Have you been charged in federal court with possession of a firearm by a convicted felon or making a false statement on a federal firearms form while attempting to purchase a gun? Maybe your spouse, significant other or family member keeps a gun at your residence for home protection or secured in a jointly used vehicle. Or maybe you’ve been charged with being a nominee purchaser, that is, someone who is purchasing a gun from a federally licensed firearms dealer which was intended for someone who is prohibited from possessing a gun. Perhaps you’ve been charged with possession of a silencer or a fully automatic weapon which is prohibited by law. Or maybe you’ve been charged with possession of a firearm in relation or during the commission of a drug tracking crime, such as possession with intent to distribute or distribution of a controlled substance like cocaine, methamphetamine, marijuana or narcotic medications like hydrocodone or oxycodone? Possession of a handgun in relation to a drug trafficking crime is punishable by five (5) years in prison in addition to the time for the underlying drug offense. If you’ve been convicted of two or more prior crimes of violence or drug trafficking crimes and found in possession of a firearm, you could be charged with being an armed career criminal and subject to mandatory minimum sentences of at least ten (10) years in prison. Federal firearms offenses can carry substantial prison sentences. Are you under investigation by the F.B.I., A.T.F., or D.E.A. for the illegal possession of a firearm or drug trafficking offense? Have you been the target or subject of a Title III wiretap by the United States? You need an attorney who knows the law related to drug trafficking crimes and federal firearms offenses. John Caudill has prosecuted and defended hundreds of individuals charged by the United States with violation of firearms and drug trafficking offenses.
The Caudill Law Office handles federal criminal cases in Kentucky and throughout the United States.
Enhanced prison sentences in drug trafficking crimes
There are two statutory sentencing provisions that can dramatically increase a drug defendant’s sentence. Under 21 U.S.C. §841(b)(1) prior felony drug convictions can dramatically increase a mandatory minimum drug sentence. Under 18 U.S.C. §924(c) prosecutors can file charges that dramatically increase a defendant’s sentence if a gun was involved in the drug offense.
Sentencing enhancements based on prior drug convictions are triggered when prosecutors file a prior felony information with the court. If a prosecutor notifies the court of one prior conviction, the defendant’s sentence will be doubled. If the prosecutor decides to notify the court of two prior convictions for a defendant facing a 10-year mandatory minimum sentence on the current offense, the sentence increases to life—and there is no parole in the federal system.
Involvement of Weapons
If a weapon was involved in a drug offense, the specter of consecutive sentences under 18 U.S.C §924(c) is a likely outcome. The first §924(c) conviction imposes a mandatory five-year sentence consecutive to the sentence imposed for the underlying drug crime. Second and subsequent convictions each carry 25-year consecutive sentences—resulting in long sentences for drug defendants. As an example, a defendant with no criminal history can be sentenced to 40 years after conviction of possession with intent to distribute crack cocaine and two §924(c) counts based on possessing, but not using, guns in connection with the drug offenses. That is, 30 years of the 40-year sentence would be on gun counts. It is up to prosecutors whether to pursue these increased penalties against an eligible defendant. If they do and the defendant is convicted, the penalties are mandatory and judges must impose them. Prosecutors can double a sentence by filing a prior felony §851 information. As a federal prosecutor John Caudill handled dozens of drug trafficking cases involving the use or possession of a firearm in relation to a drug crime. He has the knowledge and experience they handle your case if you are charged with these types of crimes.