Federal Drug Crimes
The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) is responsible for the investigation and monitoring of drug crimes, including smuggling drugs into the country illegally. Individuals who are arrested on drug smuggling charges are typically part of a larger drug trafficking operation. The federal government does not take prosecution of drug smugglers lightly and you may face a lengthy prison stay if convicted of this type of drug crime. Having an experienced Chicago criminal attorney on your side is key to preserving your rights.
Penalties for Drug Smuggling
The severity of the penalty you may face if convicted of drug smuggling in a federal court typically depends on the type and amount of drug involved. The stronger the drug and the larger the amount being smuggled, the stiffer the penalty will be. If you’ve had previous convictions for drug smuggling, the penalty will also be enhanced. For example, an individual who is caught smuggling less than 50 grams of methamphetamine may face a minimum of five years in prison for their first offense. An individual with two or more prior drug smuggling convictions may potentially face life in prison depending on the amount of drugs involved. A federal conviction for drug smuggling may also carry a hefty fine which can range into the millions of dollars.
In addition to drug smuggling charges, you may face additional charges of drug trafficking, money laundering or conspiracy, which are also punishable by a prison term. If federal prosecutors believe that you benefited financially from drug smuggling or another drug crime, they can also initiate an asset forfeiture action against you. This is a type of civil proceeding that allows the federal government to seize your home, cars, bank accounts or other property and assets if it’s determined that you obtained them through illegal drug activity or that they were used to further a drug enterprise. If you’ve been threatened with this type of action or the government has already executed a seizure of your assets, a qualified Federal Asset Forfeiture Defense Lawyer can explain your rights for recovering the property.
Defending Federal Drug Smuggling Charges
If you’ve been charged with drug smuggling, your Chicago criminal lawyer can work with you to establish a valid defense. Some of the arguments your defense lawyer may make on your behalf include:
- Violation of your constitutional rights due to an unlawful search and seizure
- Lack of criminal intent, i.e. you were in the wrong place at the wrong time or were unaware that drug smuggling was taking place
- Entrapment or police misconduct
- Coercion, i.e. you were forced against your will to participate in the drug smuggling operation
- Mistaken identity/wrongfully accused
Drug smuggling is a serious crime that can potentially result in life-altering consequences not only for you but also for your family members. When faced with these types of charges, you cannot afford to wait to contact a knowledgeable Federal Drug Smuggling Attorney for help.
Attorney Michael Schmiege provides aggressive representation to individuals charged with drug smuggling and other federal drug crimes. He is available to assist defendants in Chicago and the surrounding area, as well as throughout Illinois and the United States. He possesses extensive knowledge of federal drug crimes law and he knows how to present the most persuasive argument possible on behalf of his clients. If you need a zealous legal advocate to act on your behalf in fighting federal drug smuggling charges, call Attorney Michael Schmiege today at (312) 906-7800 for a free evaluation of your case.