Frequently Asked Questions About Drug Charges
If you or a loved one have recently been accused of committing a drug crime, it is imperative that you do not hesitate to secure the legal assistance of a skilled lawyer who is well-versed in this area of the law. At Tapp Law Firm, our legal team has years of experience in fighting against situations such as yours. If you seek out our support and guidance, you can be confident that you will receive nothing less than our absolute best interest as we fight to help you navigate painlessly and quickly through this process.
We understand how frightening it can be to face something of this nature. We are completely devoted to giving our clients the high-quality legal defense they truly deserve. If you choose to work with our firm, you can breathe easier knowing that we will put forth effort necessary to help you reach your desired result.
- What are common drug charges in Arkansas?
- What is the difference between a federal and a state drug crime?
- Who investigates and prosecutes federal drug crimes?
- What are the federal sentencing guidelines?
Possession of a controlled substance: When an individual is charged with being in actual possession or constructive possession of a controlled substance. Actual possession means that the drug was in the individual’s clothing or on the individual’s body. Constructive possession means that the drug was not on the individual’s body but that it was in a location and where an individual had the intent to possess the drug that they knew the drug was in their presence and that they had an opportunity to take control of the drug.
Possession with intent to sell, manufacture, or deliver a controlled substance: Occurs when an individual is believed to have possessed an unlawful drug with the intent to sell or distribute the drug.
Delivery of any controlled substance: Is not determined by the sale or delivery of a drug. This criminal charge is determined by the amount of drug that is found at the time of arrest.
Possession of marijuana: In Arkansas, it remains against state law to possess any type of marijuana without a valid prescription. Possession of marijuana is initially a class A misdemeanor, but can quickly be enhanced to a felony depending on the quantity of marijuana. Federally, possession of marijuana even with a prescription is illegal.
A federal drug crime is a violation of a statute passed by the United States Congress. A state drug crime is a violation of a statute passed by the state. Usually the federal crime addresses criminal activity of a more national concern. Although, in recent decades the federal government has become increasingly involved in prosecuting drug crimes, areas once left almost exclusively to the states. Many crimes are prosecutable in both state and federal courts.
For the most part, federal drug offenses are investigated by agents of federal agencies such as the FBI, DEA and others. State law enforcement officers often work in conjunction with federal agencies with federal drug offenses. Federal drug crimes are prosecuted by the United States Attorney’s Office for the area where the crime occurred.
From 1987 until recently in federal court, if a defendant was found guilty or pleaded guilty, the judge assessed punishment in accordance with federal sentencing guidelines. The United States Sentencing Guidelines manual contains the rules for determining the range within which a judge’s sentence was required to fall. Factors that went into the determination included, the offense for which the defendant was convicted; certain factors about the offense such as how much money was involved in a financial crime, the role of the defendant in the overall scheme and other factors concerning the defendant’s conduct; and the defendant’s criminal record. The court was required sentence within the applicable guideline range (expressed in a range of months) unless the case was extremely unusual or qualified for one of the few exceptions allowing the judge to depart from the guidelines. Guideline sentencing was a complicated aspect of federal criminal cases. However, the United States Supreme Court, in January 2005 declared the mandatory nature of the guidelines unconstitutional. At this time the guidelines are to be used by the judges as advisory tools to help them exercise their sentencing discretion.
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