One of the most serious federal drug crimes occurs when a person brings some illegal substance into the United States. Even if the drug is for personal use, the penalties can be severe. The minimum sentence for this type of crime is ten years imprisonment. Depending on the type and amount of drug, and whether a defendant has any prior convictions, even life sentences are possible. Before traveling with drugs, it is important to understand the law, and anyone arrested for the crime of illegally importing an illegal drug should immediately contact a qualified criminal defense attorney.
The Drug Enforcement Agency strictly regulates controlled substances in the Unites States, especially when people are traveling in and out of the country. Controlled substances are simply those drugs that the government has decided to regulate as a matter of public safety. Illegal drugs, such as heroin or methamphetamine, are referred to as Schedule I controlled substances. Drugs that are legal only with a prescription are categorized as Schedule II, III, IV, or V controlled substances. The government prohibits or restricts bringing all of these into the country under United States Code Section 952. Prescription drugs for personal use of the person they are prescribed to can be brought into the country if they are FDA approved. A complete listing of the drug schedules can be found here. Even though marijuana is now legal in many states, it is still considered a Schedule I controlled substance by the federal government, and so bringing marijuana into the country (even if the flight is coming into a state in which it is legal) is illegal.
If you have questions about this crime or would like to discuss your case, please contact us for more information.
DISCLAIMER: The information contained in this article does not constitute an attorney-client relationship. Please contact attorney Kirk Anderson for an initial consultation.