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Oberheiden Attorneys

Defending Clients In Federal Drug Conspiracies

Categories: Criminal Law & Process

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Are You Charged with a Drug Offense? Experienced Federal Drug Charges Defense Attorneys can Fight for You

Are you under investigation? Were you recently arrested? Are friends, family members or people that you care about accused of drug trafficking, distribution, drug manufacturing, or importation? Does the government believe you are part of a drug conspiracy? Is it time to get a lawyer?

If so, this is what you need to know.

The government has dramatically increased the number of drug-related prosecutions. Federal drug investigations are everywhere. Almost no day passes without new arrests and new accusations. With punishments ranging from many years to life in prison, it is critical to be represented by experienced attorneys.

Oberheiden & McMurrey can help you. Many of our attorneys are former federal prosecutors and know exactly how the government works and what to do against it. We have first-hand understanding how drug cases are investigated and prosecuted. We know how federal agents operate and how current government lawyers are building their cases.

Our experience as former prosecutors is very valuable. As prosecutors, we have seen how inexperienced attorneys can jeopardize a case or worsen an investigation. When everything is on the line, when your entire future is at stake, you simply can’t afford mistakes. After all, you don’t want to be the one that gets the bad deal.

Our attorneys offer the entirety of their experience to help you. We are ready to negotiate with the government on your behalf, but we are also prepared to take your case to court. Our attorneys have handled hundreds of criminal trials, and we have been involved in some of the largest drug cases nationwide.

Don’t wait. Don’t let the government build a case against you. Let us find good options for you. Call us today. We will answer your questions in a free and absolutely confidential consultation.

Lawyers That Can Help You

The attorneys at Oberheiden & McMurrey represent clients who are facing federal criminal charges or believe they are under investigation by the government. Our attorneys are used to resolving matters with the Department of Justice, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), state and local police, and other law enforcement agencies tasked to prosecute drug offenses.

Nick Oberheiden (Attorney)

“I have secured bonds in drug cases; I won against the government in contested drug hearings; and I prevailed in pretrial detention revocation hearings to make sure my client could stay with his family. I saved clients accused of drug offenses decades of jail and prison time, and I avoided a life sentence for my client in one of the largest federal drug conspiracy cases in recent times.”

Bill McMurrey (Attorney)

“I am a former federal prosecutor. I can say with confidence that after two decades as a federal prosecutor and after close to 25 years on the forefront of federal investigations, I know exactly how the government works. My experience can make a big difference when it comes to choosing the right strategy to defend or dismiss drug charges.”

Heath Hyde (Attorney)

“Before you hire a criminal defense attorney, I always recommend asking that lawyer about his or her specific experience. Federal cases are very different from state proceedings and I can assure you that not every lawyer is a federal criminal defense lawyer.  Just ask us about our track record, our knowledge of federal criminal law, and our trial and litigation experience. Ask us how many federal criminal cases we have handled and how often we have been in a federal court rooms across the country.”

Why Do Clients Trust Oberheiden & McMurrey?

Oberheiden & McMurrey limits its practice to federal law and federal criminal defense work, including federal drug offenses. Clients of Oberheiden & McMurrey appreciate the profound experience of their attorneys when it comes to giving good and reliable advice in critical personal situations. Clients from across the United States hire Oberheiden & McMurrey because they know that they are in good hands— and here is why.

1. Our Experience

Our attorneys have decades of relevant federal criminal law and trial experience. Many of our attorneys come from distinguished and senior positions within the Department of Justice and local U.S. Attorney’s Offices. As a result, we can see your situation from the government’s perspective, and we can apply those insights to pursue a thoughtful and effective defense strategy.

2. Our Team Approach

Just like the government uses a team of lawyers and agents on each case, our attorneys work as a team to provide the best defense possible to our clients. We discuss each case and we constantly seek solutions to handle complicated situations. Our team approach allows us to combine decades of experience to the benefit of our valued clients. Part of that team approach is also our commitment to our clients to not delegate their case to junior lawyers or inexperienced attorneys. Every client that hires Oberheiden & McMurrey deserves the very best lawyer and the best advice our firm is able to offer. We don’t believe that a lawyer fresh out of law school can replace 20 years of experience as a federal prosecutor or 10 years of successful practice in federal criminal defense work. That said, clients trust Oberheiden & McMurrey because we keep our word. Case strategy and case decisions are in the hands of seasoned, partner-level attorneys.

