Methamphetamine, along with cocaine, PCP, and opium are Schedule II drugs, which means that they have a high potential for abuse. Whether the drug is in crystal or powder form, or it is mixed with another drug, it is illegal to possess, transport, manufacture, distribute, or sell it in the United States.
Methamphetamine is a synthetic drug that creates feelings of euphoria and a false sense of energy in users. However, it can cause severe and sometimes fatal health effects. Because the distribution of the drug is a public health concern, federal charges for making, possessing, or transporting methamphetamine are accompanied by serious penalties, and simply planning or conspiring to distribute methamphetamine is considered a major crime.
The penalties for federal methamphetamine conspiracies include:
- $1-5 million in fines and up to 20 years in prison
- $5-25 million in fines and 5-40 years in prison
- $10-50 million in fines and 10 years to life in prison
The penalties depend on the weight of the drug in question. If the weight of the methamphetamines was less than 5 grams (or less than 50 grams of a mixture), the penalties will generally be less than $5 million in fines and less than 20 years in prison. If the weight was between 5 and 49 grams of the drug (or 50-499 grams of a mixture), the penalties tend to increase to up to $25 million in fines and the possibility of 40 years in prison. However, if the weight of the drug was more than 50 grams (or more than 500 grams of a mixture), the penalties could extend all the way to a life prison sentence.
Penalties can also increase if the charges are accompanied by other charges, such as with illegal possession of firearms.
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Methamphetamine Possession Defense
If charges stem from a person simply being found with methamphetamine in their car, home, or on their person, they may not receive a maximum sentence or even be able to be convicted at all. Sentencing not only depends on the amount of methamphetamine, but also on contributing factors, and for a conviction to be upheld, law enforcement must have initiated and carried out the search according to proper procedure.
If you are stopped on the interstate and your car is searched, the stop must be lawful. This means there must be a valid reason for the vehicle to be pulled over, although this could be anything from speeding to following too closely. Once you are stopped, police must either have a legal right to perform a search based on standing legal principles, or have valid consent from a qualified person. If law enforcement threatens a driver or coerces him or her into giving consent, the search can be deemed illegal.
A criminal defense attorney will examine all the details surrounding the search and determine if the police could have possibly behaved in an unlawful manner. It is important to share as many details about the stop and search as possible with your representation – the more information a criminal defense attorney has, the more ammunition he or she has to fight with in the courtroom.
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