Q: Can a person get life in Federal prison time for selling a half gram of heroin to a person in a treatment center?
My son sold a half gram of heroin to someone in a treatment center and he overdosed but is alright now. The problem also is he lives in Moorhead MN and the treatment center is Fargo ND. They say it is trafficking and said that unless he works with them they will push for life in a federal prison. He does have 18 half points through the state of MN which 10 of them are from 12 years ago. Can this really happen?
A: I know the circumstances of my client's cases. But I don't have the facts on other cases. In general however, drug crime penalties are cruel and severe. And in federal court, some drug crimes can result in life imprisonment sentences. So caution would be prudent. But drug police sometimes lie or mislead. And they have a strong incentive to coerce people into becoming informants. That's mostly how they make new cases. The potential-informant faces many risks, including risks to personal safety, and risks of their criminal prosecution. So it's a good idea for that at-risk potential informant to retain a criminal defense attorney first, to help them deal with police and prosecutors, if that's what the at-risk potential informant wants to explore. Finally, I would suggest avoid posting details on a public website about this; because there is some risk that the wrong person could see it.
A: He needs to consult with a criminal defense attorney immediately - particularly one who practices regularly in federal court. It sounds as if his criminal history score might be quite high and the sentencing guidelines in federal court are far harsher than they are in state court. Undoubtedly, he is facing a significant sentence if he is convicted, but he needs to know the potential outcomes before making a decision to work as an informant. There is also no guarantee that law enforcement will follow through. They cannot guarantee leniency so he needs to get an attorney on board to protect him in the event that he decides to work with the cops.
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