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Bruce R. Bryan

Drug Crimes

Drug Crimes

There are several federal statutes dealing with drug crimes. Some of the crimes are outlined below.

Possession with intent to distribute drugs

18 U.S.C. §841(a)(1) makes it a crime to knowingly or intentionally “manufacture, distribute, dispense, or possess with intent to manufacture, distribute, or dispense, a controlled substance”.  Section 841(a) sets forth different statutory penalties depending on the type and quantity of the drug involved. Specified quantities of heroin, cocaine (including “crack cocaine”), PCP, methamphetamine, and marijuana, will result in specified statutory minimum sentences. The statutory minimum sentence will increase if “death or serious bodily or death results from the use” of the specific drug, or if the defendant has a “prior conviction for a felony drug offense.” A defendant’s sentence may also be affected by the sentencing guideline calculation and the court’s application of the section 3553(a) factor.

Where the indictment alleges that more than one person was involved in the drug crime, the indictment commonly charges a conspiracy under 18 U.S.C. §846. A conspiracy is an agreement with one or more individuals to commit an offense.


Continuing Criminal Enterprise

A person may be found guilty of a Continuing Criminal Enterprise under 18 U.S.C. §848 when he has violated Section 841(a) and, in addition, such violation “is part of a continuing series of violations” that are “undertaken by such person in concert with five or more other persons with respect to whom such person occupies a position of organizer, a supervisory position, or any other position of management, and from which such person obtains substantial income or resources.” Section 848 imposes more severe statutory minimum sentences than Section 841(a).


Use or carrying of a firearm in furtherance of a drug crime

Under 18 U.S.C.§924(c), a person who “during and in relation to any crime of violence or drug trafficking crime…uses or carries a firearm, or who, in furtherance of such crime, possesses a firearm” shall receive a sentence of not less than five years imprisonment to be served consecutively with the sentence for the drug trafficking crime or crime of violence.


The Federal Circuit Courts of Appeal

A defendant convicted in a federal district court for federal drug trafficking crime must generally appeal the conviction or sentence to one of the eleven United States Circuit Courts of Appeal. The particular circuit court will depend on the state in which the district court is located.


Contact Federal Criminal Appeals Lawyer Bruce R. Bryan

Federal criminal appeals lawyer Bruce R. Bryan has the background and experience to handle complex federal drug crime appeals to a federal circuit court of appeal by highlighting the strengths of your case and the weaknesses in the government’s position. With more than 20 years as a federal criminal appeals lawyer, Mr. Bryan has handled a many federal criminal appeals, including federal drug appeals.

Bruce R. Bryan authored the Guide to Criminal Appeals, Review and Parole in New York, a well-regarded law book that explains the criminal appeals process in New York (click here for a Free Downloadable Copy). Mr. Bryan is also an Adjunct Professor of Appellate Advocacy at Cornell Law School, a national law school. He also teaches other lawyers on criminal appeals to federal circuit courts of appeal. Mr. Bryan has appeared before federal circuit courts of appeal and the Supreme Court of the United States.

To retain Mr. Bryan to handle your federal drug appeal, or on a case in one of his related areas of practice, please contact him at his office in Syracuse, New York by calling 315-280-8790 to request an appointment or consultation.



B. Bryan, "Defendant's Guide to Criminal Appeals, Review & Parole in New York," (2005)

Guide to Criminal Appeals, Review & Parole in New York | Bryan Criminal Appeals Lawyer NY

The object of appellate advocacy is to persuade. The winning advocate focuses the court on the strength of your case. Read More

Cornell Adjunct Professor of Law

Guide to Criminal Appeals, Review & Parole in New York | Bryan Criminal Appeals Lawyer NY

As an adjunct faculty, Professor Bryan teaches "Advanced Persuasive Writing and Appellate Advocacy" to second and third year law students at Cornell Law School. Read More