Unquestionably, Kansas, Missouri and the rest of the country have a drug problem that does not seem to be getting better. Programs to educate the public, motivate young people and rehabilitate addicts have barely made dents in the problem. Your child has probably experienced these efforts first hand.
Law enforcement takes a more zealous approach by tightening laws and intensifying penalties, as you may have discovered when you got the call that police had arrested your child on a drug conspiracy charge.
What is drug conspiracy?
Your child may have been buying drugs. Perhaps he or she was even selling to make money to support his or her own habit. If your child had only a small quantity of drugs in his or her possession, the prosecutor may have charged your child with simple possession.
When investigators arrest a person for drug conspiracy, the case automatically goes to federal court. Conspiracy implies that more people are involved in the crime. Law enforcement hopes that they will be able to gain information from the suspect about other, more powerful people higher in the drug chain, so conspiracy convictions carry hefty, mandatory sentences as a bargaining tool.
Filling up federal prisons
Some who advocate for prison reform suggest that federal grants, which reward law enforcement for meeting certain quotas in the drug war, may motivate drug enforcement officers to arrest anyone who is in any way connected to illegal drugs and to charge them with federal crimes.
Perhaps your child was not buying or selling drugs at all, but just happened to be friends with someone who was.
The result is that your child, along with thousands of users, mules or low-level dealers, may end up in front of a federal judge who is required to sentence them according to the mandatory minimum. Depending on the kind and amount of drugs your child or your child's acquaintance possessed, a judge may be required to impose 20 years if this is a first offense. If this is your child's second offense, the automatic sentence for some quantities is life.
Where to turn for help
Currently, federal prisons house about 190,000 inmates, and almost half of them are incarcerated for drug offenses. State and local prisons likely duplicate those percentages. If your child is facing a conspiracy drug charge, an aggressive defense will be essential to avoiding a lengthy sentence in a federal prison.
An attorney with extensive experience defending those accused in federal courts will investigate any questionable methods used to bring those charges against your child, including illegal search and seizure. Having a lawyer who understands the challenges of federal charges may mean the difference between your child's freedom and life behind bars.