In Pennsylvania, individuals accused of violating drug laws will usually face prosecution at the state level. However, there are federal prohibition statutes that apply in Pennsylvania as well as the rest country.
There are a handful of situations in which you might find yourself facing federal drug charges. These include interstate conspiracies, interstate trafficking, offenses that occur on federal property and charges resulting from a federal investigation.
If you find yourself accused of violating federal drug laws, your best option is likely to buck the trend and do the opposite of what most people do when accused of violating federal law.
Most federal defendants plead guilty right away
According to research into criminal prosecution outcomes and the rights of defendants in the United States, the vast majority of those accused of violating federal statutes plead guilty rather than going to trial. Prosecutors frequently bring the most dramatic charges they can and may bring multiple criminal charges for a similar single infraction so that the defendant feels like the risk of going to trial and facing conviction is not worth it.
According to current criminal justice statistics, 90% of federal defendants plead guilty. You place yourself at the mercy of a judge when you do so. Depending on the judge’s perception of you and the case, they could sentence you to up to 15 years in prison. You could also have to pay a fine of as much as $250,000.
The actual possible penalties vary depending on the type of drug and the amount, but these penalties are too big to risk by pleading guilty. Choosing to defend yourself is often a better solution, as you and your lawyer have more control over the outcome.
Drug charges can lead to many different defense strategies
There are many viable defense strategies that can help those accused of violating federal prohibition or controlled substances statutes. From bringing in expert witnesses who raise a question about your involvement in the so-called conspiracy to proving that your role was an uninformed one, there are many ways in which you could avoid a conviction when accused of a federal drug offense.
The best chance of success typically comes from reviewing the evidence against you with a lawyer and then discussing different defense options. Recognizing that it is a viable choice to fight drug charges can help those worried about going to federal court.