Thursday, December 16, 2010

Drug Offenses - Conspiracies

To prove the existence of a drug conspiracy under 18.U.S.C.§ 846, the government must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that there was an agreement between the accused and at least one of the other alleged conspirators to violate the narcotic’s laws as set out in the indictment. The existence of a conspiracy can be established by either direct evidence or circumstantial evidence, such as inferences drawn from the conduct of the defendants. Id.   Unlike the general federal conspiracy statute, 18 U.S.C.§ 371, the government is not required to prove the commission of an overt act.

However, as in the case with non-drug conspiracies, showing that a defendant has a general knowledge about drug activity does not prove that he or she agreed to become part of the conspiracy. The law is clear that mere presence at the scene of a crime or conspiratorial activity, or mere association with a co-conspirator, is not enough to establish a defendant's knowing and intentional participation in criminal activity, even if the defendant is aware of the criminal activity.

To establish a violation of 21 U.S.C. § 841, the government must prove that defendant: (1) possessed or distributed the controlled substance charged in the indictment either actually or constructively, (2) did so with a specific intent to distribute the controlled substance and (3) did so knowingly and intentionally.

For more information visit H. Manuel Hernandez, P.A.

H. Manuel Hernandez has been practicing criminal law for 32 years, the first 10 years as a federal prosecutor, and the last 22 years as a criminal defense attorney. He is dual Board Certified by the Florida Bar as a Criminal Trial Specialist and a Criminal Appellate Specialist by the Florida Bar. He is also Certified by the National Board of Trial Advocacy as a Criminal Trial Advocate. Mr. Hernández has been rated "AV" in the distinguished Martindale-Hubbell Law Directory, the highest rating available in this highly respected legal directory relied on by attorneys when looking for other attorneys to refer cases to or to work with in different areas of the law.

For more information please call the office of attorney H. Manuel Hernández, P.A. 407-682-5553   

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