3. Our Results

We are proud of our track record. Our attorneys have achieved great results in federal criminal cases. Sometimes, a great outcome means avoiding criminal charges. Sometimes, a great success means avoiding prison time. In more serious cases, success is achieved by reducing threatened life sentences or decades behind bars to fractions thereof.

  • Case Dismissed
  • No Criminal Charges
  • Misdemeanor, No Felony
  • No Jail Time

No matter what the situation and no matter how hopeless the situation appears, there are always ways to improve the situation and there are always ways to accomplish best outcomes under the circumstances. We have turned targets of federal investigations into witnesses, we have convinced prosecutors to move on to other matters and other targets, and we have convinced judges to grant our requests and motions. Choosing the right defense strategy begins with choosing the right attorney.

How to Avoid Criminal Penalties in Federal Drug Cases?

Oberheiden & McMurrey is the first stop for effective federal criminal defense strategies. We have a proven track record that includes all stages of a federal criminal case, from initial appearances and bond hearings to trial. We are proud of the great results we have obtained for our clients and the many innocent people we were able to protect against criminal charges. Our success is based on decades of federal law experience and commitment to our clients.

Drug offenses can carry serious penalties. The punishments for federal drug crimes are often tied to the type of drugs involved and the amount of drugs found.  Therefore, the specific punishments for each federal drug crime are typically a range of penalties, and the actual penalties individuals accused of a federal drug crime face are largely dependent on the facts and circumstances of their cases.  However, large fines and prison sentences are possible.

  • Possession with the Intent to Distribute a Controlled Substance: While the specific penalties vary depending on the type of controlled substance and the amount involved, the potential penalties include very large criminal fines and up to life in prison.
  • Controlled Substances – Conspiracy: The punishment for a conspiracy involving controlled substances equates to the punishment of the underlying unlawful conduct the conspirators designed to engage in, which varies depending on the substance and the amount of possession but generally includes severe criminal fines and up to life in prison.
  • Controlled Substances – Manufacturing Operations: Penalties include criminal fines of up $500,000 and a prison term of up to twenty years.
  • Controlled Substances – Unlawful Importation: Penalties vary depending on the substance and the amount of possession, but they generally include severe criminal fines and up to life in prison.
  • Using/Carrying a Firearm During Commission of a Drug Trafficking Crime or Crime of Violence: Penalties range between a minimum of five years imprisonment and a maximum of life in prison.
  • Possession of a Firearm by a Convicted Felon: Penalties include criminal fines and/or up to ten years in prison.

Avoiding such penalties requires the involvement of and guidance by experienced attorneys. Former U.S. prosecutors and senior criminal defense attorneys of Oberheiden & McMurrey are ready and available to assist. Speak to one of our senior attorneys today to obtain a free and confidential case assessment.

Early Intervention. From our experience representing individuals accused of federal drug crimes, the earlier an individual retains an attorney, the more likely that person will be to escape or defeat criminal charges.  Investigations into federal crimes often take months or even years.  Once targets of an investigation realize they are being monitored by federal investigators, they should immediately hire legal counsel to start building a defense.  Experienced criminal defense attorneys will handle all communications with the government to prevent their clients from incriminating themselves and advise their clients on the best ways to cooperate in the investigation.

Lack of Evidence. A federal prosecutor must prove – beyond a reasonable doubt – that the defendant committed the alleged misconduct.  An experienced criminal defense attorney will strictly hold the government attorneys to this high burden of proof and ensure the defendant benefits from all applicable constitutional protections.  At Oberheiden & McMurrey, we vigorously test the government’s evidence, and, in doing so, we have achieved outstanding outcomes for our clients.

Every client of Oberheiden & McMurrey is represented by senior attorneys with exceptional backgrounds and expertise. We recognize the importance of each matter and offer our fullest attention to each client. Speak to one of our senior attorneys today to obtain a free and confidential case assessment.

What Are Common Drug Offenses and What Is a Federal Drug Conspiracy?

Drug crimes are investigated by both state and federal law enforcement officials.  On the federal level, the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) has primary responsibility for investigating drug crimes.  The DEA often works in collaboration with the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), which, along with the DEA, is within the Department of Justice, as well as with Customs and Border Protection (CBP), Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), and the United States Coast Guard, all of which are located within the Department of Homeland Security.

What Are Controlled Substances?

If you are accused of being involved with the possession, distribution, manufacture, or importation of controlled substances, you may be charged with a federal drug crime.   “Controlled substances” are defined by the Drug Abuse Prevention and Control Act (21 U.S.C. § 801 et seq.) and include recreational drugs as well as pharmaceutical ingredients.

