Go to main navigation
1650 Market Street, Suite 3600, Philadelphia, PA 19103
You may only get one call, make it count!
24hr. availability
Video conferences available
215-563-7100 866-842-2573 215-563-7100 866-842-2573

Legal Strategies for Defense Against Federal Drug Charges

Federal Drug Charges

Federal drug crime convictions can have severe and lasting consequences that include long prison sentences, hefty fines and loss of civil privileges. The most commonly prosecuted federal drug crimes are related to the manufacture, distribution, importation and exportation of controlled substances. Attempts and conspiracies to commit those actions are also illegal.

Penalties for federal drug crimes are generally harsher than those for state charges. The statutory sentences for these offenses vary based on the quantity of the drugs involved and the defendant’s prior criminal history. In many cases, federal crimes are subject to mandatory minimum penalties.

Given the seriousness of a federal drug crime conviction, it is vital to mount the most potent defenses possible. The following are the most common defensive strategies raised:

  1. Challenging the legality of the evidence — A drug prosecution relies on physical evidence that must have been properly obtained and preserved. If evidence was obtained through an illegal search or seizure, a defendant may challenge its admissibility as a violation of the Fourth Amendment. If a defendant was not properly given Miranda warnings upon the arrest, any statements made during the interrogation may be inadmissible. A defendant may also challenge the evidence by pointing out gaps or inconsistencies in the chain of custody.
  2. Attacking the sufficiency of the evidence — If the government’s evidence does not convincingly support the charges brought, it may be possible to obtain a dismissal. The credibility of witnesses can also be attacked. This could be done by uncovering biases, inconsistencies in their statements or their own involvement in criminal activities. If the prosecution relies on expert witnesses, their credentials or methodology can be challenged.
  3. Proving entrapment —If the defendant can demonstrate that law enforcement induced them to commit a crime, it may be a valid defense of entrapment. Entrapment defenses often hinge on proving the defendant lacked a predisposition to commit the crime and that the idea and opportunity were introduced by law enforcement.
  4. Arguing lack of knowledge or intent — If the defendant can show that they were unaware of the presence of illegal substances or were coerced into transporting them without knowledge, it may be a viable defense. The defendant can also argue that he or she was mistakenly identified as the individual involved in the illegal activities or did not have knowledge of them.

A strong defensive strategy is vital in preparation for trial, but it also provides leverage for securing a favorable plea deal. The vast majority of federal drug cases are settled out of court. A federal drug defense attorney can negotiate with the prosecution to reduce the charges and/or or seek a lesser sentence. The Federal Sentencing Guidelines give judges wide discretion in determining length of imprisonment.

The Law Offices of David Jay Glassman in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania aggressively defends clients charged with federal drug offenses and has earned a reputation for obtaining downward departures from the sentencing guidelines. To arrange for a consultation, call 215-563-7100 or contact us online.