In the last couple of decades, the focus of the decades-long War on Drugs in the United States has shifted from “street drugs” to prescription medications that are illegally distributed and used. Specifically, the U.S. is now facing what law enforcement officials refer to as an “opioid crisis,” due in large part to the introduction of the prescription pain medication oxycodone. Although it is perfectly legal to possess oxycodone with a prescription or to distribute it according to federal guidelines, trafficking in oxycodone outside the law can result in serious penalties, including a lengthy term of imprisonment, if convicted. If you have been charged with oxycodone distribution in federal court, you need to protect yourself and your future. At Haas Law, we have the experience and resources required to protect and defend you if you have been charged with oxycodone distribution.
Penalties for a Federal Oxycodone Distribution Conviction
At the federal level, 21 U.S.C. §§ 841(a) and 960 govern the crime of oxycodone trafficking or distribution. According to that statute, it is illegal to knowingly or intentionally manufacture, distribute, or dispense oxycodone without a license. Oxycodone is classified as a Schedule II controlled substance under the federal Controlled Substance Act, meaning it is believed to have a “high potential for abuse, with use potentially leading to severe psychological or physical dependence.” The potential penalties for an oxycodone distribution conviction depend, to a large extent, on the amount of oxycodone involved, as follows:
- 14 to 28 grams of oxycodone: You face a three-year mandatory minimum prison sentence and/or a fine of up to $50,000.
- 28 to 50 grams of oxycodone: You face a seven-year mandatory minimum prison sentence and/or a fine of up to $100,000.
- 50 to 200 grams of oxycodone: You face a 15-year mandatory minimum prison sentence and/or up to a $500,000 fine.
- 200 grams to 30 kilograms of oxycodone: You face a 25-year mandatory minimum prison sentence and/or a fine of up to $750,000.
Additional penalties may be imposed for the distribution of more than 30 kilograms of oxycodone and/or if the distribution of oxycodone results in death or serious injury. You may also face more serious penalties if you have a previous conviction for trafficking in a controlled substance and/or if a weapon was involved.
Common Defenses to Oxycodone Distribution
Unlike many other controlled substances, oxycodone is prescribed legally to patients with chronic pain. It is also trafficked illegally on a regular basis. Having an experienced attorney on your side ensures that all available defense strategies are considered if you are charged with oxycodone distribution. The defense strategy used in your case will depend on the unique facts and circumstances of your arrest, however, some common defenses to accusations of oxycodone distribution include:
- Valid license/prescription. One of the first defense avenues your attorney will likely discuss with you is the existence of a valid license and/or prescription that would negate the illegal nature of your arrest. For example, are you a physician who was licensed to prescribe oxycodone or a pharmacist who was licensed to distribute oxycodone at the time of your arrest?
- Inability to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. The government is required to prove your guilt beyond a reasonable doubt to obtain a conviction in a criminal trial. Sometimes, the government falls short of its burden. If your attorney reviews the evidence against you and determines that the prosecutor cannot meet his/her burden you may decide to rely on that failure as your primary defense strategy.
- Excluding evidence from a search and seizure. Criminal cases that include a charge of distributing oxycodone often involve the seizure of evidence during a search conducted by law enforcement officers. If that search violated your right to unreasonable searches and seizures, guaranteed to you by the U.S. Constitution, any evidence obtained in that search may be inadmissible at trial.
Get Help from Experienced Oxycodone Distribution Defense Attorney
If you have reason to believe that you are under investigation for, or have already been charged with, oxycodone distribution at the federal level it is in your best interest to consult with an experienced oxycodone distribution defense attorney as soon as possible.
Consulting early on with the oxycodone distribution defense attorneys at Haas Law ensures that we can protect your rights throughout the investigation and prosecution of your case. Moreover, the earlier we become involved, the more time we have to investigate the case ourselves and prepare a zealous defense on your behalf.
Call us at 407-755-7675, chat with us online, or submit our online form today. Because we understand that time is of the essence when federal law enforcement authorities are investigating you, our calls are answered 24 hours a day, allowing you to schedule an appointment as soon as possible to discuss your legal options.