator of a drug crime or falsely accused. Providing an alibi could prove your innocence.
  • Insufficient evidence: If the credibility of evidence against you can be called into question, it may be possible to get the charges reduced or dismissed.

Schedule a Free Consultation

If you’re facing federal drug charges, don’t try to navigate the legal system alone. You need an experienced attorney who can provide legal help in your federal drug case.

As a former New York prosecutor, attorney Mehdi Essmidi understands the strategies a federal prosecutor may use and can defend you successfully. Contact us today for a free consultation.