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Regulation - Federal Trafficking Penalties

Federal penalties for trafficking are dependent upon several conditions including the substance, amounts involved and whether the matter is a first or second offense.

Penalties involve monetary sanctions and/or prison terms up to and including life in prison.

Federal Penalties and Sanctions For Illegal Possession Of A Controlled Substance 21 U.S.C. 844(a) - 1st conviction: Up to 1 year imprisonment and fined at least $1,000 but not more than $100,000 or both.

After 1 prior drug conviction: At least 15 days in prison, not to exceed 2 years and fined at least $2,500 but not more than $250,000 or both.

After 2 or more prior drug convictions: At least 90 days in prison, not to exceed 3 years and fined at least $5,000 but not more than $250,000 or both.

Special sentencing provisions for possession of crack cocaine: Mandatory at least 5 years in prison, not to exceed 20 years and fined up to $250,000 or both if:

  • 1st crack conviction and the amount of crack possessed exceeds 5 grams.
  • 2nd crack conviction and the amount of crack possessed exceeds 3 grams.
  • 3rd or subsequent crack conviction and the amount of crack possessed exceeds 1 gram.

21 U.S.C. 853(a)(2) and 881(a)(7) - Forfeiture of personal and real property used to possess or to facilitate possession of a controlled substance if that offense is punishable by more than 1 year imprisonment.

21 U.S.C. 881 (a)(4) - Forfeiture of vehicles, boats, aircraft or any other conveyance used to transport or conceal a controlled substance.

21 U.S.C. 844a - Civil fine of up to $10,000 (pending adoption of final regulations).

21 U.S.C. 853a - Denial of Federal benefits, such as student loans, grants, contracts and professional and commercial licenses, up to 1 year for first offense, up to 5 years for second and subsequent offenses.

18 U.S.C. 922(g) - Ineligible to receive or purchase a firearm.