Federal Drug Crimes 1st, 2nd, and 3rd Offenses

Michigan Criminal Defense Attorneys Working to Protect Individuals in Ann Arbor, Detroit, Grand Rapids, Lansing, and Throughout Michigan Charged with Federal Drug Crimes

At Grabel & Associates, our Michigan drug crime lawyers understand the serious penalties those who are convicted of federal drug charges face. Because judges determine sentencing in accordance with Federal Sentencing Guidelines, most who are convicted face substantial prison time and stiff fines. The penalties you face depend largely on whether it is your 1st, 2nd, or 3rd offense and the type/amount of drug involved.

Judges do have discretion to depart from Federal Sentencing Guidelines; however they must remain within the minimum and maximum terms mandated by statute. Regardless, the consequences individuals convicted of federal drug crimes face are extremely serious.

There are other aggravating circumstances, which may impact sentencing, such as whether a firearm was involved, where the alleged crime occurred, and the defendant's criminal history. Additionally, if anyone is seriously injured or loses his or her life, you will be subject to enhanced sentencing. As experienced and capable attorneys with a reputation across the state of Michigan for securing positive results for our clients, we urge you to contact us immediately if you have been arrested on a federal drug charge or are under investigation.

1st, 2nd, 3rd Offenses and Federal Penalties

The most serious penalties are handed out for individuals charged with drug trafficking, which include manufacturing, distributing, delivering, or possession with intent to distribute drugs.

Judges use Federal Drug Sentencing guidelines simply as a basis or starting point in deciding how an individual convicted of a drug crime should be sentenced. Some of the factors, which may result in additional years in prison, include:

  • Whether weapons were present or used in the commission of the crime
  • Whether state lines or national borders were crossed
  • How extensive the drug operation was, whether conspiracy or racketeering may have been involved
  • The individual's role in the operation

It is imperative that the Michigan drug crimes lawyer you choose to represent you has a thorough understanding and knowledge of the sentencing guidelines pertaining to federal law in order to obtain positive results.

Here are examples of penalties imposed for 1st, 2nd, and 3rd offenses as they relate to various illegal drugs and substances:

Methamphetamine, 5-49 grams pure or 50-499 grams mixture

1st offense - Minimum 5 years in prison, maximum 40 years. Minimum 20 years in prison and maximum of life if serious bodily injury or death occur. Fine of up to $5,000,000 for individual, up to $25,000,000 if not an individual.

2nd offense - Minimum 10 years in prison, maximum life imprisonment. Life in prison if serious bodily injury or death occur. Fine of up to $8,000,000 for individual, up to $50,000,000 if not an individual.

Methamphetamine, 50 grams or more pure, 500 grams or more mixture

1st offense - Minimum 10 years in prison, maximum life imprisonment. Minimum 20 years in prison and maximum of life if serious bodily injury or death occur. Fine of up to $10,000,000 if an individual, up to $50,000,000 if not an individual.

2nd offense - Minimum 20 years in prison, maximum life imprisonment. Life in prison, if serious bodily injury or death occurred. Fine of up to $20,000,000 if an individual, up to $75,000,000 if not an individual.

3rd or any subsequent offense - Life in prison, fine of up to $20,000,000 if an individual, $75,000,000 if not an individual.

Marijuana, 1 to 49 plants, less than 50 kg mix

1st offense - Up to 5 years in prison, fine of up to $250,000 if an individual, up to $1,000,000 if not an individual.

2nd offense - Up to 10 years in prison, fine of up to $500,000 if an individual, up to $2,000,000 if not an individual.

Marijuana, 50 to 99 plants, 50 to 99 kg mix

1st offense - Up to 20 years in prison, or 20 years minimum to life if serious injury or death resulted. Individuals may face fines of up to $1,000,000; if other than an individual, fines of up to $5,000,000.

2nd offense - Up to 30 years in prison, mandatory life sentence if serious injury or death resulted. Individuals may face fines of up to $2,000,000; if other than an individual, fines of up to $10,000,000.

Marijuana, 100 to 999 plants, 100 to 999 kg mix

1st offense - Minimum of 5 years in prison, maximum 40 years in prison; 20 years to life if serious injury or death result. Individuals face fines of up to $2,000,000; if other than an individual, fines of up to $5,000,000.

2nd offense - Minimum 10 years in prison, maximum life; mandatory life sentence if serious injury or death result. Individuals face fines of up to $4,000,000; if other than an individual, fines of up to $10,000,000.

Marijuana, 1,000 or more plants, 1,000 kg or more mix

1st offense - Minimum 10 years in prison, maximum life; 20 years to life if serious injury or death results. Individuals face fines of up to $4,000,000; if other than an individual, fines of up to $10,000,000.

2nd offense - Minimum 20 years in prison, maximum life. Individuals face fines of up to $8,000,000; if other than an individual, fines of up to $20,000,000.

The above penalties are similar to what you will find with Schedule I and Schedule II drugs such as fentanyl, cocaine, heroin, PCP, LSD and drugs containing GHA, or gamma hydroxybutyric acid. The penalties you face will depend on the amount of drug involved, and whether it is your 1st, 2nd, or 3rd offense. For example, if you are convicted of cocaine trafficking charges and the amount involved is 500 grams, a first offense will leave you facing a minimum of 5 years in prison, maximum 40 years, fines of up to $5,000,000 if involved as an individual and no serious bodily injury or death occurred. A second offense for the same type and amount of drug will leave you facing a minimum of 10 years in prison, maximum life and a fine of up to $8,000,000 if involved as an individual and no serious bodily injury or death occurred.

Contact a Capable Federal Drug Charges Lawyer in Michigan Today

As you can clearly see, the penalties for federal drug crimes are extremely severe; without a capable attorney on your side, the odds are high that you will face substantial fines and prison time.

At Grabel & Associates, our goal is to keep our clients out of prison and protect your legal rights. We want to obtain the best possible results, whether it means dismissal of the charges or getting the charges reduced so that the negative impact to your reputation and life are minimized.

We are available to our clients 24/7, so do not hesitate to contact us. Call our office today at 1-800-342-7896 or contact us online for a free confidential consultation.


With drug crime defense attorneys statewide, Grabel & Associates defends people throughout Michigan charged with possession, intent to distribute, manufacturing, cultivation and illegal prescription drugs.