Felony Drug Conspiracy Charges

Watch the following educational legal video by New York Criminal Defense Attorney Deveraux Cannick as he discusses felony drug conspiracy charges in New York.

Just recently, I was contacted by a family member whose loved one had just been arrested by the federal authorities for being involved in a major narcotics conspiracy. The caller wanted to know what course of action they should take. They asked me, “What should I be doing?” I responded by saying, “The first thing you do is get a copy of the charging instrument. After you have an opportunity to review the charging instrument, the attorney with whom you are consulting will make you and your loved one aware of the charges.

In cases that involve a major narcotics conspiracy, it is very important to address the bail issue immediately. When you’re charged with a federal offense, and specifically a narcotic federal offense, there’s a presumption against bail and you have to look for a way to get around that presumption. The family and the attorney must try to convince the judge of specific facts and circumstances in your case that would satisfy the court’s concern about the probability of your returning to court to answer the charges and obviate any danger you might present to society. From that standpoint, we always want to make sure that our client’s family members – as well as the accused himself – understand the charges. We then go about the task of putting together a bail package that will effectively get that person home.

Sometimes, we have to be very creative, even to the point of designing a package that restricts the accused person’s liberty to some degree. That could mean that he or she might be on electronic monitoring, GPS, or home detention. The main consideration, however, is that you want the person to get out on bail. An accused person can defend himself far more effectively if he is out on bail because, by being more accessible, he can certainly assist the attorney in building his defense far better during this critical time.

After you get through the bail process, it is important to consider the nature of the evidence against you. Find out whether or not wire taps were used and whether there’s a cooperator. You need to know the nature and quantity of the evidence that exists. Based on that knowledge, you make the best determination as to whether this case is one that must be tried, or whether you should simply try to obtain the best possible disposition.

Winning in federal court doesn’t always mean getting an acquittal. More often than not, if you’re charged with a federal offense, those charges will be considered a “mandatory minimum offense” – and that mandatory minimum will mean a conviction will result in your spending at least 10 years in jail. Your attorney’s goal will be to eradicate that mandatory minimum or, failing that, get it reduced to a minimum of five. The best course of action, however, is to try for a non-mandatory minimum defense. That way, your attorney can be far more creative when the time comes for sentencing in an effort get you out and back with your family as quickly as possible.

Deveraux L. Cannick is a principal member of the firm and a trial attorney.  His practice includes Federal and State criminal defense, criminal law as well as civil litigation. Contact us at our Maspeth, Queens office today to schedule a free and confidential consultation with experienced New York criminal defense attorney Deveraux Cannick.

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