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Federal drug charges: Is my child ready for prison?

An arrest on federal drug charges, will force you to grapple with the difficult question of whether or not your child is ready for time behind bars. For most parents, the obvious answer to that tough question will be an unequivocal "no."

This answer should lead you to take immediate action. There is no time to waste in starting to build an aggressive defense to mitigate the consequences. In this post, we address some initial concerns.

How much time?

When trying to figure out how much prison time your son or daughter faces, consider several key factors:

  • What type of drug and how much is alleged?
  • Are they charged with possession or drug trafficking?
  • What is their criminal history?
  • Was a gun involved?
  • Was anyone injured or killed in the alleged drug activity?
  • Were they arrested near Texas's border with Mexico?

There are clear and big differences between charges for trafficking heroin and charges related to possession of marijuana. While that might seem obvious, it might surprise you to learn that even those who are arrested on simple pot possession charges can face time behind bars in a federal prison.

Run for the border

The U.S. Sentencing Commission says there are "stark differences" in the sentencing of people arrested for simple weed possession near the border and those arrested in metro Houston. Most of those busted near the border have little or no criminal records, yet more than 90 percent wind up serving time.

The median sentence for someone arrested at or near the border for possessing marijuana is 6 months.

Most of those arrested on a federal charge of marijuana possession were not sentenced to prison (only 26 percent were ordered to spend time behind bars). Most received probation (57 percent) or a fine only (12 percent).

Needed support

It is human nature: when we get into trouble, the first people we think of are mom and dad.

Suffice it to say, an arrest by federal agents on drug charges means a loved one is in serious trouble and in need of serious help. Your love and support are needed more than ever. But you also need to bring in the assistance of an experience criminal defense attorney who can mount the toughest possible defense.

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