A drug conspiracy occurs when two or more people agree to commit a drug related crime.
Federal drug conspiracy charges are very broadly defined and do not require either party to actually commit the crime in question. For this reason, many of the accused did not even know they were breaking the law. To make sure you are not punished for a crime you have not committed, contact an experienced federal crime attorney who can help you defend your rights.
Elements of a drug conspiracy
To convict someone for a drug conspiracy, prosecutors need only demonstrate that:
- There was an agreement between two or more people to violate a federal drug law;
- Each conspirator knew of the illegal settlement, but still voluntarily chose to join it.
These are the only elements that prosecutors must prove to obtain a conviction, which means they do not need to provide evidence that the defendant knew all the details of the conspiracy or even that he or she knew all the other people involved. In fact, the government does not even need to prove that the accused made a formal agreement, since a simple understanding between multiple parties could constitute a conspiracy. Most federal conspiracy laws require evidence that a defendant participated in an open act to promote the conspiracy, but this is not true for drug conspiracy charges. However, the government must establish that the accused knew the main purpose of the conspiracy.
Additionally, this broadly defined law covers different drug-related crimes, including conspiracy to:
- Manufacture, create or distribute a controlled substance;
- Possess a controlled substance;
- Possess a controlled substance with the intention of distributing it;
- Attempt to sell a controlled substance;
- Transporting a controlled substance.
Fortunately, there are a number of defenses available to those who have been charged with a drug conspiracy, these include:
- The absence of an agreement between the accused;
- One or more conspirators did not know about the agreement;
- The search that led to the discovery of evidence was illegal;
- The agreement was made under duress;
- The arrest was the result of a trap;
- The defendant withdrew from the conspiracy taking steps to report the crime or communicate his distance to the other conspirators;
- The defendant knew about the conspiracy or was present when the agreement was made, but he or she did not join;
- Witnesses lack credibility.
Formulating a strong defense based on these arguments is critical, because the penalties for a conspiracy to commit a drug-related crime are the same as those for which the actual crime was committed, meaning that you could end up spending years in prison.
Statute of limitations
Before a defendant can be convicted of conspiring to commit a drug-related crime, prosecutors must plead and prove that the conspiracy continued within the five-year period of limitations that begins when the purpose of the conspiracy has been accomplished or abandoned.
Call an experienced federal crime attorney.
To speak to an attorney about your own pending charges, contact Jeffrey S. Weiner, PA, Criminal Defense Lawyers today at (305) 670-9919 . Our Miami legal team is eager to help you.