Posted on Nov 26, 2012 7:15am PST
Our Birmimgham criminal defense lawyers know that often in drug crime cases, prosecutors will forward the case to federal authorities.
This is done with the hope of an increased prison sentence, as federal penalties tend to be harsher than those imposed by state courts. The risk of an increased penalty, particularly for drug crimes, often prompts defense attorneys to seek out a plea bargain, particularly if there is a significant amount of evidence against an individual.
Our firm is dedicated to seeking the best outcome for our clients. We are not interested in simply pleading a case in order to move on with it. We are committed to fighting for your rights and interests. if that means taking your case before a jury, that's what we are well-equipped and prepared to do.
It's important to remember that it's not always about whether a crime was actually committed, but whether prosecutors have enough evidence to prove it. The criminal standard of proof is high, and often, if you choose to fight the charges, it is revealed prosecutors can not meet that standard.
In a recent case out of Mobile, Alabama, a 35-year-old man agreed to spend 18 years in prison as part of a plea deal relating to some 50 drug deals he allegedly carried out over the course of 18 months. He was reportedly part of a larger ring of individuals who conspired to deal crack cocaine throughout the state. Another 19 individuals were arrested alongside him. The sheer size of this operation is perhaps part of the reason why federal authorities were involved. Still, that does not amplify the role of the defendant, who his lawyers characterized as merelly "a middle man."
Prosecutors say the man, known on the street as "Big Homey," supplied crack cocaine out of his home on East Franklin Street, according to local news reports.
Interestingly, the defendant in this case reportedly chose to cooperate with authorities in their attempts to seek more information regarding the larger operation, in the hopes of receiving a reduced sentence. However, prosecutors only argued for a 10 percent reduction in his sentence, which effectively brought it down from 20 years to 18 years.
That doesn't seem nearly enough in light of his cooperation, and his lack of a central role in the entire operation.
21 U.S.C. 846 asserts that any person who conspires to commit any offense (such as drug trafficking), will be subject to the same penalties as someone who actually commits the crime.
A co-defendant received a 51-month sentence, while this defendant received 216 months.
However, prosecutors maintained that they had already granted the defendant a huge break by not pursuing additional sentencing enhancements based on his prior drug convictions (two of them). In fact, those enhancements would have resulted in an automatic sentence of life in prison. Still, a defenent considering cooperating with authorities should always do so after thorough consultation with an experienced defense lawyer. You must strike the deal before providing information. Negotiating for leniency after the fact leaves you at the mercy of the court.
Authorities infiltrated the organization with the use of FBI informants, who engaged the defendant and others in multiple drug deals, according to the reports.
If you have been arrested for a drug crime in Birmingham, contact Birmingham Drug Crime Defense Attorney Steven Eversole at (866) 831-5292.