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What are the minimum sentences for federal drug charges?

Individuals in Oregon can face criminal charges for a variety of reasons. Most of their conduct will result in state charges. However, there are certain areas where the federal government also can bring charges against an individual. One of these cases is with drug charges. When a person faces federal drug trafficking charges, the individual is subject to federal penalties.

Unlike many state courts, the federal courts have strict mandatory minimum penalties for most drug charges. These mandatory minimums require judges to hand out serious penalties to the convicted in all cases. Judges have very little room to make discretionary decisions when it comes to sentencing.

Individuals who are facing federal charges should understand these mandatory minimums. Understanding these penalties may influence how individuals choose to proceed with a drug case.

Under federal law, mandatory minimums change depending on the amount and type of drug that a person is accused of trafficking. Additionally, the mandatory minimum also depends on the person's criminal record. The more offenses on a person's record, the higher the mandatory minimum sentences will be. Penalties also depend on if someone was hurt or killed during the distribution of the drugs.

For example, if an individual is accused of trafficking five kilograms or more of cocaine, the person will face a mandatory minimum prison sentence of 20 years for the first offense if serious injury or death occurred. However, the sentence will only be 10 years if there was no death or serious bodily injury that occurred in that case.

There are many factors that go into the length of the person's criminal sentence in federal court. An attorney can give specific legal advice about mandatory minimums and the amount of prison time that a person is facing with federal drug charges.

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