  • Possession with the Intent to Distribute a Controlled Substance [21 U.S.C. § 841(a)(1)]: A person may be guilty of “possession with the intent to distribute a controlled substance” if that person knowingly possessed the requisite amount of a controlled substance with the intent to distribute that controlled substance.  A person “possesses with the intent to distribute” if that person intends to give the substance to another person, regardless of whether money is expected from the transaction.  A person need not know what particular controlled substance he possesses as long as he knows that the substance he possesses is a controlled substance.  The “requisite amount” of a controlled substance varies by the type of substance.
  • Controlled Substances – Manufacturing Operations [21 U.S.C. § 856(a)(1)]: A person may be guilty of manufacturing a controlled substance if that person knowingly maintained a location for the purpose of manufacturing a controlled substance.  A person “maintained” a location if that person exercised dominion over a place and the people within it for an ongoing period of time.  While the manufacturing of controlled substances need not be the primary reason for maintaining a location, the manufacturing activities must be a significant purpose for maintaining the location.
  • Controlled Substances – Unlawful Importation [21 U.S.C. § 952(a) & 960(a)(1)]: A person may be guilty of unlawful importation if that person knowingly brought the requisite quantity of a controlled substance into the United States.  A person need not know what particular controlled substance he is bringing into the United States as long as he knows that the substance he is transporting is a controlled substance.  The “requisite amount” of a controlled substance varies by the type of substance.
  • Using/Carrying a Firearm During Commission of a Drug Trafficking Crime or Crime of Violence [18 U.S.C. § 924(c)(1)]: A person commits the crime of “using/carrying a firearm during commission of a drug trafficking crime or crime of violence” if that person knowingly used or carried a firearm during the commission of a drug offense or any violent crime.  A “firearm” refers to any weapon that expels projectiles by means of an explosion as well as any accessories for such weapons, such as mufflers, silencers or frames.  A firearm is “used” if it is actively employed during the commission of a crime such that the use affects the circumstances of the commission of the crime.  Examples of “uses” include displaying, brandishing, referencing, firing, or attempting to fire the firearm.  Mere possession of the firearm during commission of the crime does not amount to “use.” A firearm is considered “carried” for purposes of this crime if the offender’s transport or possession of it is related to the commission of the crime.  In other words, a person’s unrelated or incidental possession of the firearm during the commission of the crime does not amount to “carrying” in the context of this statute.  The firearm must have some role or purpose with respect to the commission of the crime.

What Is a Federal Drug Conspiracy?

Drug offenses are often charged as a conspiracy to increase the chances of a conviction. In a conspiracy, the government alleges that two or more individuals agreed to work together in pursuit of an unlawful goal. Federal law distinguishes conspiracies that involve controlled substances from general criminal conspiracies. Conspiracies pertaining to controlled substances require a lower threshold of participation, and the punishments for drug related conspiracies are tied to the type and amount of controlled substances involved.

  • Controlled Substances – Conspiracy [21 U.S.C. § 846]: A person may be guilty of engaging in a conspiracy in relation to controlled substances if that person willfully enters into an agreement with one or more other persons to engage in unlawful conduct relating to the requisite amount of a controlled substance.  As opposed to a general conspiracy charge, when the conspiracy involves controlled substances, there does not need to be an overt act in furtherance of the conspiracy for the crime of conspiracy to have been committed. However, to be involved in a conspiracy, a person must be aware of the unlawful nature of the parties’ common scheme; merely acting in a way that incidentally advances some element of the conspiracy does not render someone a conspirator.  Nonetheless, the person need not be aware of all of the details of the scheme, of the identities of all other co-conspirators, or of all of the plans or actions of the co-conspirators to join the conspiracy.  No formal agreement need exist or be acknowledged by the co-conspirators. Once involved in the conspiracy, each co-conspirator is considered to be an agent of all of the other co-conspirators, and each co-conspirator is criminally responsible for all of the actions taken by the other co-conspirators.  This is true even if the co-conspirator at issue only played a minor role in the conspiracy.  Similarly, the unlawful goals of the conspiracy do not need to be accomplished in order for a person to be guilty of conspiracy.

What Other Crimes Are Typically Charged in Federal Drug Cases?

