What is the defense process like for high-profile narcotics violations?
New York white collar criminal defense attorney, Priya Chaudhry, shares how she helps defend people charged with narcotics violations.
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The process in a narcotics violation in federal court is complicated. I mean if you have like a narco terrorism case then you have to pull the whole case apart and see if every element of the statute is met and whether the United States actually has jurisdiction or not.
In other cases, there are mandatory minimums. In all these cases there are mandatory minimums and often the defense process is trying to figure out whether the person should be charges with the crime that they’ve been charged with or not. Whether the quantity that is triggering the mandatory minimum is real or whether it’s something the government is inflating. For example, if somebody has a brick of cocaine and they have 45 more fake bricks of cocaine the government will often charge them with 46 bricks of cocaine and use that quantity to try to trigger the mandatory minimum, which at that point would be 20 years. And part of the defense is to whittle down what their accusation is into what’s really fact.