Switch to ADA Accessible Theme
Close Menu

Narcotics Charges & Consequences under Federal Law


Narcotics possession and/or distribution charges are extremely serious and can carry heavy penalties with extensive jail time. Furthermore, the fines associated with such offenses can be crippling for many. Having legal counsel to guide you through this process is necessary and imperative. Both federal and state laws play a part in criminal charges related to drugs. If an individual is charged with distributing or transporting drugs across state lines, then federal law can be used to charge that individual. If the drug possession and distribution charges are within state lines, then the state law will be used to charge the individual.

Federal Classification of Drugs:

The federal government classifies drugs in various schedules. These can be long and exhaustive but below is a simpler form of seeing which drugs and substances fall into which category:

  • Schedule I – These are drugs, substances, or chemicals that are defined as drugs with no currently accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse. Examples of this include heroin, LSD, marijuana, ecstasy, and peyote.
  • Schedule II – These are drugs, substances, or chemicals that have a high potential for abuse, with use potentially leading certain psychological or physical dependence. These drugs are considered very dangerous. Examples of these Schedule II drugs are cocaine, methamphetamine, methadone, oxycodone, and Ritalin.
  • Schedule III – These are drugs, substances, or chemicals with a moderate to low potential for any kind of physical or psychological dependence. Examples of these include but are not limited to, anabolic steroids, testosterone, ketamine, and products containing less than 90 milligrams of codeine per dosage unit.
  • Schedule IV – These are drugs, substances, or chemicals that have a low potential for abuse and a low risk of dependence and can have medical benefits. Examples of such substances include Soma, Xanax, Valium, and Ambien.
  • Schedule V – These are drugs, substances, or chemicals with a lower potential for abuse and consist of preparations containing limited quantities of certain narcotics. Examples of such substances include everyday medication such as Robitussin AC, Lomotil, and Motofen.

Federal Sentencing for Narcotics Charges:

Federal sentencing guidelines vary for possession and distribution widely depending on the classification of the drug and the amount the individual has in their possession. According to federal law, an individual possessing, manufacturing 1 kilogram of heroin with intent to distribute, would face imprisonment of nothing less than 10 years and not more than life in prison for a first time offense. This same punishment applies for possessing with intent to manufacture or distribute 5 kilograms of cocaine. Moreover, the fines can range from a maximum for an individual up to $10 million and $50 million if not an individual. A second offense would result in prison time of nothing less than 20 years and not more than life. If the individual has prior 2 or more offenses then the prison term can be life in prison with a fine of up to $20 million for an individual. These sentencing guidelines do not consider the fact that an individual may have other felony charges or misdemeanors against them. If that is the case, the individual could face more time in prison.

Let Us Help You Today

NYC narcotics crime defense attorney Mark I. Cohen, Esq. is well equipped to handle any narcotics possession and distribution charges under federal law. With almost 30 years of experience, Mark I. Cohen, has the knowledge and relationships with the court to assist a client in finding the best possible outcome for criminal charges they may face. We can be reached by calling 917-414-8585.





Facebook Twitter LinkedIn
The New York Criminal Bar Association
Avvo Clients' Choice Award 2017
Avvo Reviews Mark L. Cohen


"... Mr. Cohen's effort... in everything he has done before the Court, is A-Plus... [R]ecently, in another case... [before me], the result he achieved for his client... was quite impressive." Honorable Kenneth M. Karas, United States District Judge for the Southern District of New York.


"So I have very sophisticated counsel here and, Mr. Cohen, [your client] is very fortunate in having you as his attorney, and I hope he appreciates that." – Quote from the Honorable Denise L. Cote, United States District Judge for the Southern District of New York.


"As Mark Cohen, a defense lawyer who has tried cases throughout the city and was a prosecutor in the Bronx, pointed out, there is a saying among defense lawyers in New York." – As provided in the New York Times City Room Blog.

Have an emergency? Call now
Translate »