Our Attorneys Are Experts on Federal Crack Cocaine Laws
Federal drug charges can occur when drugs – like crack or cocaine – are moved or manufactured between states. Additionally, crack possession or usage on federal lands – like national parks – can result in an arrest and federal prosecution.
Every state in the country has its own set of laws that criminalize the usage of crack or cocaine. Still, because both are listed as controlled substances by the Controlled Substances Act, the federal government has jurisdiction to charge and prosecute alleged offenders.
What Is the Difference Between Crack and Cocaine?
Have you ever paused to think, “what is crack cocaine?” In short, there is not much of a big difference between crack and cocaine. Pharmacologically, powder cocaine and crack cocaine are chemically identical. The major differences between the two versions of this drug are methods of ingestion and speed of effect. For instance, powder cocaine is usually snorted while crack is smoked, which means that crack cocaine is usually less expensive and faster-acting.
On the other hand, the legal difference between crack and cocaine is substantial. The difference between the two was exacerbated in the 1990s. Congress and advocates disproportionally prescribed harsh sentences to crack and cocaine, targeting low-income communities and people of color.
What Is the Crack-Cocaine Sentencing Disparity?
More than twenty years ago, a rising basketball star allegedly died of a crack overdose. As a result, the United States Congress passed the Anti-Drug Abuse Act of 1986, which outlined mandatory minimum prison sentences associated with specific quantities of cocaine. However, the law did not treat powder cocaine and crack cocaine differently – which established much harsher ramifications for crack cocaine than powder.
Specifically, Congress created a 100-to-1 crack versus cocaine sentencing disparity. Therefore, if you are charged with distributing 5 grams of crack cocaine, the minimum sentence is five years in federal prison. That five-year prison sentence would apply to powder cocaine if you distributed 500 grams of powder cocaine!
Advocates and lawmakers have attempted to amend this discriminatory disparity for several years now. In 2010, Congress passed the Fair Sentencing Act, which tried to alleviate the discrepancy, and in late 2018, Congress again acted by passing the First Step Act, which made some provisions of the 2010 law retroactive.
Many are still suffering from the lasting consequences of sentencing discrepancies. Consulting with an expert on federal crack and cocaine laws can help you understand emerging legislation and how it can impact your specific case.
How Can a Lawyer Help Me Overcome My Federal Charge?
If you have recently been arrested for a federal drug charge involving crack cocaine, talking with an attorney from Zoukis Consulting Group can help overcome your arrest.
First, a pretrial hearing will determine if you are eligible for bail. Specifically, the time between your arrest and any possible conviction is called “pretrial.” During this time, a judge can set bail and supervision conditions that would allow you to prepare for your trial in the comfort of your home and your community. An experienced lawyer can help you convince the judge that pretrial release is the best option for you and the overall general public.
During this time, you can meet with an attorney from Zoukis Consulting Group and make a trial plan, including discussing plea negotiations. A plea agreement occurs when the prosecutor offers a deal that might lessen the sentencing harms or reduce your alleged drug charge. An attorney knowledgeable in crack and cocaine can make these negotiations as effective as possible. It is a priority of ours to make sure you are receiving the proper defense that you need when on trial.
If a plea agreement is untenable, then your drug lawyer expert can help you prepare for trial. This process includes talking to witnesses and discovering mitigating or exculpatory factors to strengthen your case. A jury is usually conducted before a jury of your peers, who hear the evidence against you to issue a verdict based on the law and facts presented.
Because of the seriousness surrounding federal crack laws, if you face a charge based on usage, possession, or selling crack cocaine, you must speak with an expert. While most attorneys can help you navigate the judicial system, understanding the sentencing disparities between crack and powder cocaine and the ever-evolving laws surrounding prosecution, an issue-area expert is the best option to help you move past the alleged offense. Reach out to the experts at Zoukis Consulting Group today to discover your options and discuss your case.
Published Feb 15, 2022 by Christopher Zoukis, JD, MBA | Last Updated by Christopher Zoukis, JD, MBA on Feb 15, 2022 at 12:31 pm