Are you facing a drug crime?

Federal drug violations are difficult charges to face. Federal drug prosecutors are known to be tough on drug offenders, and federal court is an entirely different matchup. You will need a skilled and experienced Houston Drug Crimes Defense Lawyer on your side who will fight for you every step of the way. At Rivera & Bujosa Law, our attorneys are ready to defend you.

  • Schedule I drugs are those that currently have no accepted medical use other than a high potential for abuse (marijuana, heroin, LSD, ecstasy)
  • Schedule II drugs are those with a currently accepted medical use and high potential for abuse (cocaine, methamphetamine, fentanyl, Adderall, Ritalin)
  • Schedule III drugs are those that have a currently accepted medical use and abuse potential less than Schedule I and II drugs (testosterone, anabolic steroids, ketamine, Tylenol with codeine).
  • Schedule IV drugs are those that have a currently accepted medical use and abuse potential less than Schedule III drugs (Xanax, Valium, Ambien, Tramadol)
  • Schedule V drugs are those that have a currently accepted medical use and abuse potential less than Schedule IV drugs (Lyrica, Robitussin AC, Lomotil)

Drug cultivation

Under federal law, it is illegal to grow, sell, distribute, transport, possess, or traffic marijuana. Federal cultivation cases involving marijuana are prosecuted as a federal drug felony. A cultivation offense includes possession of marijuana seeds, planting seeds, and drying the plants and processing them. Generally, police will charge a person with cultivation and possession with intent to sell, if at least two plants are discovered. If convicted, you could face jail time, probation, large fines, and even the forfeiture of your personal property.

Drug importation

Federal drug importation is the crime of bringing illegal controlled substances into the United States from another state or country. In many cases, this type of federal criminal offense is related to drug trafficking, especially when large amounts of drugs are imported from other countries.

Importing methamphetamine, cocaine, marijuana, heroin, ecstasy, prescription drugs, or any other type of illegal drug is considered a federal felony drug offense.

If you have been arrested by federal authorities for importing drugs, you will likely face felony criminal prosecution in Federal Criminal Court. Federal prison, high fines, and a permanent criminal record can be the result of a federal conviction for a drug offense.

If you are convicted of importing a controlled substance under 21 U.S. Code §952, which makes it a crime to “import into the customs territory of the United States from anywhere outside the United States (but within the United States) unlawfully and without proper authorization,” or importing into the United States from anywhere outside of the United States, any controlled substance,” and the offense involves 100 grams or more of heroin, you could face a minimum sentence of five years in prison and a maximum sentence 40 years in prison. If the crime results in death or serious injury, you could face a minimum sentence of 20 years in prison and a maximum of life in prison.

Drug manufacturing

Drug manufacture means any person who prepares or produces illegal drugs where the drugs are sold to a consumer. It is unlawful to knowingly possess laboratory glassware or chemical solvent worth more than $100, with the intent to manufacture a controlled substance.

Federal criminal drug manufacturing charges include growing marijuana, operating a methamphetamine lab, gathering drug manufacturing supplies, and possessing manufacturing equipment. Your prior criminal record, manufacturing near a school or playground, or if you were in possession of a weapon may lead to additional federal felony charges and a more severe penalty. A firearm charge could result in several more years in prison if the charge is related to drug offense charges.

Drug possession

Drug crimes range in severity from state crimes, such as possession of marijuana or drug paraphernalia, to felonies, such as drug trafficking and drug conspiracy. Certain drug crimes can be prosecuted in federal court.

Methamphetamine, cocaine, ecstasy, heroin, and prescription drugs are the most common drugs involved in criminal drug possession charges. The way a drug offense is charged depends on the type and amount of the drug involved and whether the substance was for personal use only or if there was an intent to sell the drugs.

Drug trafficking

If you are convicted of drug trafficking under 21 US Code §841, which makes it a crime to “(1) manufacture, distribute, dispense, or possess with intent to manufacture, distribute or dispense a controlled substance; or (2) to create, distribute or dispense, or possess with intent to distribute or dispense, a counterfeit substance”, and the offense involves one kilogram or more of heroin, you could face a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years in prison and a maximum of life imprisonment. If the death or serious injury results from the drug offense, which is an example of an aggravating circumstance, you could face a mandatory minimum sentence of 20 years in prison.

A conviction in federal court for drug trafficking can result in a sentence of up to 40 years in federal prison. Federal drug trafficking crimes are covered in Title 21 of the United States Code. The severity of the penalties depends on several factors including:

  • The type and amount of the drug involved.
  • Evidence of drug trafficking such as large amounts of cash, weapons, numerous cell phones, and scales.
  • If it is your first drug offense.
  • If a minor was involved in drug trafficking.
  • Criminal record of a defendant.
  • Whether state or international borders were crossed in the crime.
  • If the drugs were distributed to minors or near a school.
  • If someone was injured or died in the drug crime.

Your sentence could include prison time, even if you are a first-time offender if convicted. It can also include asset forfeiture, large fines, and deportation if you are not a United States citizen. Any drug offense involving large volumes or amounts of controlled substances could be considered a federal offense. The timing of the drug involved in the crime will also affect how the crime will be charged. For example, if the type of drug involved in the crime was a Schedule I substance, a drug with a higher potential for abuse and no medical use, the likelihood that it would be considered a federal crime increases.

The opioid and prescription drug fraud crisis in the United States has prompted federal law enforcement agencies to begin dealing with the sale and distribution of prescription drugs. Forfeitures and seizures of money and property are generally directly related to a federal criminal investigation into organized crime, such as drug trafficking and the Corrupt and Influenced by Racketeering Organizations (RICO) Act.

What makes a drug crime a federal offense?

  • The crime consists of crossing state or national borders; either
  • The crime involves a criminal enterprise, such as a gang or other organized crime; either
  • The prosecutor has decided to prosecute the crime in federal court.

In many cases, drug arrests are made by local law enforcement and drug charges are filed at the state level, but there are certain specific circumstances that may result in drug crime charges being filed at the federal level. For example, if a federal agent makes a drug arrest or if local police are working with federal authorities on a drug case, the drug crime will almost always be charged as a federal crime. Or, if the drug offense crosses state or international lines or involves an amount of drugs greater than a specified amount, the drug charge may become federal. Federal drug cases are aggressively investigated and prosecuted by the United States government and, as a result, the penalties for a drug crime at the federal level are significantly more severe than the penalties at the state level.

How can our federal criminal defense attorneys help?

Rivera & Bujosa Law Office is a firm committed to defending the Latino community from the attacks, persecutions, and prejudices they face every day in the United States. For more than 20 years, our attorneys have represented defendants in all types of state and federal criminal cases, from DWI (driving under the influence) offenses, drug trafficking, illegal human smuggling, and murder.