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Federal drug cases involving synthetic drugs

Among the things a person could end up facing federal drug charges in relation to is alleged criminal activity involving synthetic drugs. One of the more well-known examples of such drugs are “bath salts.”

Synthetic drugs can raise many unique issues in federal drug cases. This includes unique issues regarding sentencing.

One of the things that can have a very big impact on what kind of sentence a person convicted of a federal drug crime would face is the federal drug quantity table. This table contains sentencing guidelines for different drugs based on the amount of drug the crime involves. Different drugs have different guidelines under this table.

Now, synthetic drugs like “bath salts” generally do not have their own entries on this table. Rather, the typical federal practice for such drugs is to look to the listed drug with the greatest similarities to synthetic drug in question when determining what guidelines to go with. Sometimes, which drug is the most similar isn’t a clear cut thing. This could raise the possibility of federal courts in different parts of the country using different guidelines for the same synthetic drug. So, some have raised fairness and consistency concerns regarding the practice.

A two-year study is being done by the U.S. Sentencing Commission on federal sentencing practices related to synthetic drugs. Among the things the study will look into is whether there should be changes made to the federal drug quantity table in light of “bath salts” and other synthetic drugs. One wonders what the study will find and if it will lead to any changes in federal sentencing practices regarding such drugs.

The special issues, sentencing and otherwise, that can come up in relation to synthetic drugs can have major ramifications in the cases of individuals accused of federal synthetic drug crimes. So, understanding these issues and what they could mean for their case and options can be very important for such individuals. Skilled drug defense attorneys can give guidance to individuals facing federal drug charges related to synthetic drugs here in Wisconsin when it comes to this and other key matters in their case.

Source: WKOW, “Changes mulled as synthetic drug sentences cause confusion,” Eric Tucker and Sadie Gurman, Jan. 24, 2017

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