Federal Drug Charge Attorney Cleveland, OH
Representation for Federal Drug Crimes in Ohio
Federal drug charges are different from state charges and there are so many considerable differences that only a federal drug charges lawyer can walk you through it. At Patituce & Associates, we're one of the few firms in Ohio that can provide aggressive, successful defense for individuals who've been charged with a federal drug crime.
According to the federal sentencing guidelines, depending on the quantity of the drugs involved, you may face mandatory years, or decades, in federal prison. It is important that if you believe you are being investigated, have been charged, or have been indicted that you immediately speak with a Cleveland federal drug charges lawyer.
Federal Controlled Substance Schedule
Typically each state has their own drug schedule, Ohio has them divided into five categories of controlled substances. Controlled substances with high risk and no accepted medical use are Schedule I drugs, while Schedule V narcotics have the lowest potential for abuse.
Schedule I Controlled Substances
As we mentioned before, Schedule I drugs do not have any currently accepted medical use in the country and has a high risk of abuse and addiction.
Common examples of Schedule I narcotics include:
Schedule II Controlled Substances
While Schedule II drugs have a high potential for abuse, there are still some currently accepted medical uses.
Common examples of Schedule II narcotics include:
- Oxycodone (e.g. OxyContin and Percocet)
Schedule III Controlled Substances
Drugs in this schedule have a risk for abuse which is comparatively less than narcotics in Schedules I or II. Abuse may result in moderate to low physical dependence or high psychological dependence.
Common examples of Schedule III drugs include:
- Painkillers with low doses of narcotics (e.g. Tylenol with codeine, Suboxone, etc.)
- Anabolic steroids
Schedule IV Controlled Substances
Drugs in Schedule IV have a low risk of abuse in comparison to Schedule III narcotics. When used in the proper manner, they have accepted medical uses.
Common examples of Schedule IV drugs include:
Schedule V Controlled Substances
Drugs in Schedule V have a lower potential for abuse compared to Schedule IV narcotics. For the most part, they consist of preparations which contain low doses of specific substances.
Common examples of Schedule V drugs include:
- Cough medicines contacting low doses of codeine (e.g. Robitussin AC, Phenergan with codeine, etc.)
Federal Drug Possession Charges
Drug possession charges, and drug charges in general, are different from other crimes in that the court will take into account a number of different factors in deciding a sentence. You should make sure that any Cleveland federal drug charge attorney that you hire has experience defending people from drug charges. Defending drug charges is incredibly complicated-and if the defense lawyer does not have the experience necessary, they will not be effective for you. As former prosecutor, we have a unique insight into how the police conduct investigations, use confidential informants, use surveillance equipment, and many other facets of prosecuting drug crimes.
As Cleveland federal drug charge attorneys, we have had an incredible amount of success defending clients from drug possession charges by challenging the strategy and techniques the police use.
Will My Drug Crime Case Be Held in Federal Court?
One of the most common questions people ask is whether their case will be prosecuted in state or federal court. Many people are unaware of the circumstances necessary to try a case in federal court. While there some drug cases could either go to state or federal court, others require federal courts to have sole jurisdiction.
The following are several factors which determine whether or not a drug crime case is held in federal court:
- Federal authorities made the arrest – Whether it’s the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) or the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA), if a federal law enforcement agency arrests you, your case will often be subject to federal court proceedings. These authorities conduct an investigation with more personnel and are given an extensive amount of resources compared to state police.
- The drug crime was carried out on federal grounds – If the offense occurred on federal property, your case will be held in federal court. For instance, if a drug crime occurred within the property of a federal bank, this would be investigated by federal authorities—no matter how much drugs were involved.
- The drug crime occurred in multiple states – When a drug crime crosses state lines, the case is taken up to the federal court. If an individual purchases drugs online from someone in another state, this is considered a federal crime even though you or the dealer physically didn’t cross the state line.
- The drug crime is of a serious nature – Whether it involves manufacturing or trafficking, the more serious the criminal offense is, the more likely the federal court will end up handling it. If you were only arrested for possession of a limited amount (if you’re not on federal property), your case will likely end up in state court.