  • False Statements to Federal Agencies and Agents [18 U.S.C. § 1001]: A person may be guilty of making “false statements to federal agencies and agents” if that person knowingly and intentionally makes a material false statement to a federal agent or agency for the purpose of misleading the federal agent or agency.  “Federal agents” include officials within the judicial and legislative branch, as well as the executive branch.  A false statement is considered “material” if it is capable of influencing a decision of a federal agent or agency.  However, the false statement need not actually influence the agent or agency in order for the crime to be committed.
  • Possession of a Firearm by a Convicted Felon [18 U.S.C. 922(g)(1)]: A person may be guilty of “possession of a firearm by a convicted felon” if that person is a convicted felon and that person knowingly possesses a firearm that has traveled through interstate commerce.  A “firearm” refers to any weapon that expels projectiles by means of an explosion as well as any accessories for such weapons, such as mufflers, silencers or frames.  With some exceptions, a person who has been convicted of a felony is not considered a “convicted felon” for the purposes of this crime if the felony has been expunged or set aside or if the person has been pardoned or received restoration of his civil rights.   “Interstate commerce” includes any commerce or travel between two or more states, territories, or possessions of the United States. A person need not know or intend that the firearm has traveled through interstate commerce in order to violate this law.

FAQs— Federal Drug Conspiracy Defense

Q: What Should I Do If Someone I Know Got Arrested?

Many people become aware of a drug investigation when police or federal agents interview or arrest someone that they know or with whom they had interactions. That’s an alarming sign. If you know someone that is subject to an investigation or arrest, you should immediately consult with an experienced federal defense attorney, because the chances that you are next are high. Many investigations occur undercover and often take several months or even years. When agents finally make the investigation public by contacting individuals they are interested in, it is very safe to assume that the investigation is so advanced that the agents on the case know more than just that one person – and their knowledge may include you. Do not wait to find out. Effective defense strategies start early, so be proactive and contact Oberheiden & McMurrey immediately for a 100% free and confidential consultation. Hearing what experienced lawyers advise and recommend, in and of itself, can relieve your stress and instantly make you feel better.

Q: In Simple Words: What Is a Drug Conspiracy?

A federal drug conspiracy is defined as a group of two or more people that agreed to commit a drug-related crime. Drug conspiracy charges are very common and only means that the government believes this group of people violated federal drug statutes.

Q: Do All Defendants Know Each Other in a Drug Conspiracy?

The law does not assume or require that all defendants in a conspiracy know each other personally or ever communicated with each other. More often than not, defendants charged in a conspiracy know some and don’t recognize other defendants.

Q: Will Everyone Get the Same Outcome in a Drug Conspiracy?

No. There are many factors that will decide the outcome of a criminal drug case. What was the alleged role of the defendant: was he the ringleader? Did the defendant play a minor or a major part in the conspiracy?

Q: What Defenses Exist In Drug Cases?

Smart lawyers listen to their clients. Every case is different and that’s why it is so important to spend time with our clients and to learn their side of the story. From listening to a client, we will be able to see the strengths and weaknesses of a case. Was the client actually involved in a crime or is the government alleging a mere conspiracy? What knowledge, if any, did our client have about the offense at issue? Does our client even know anyone in the case? What is the proper course of action: talking and negotiating with the government or collecting all defenses and preparing for a court battle? The only way to answer these questions is to appreciate a client and to care about their situation. Listening to the real facts creates defenses.

Q: Can I Get Bond in Federal Drug Cases?

Our attorneys have secured bond for numerous clients in federal drug cases. It is possible, but not easy. Bond in federal courts is significantly different than bond proceedings in state courts. Most federal courts do not require a financial pay out but focus on two factors: Is the defendant a flight risk? Is the defendant a danger to the community? By answering the second question, the magistrate judge looks at the alleged facts of the case and determines the following questions: were there weapons involved? Is there an element of violence in the case? Does the defendant have a criminal history? What is the likely sentence if the defendant gets convicted?

Q: At What Point Should I Call a Lawyer?

Because initial consultations with Oberheiden & McMurrey are not just free of charge but also 100% confidential, we always recommend to potential clients to have a lawyer they trust on standby so that if something ever comes up, there will be no need to search for an experienced attorney. Our combined experience of decades of operating in the federal criminal arena has taught us that the earlier a good lawyer is involved, the higher the chances of a successful outcome. So, don’t wait and don’t let the government build a case against you. Call Oberheiden & McMurrey and get your free legal advice today.

Oberheiden & McMurrey, LLP
Federal Criminal Defense Attorneys
(800) 810-0259
(214) 469-9009
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