- State and federal authorities make a decision – In some cases, federal and state authorities will deliberate whether or not to try your case in federal court. It is possible for local police to refer a case to federal authorities.
He saved my life. “I was charged with a federal offense that started with a mandatory minimum of five years in federal prison but really called for a sentence of over 200 months. My first attorney tried to get me to take a plea that would have sent me to prison for a period of 151 to 180 months. I wish I had done my research first. Joe saved my life. He cost more than my first attorney but that was money well spent. He knew what he was doing, his team was effective. Any time I called Joe with a question I got a call back within an hour… even on the weekends. I highly recommend him, he saved my life”- R.Z.
Federal Drug Trafficking Charges
Federal drug trafficking charges are often handled differently from other crimes. Not only are the investigations and prosecutions handled completely differently than a weapons charge, the federal sentencing guidelines require that the court take into account a number of different factors in deciding a sentence. You should make sure that any federal defense lawyer that you hire has experience defending people from drug charges.
Federal defense attorneys are the best person to speak to if you have been charged with such a crime. An attorney will challenge the evidence and examine the proof, if there is any. Drug trafficking cases, as stated before, are complex and you need to speak to an lawyer in order to best protect your freedom, income, and family. Make sure the firm you choose has experience defending clients charged with trafficking in marijuana, cocaine, LSD, crack, heroin, and many other types of drugs. Then you will know you have the best you can get.
Defenses to Federal Drug Charges
Our Cleveland federal drug charge attorneys can investigate your arrest and determine which defenses might apply to your case, helping you obtain the most positive outcome. While some defenses dispute evidence or testimony, others address procedural mistakes by law enforcement.
The following are the most common defenses to federal drug crimes:
- Violation of Fourth Amendment rights – According to the Fourth Amendment found in the U.S. Constitution, every citizen has the right to due process of law, which includes lawful search and seizure protocols before an arrest is made. If police fail to obtain your consent or a warrant signed by a judge prior to searching your vehicle or home, it is considered unlawful. Any evidence that was collected by an unlawful search could be suppressed, which could result in the dismissal of your entire case.
- The drugs are not yours – Another common defense is saying that the drugs do not belong to you. For instance, you borrowed your friend’s car and got pulled over by the police, who perform a vehicle search and discover drugs in the glove compartment. You or your lawyer can argue that you had no idea that the drugs were there.
- The drugs are not what they appear to be – After the drugs are seized by law enforcement, they are sent to the crime lab for analysis. At trial, the crime lab analyst will show his/her findings to help the prosecution make its case. If the results from the crime lab determine the substances obtained at arrest are not actually illicit drugs, then your case will be dismissed.
- The drugs were planted – Whether the police officer’s body camera footage shows him/her planting drugs, or another officer blew the whistle, evidence of planting drugs will result in dismissal of an entire case. However, since sworn testimony by law enforcement carries significant weight at trial, this could be tough to prove.
- Entrapment – Although law enforcement commonly orchestrates sting operations, entrapment happens when an officer or informant induces a suspect to commit a crime he/she otherwise may not have. For example, if an undercover cop or informant pressures you into buying drugs, it is deemed as entrapment.
Cleveland Federal Drug Lawyers Ready to Protect You
Federal drug charges, as you are aware, carry serious consequences.
Most of the time, the evidence defendants face in these cases consists of wire taps, confidential informants, and undercover agents. It is important when selecting an attorney to represent you that you pick an lawyer who has a significant amount of experience evaluating, and challenging, this type of evidence. As a former prosecutor, Joseph Patituce, the managing partner of Patituce & Associates, has a history of dealing with wire taps, confidential informants, undercover agents, and many different forms of alleged drug trafficking.
Do Not Speak to Federal Agents. Let Our Attorneys Do It!
A conviction in federal courts results in more severe penalties since they often deal with more serious cases. The role of a federal agent is to obtain evidence to use, against YOU. Often, they will promise you leniency or they will claim no charges will be filed if you cooperate with them. If you possess information, or can be of some help to the investigating agents, it is important that a federal defense lawyer work on your behalf to obtain a reduction in any charges you might face if evidence really exists to indict you. By speaking with the agents, and not having a proper deal in place, you give away your biggest negotiating chip: you.
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