Fredericksburg Continuing Criminal Enterprise Lawyer 

When a person is charged with continuing criminal enterprise, the penalties can be great. An individual faces incarceration and hefty fines if they are convicted. The counsel of a Fredericksburg continuing criminal enterprise lawyer can be vital to helping you defend yourself from these charges. An experienced attorney will have knowledge of the nuances of Virginia drug policies and will know how to build a defense that best suits your case.

Continuing Criminal Enterprise Charges Explained

The Continuing Criminal Enterprise (CCE) Statute concerns major narcotics trafficking operations. When a person is charged with continuing a criminal enterprise, they are being accused of having a supervisory or managerial position in an organization of five or more people who have committed or conspired to commit a series of felony-level drug crimes. Like the RICO Act, the CCE Statute is used to prosecute criminal organizations. Unlike the RICO Act, it only applies to drug trafficking and distribution.

The federal government gets involved in drug trafficking and distribution cases involving large volumes, and large amounts of money. They may also pick up the case if at any time the enterprise ever crosses state lines. Virginia shares a border with Washington, D.C., which has decriminalized marijuana, and Virginia has removed marijuana from the drug schedule. However, moving marijuana from D.C. to Virginia might trigger a federal criminal investigation because it has crossed state lines and because marijuana is still a Schedule I substance at the federal level.

Penalties Associated

The penalties vary depending on the amount of money the operation was bringing in. There is a 20-year mandatory minimum prison sentence and a $1 million fine for a conviction if the enterprise was earning $100,000 to $250,000 per year. That sentence could be increased up to life in prison. If the organization was making more than $250,000 a year, the penalty for being convicted is life in prison. The $1 million fine still applies, even though the person convicted is spending the rest of their life behind bars.

When prosecutors are investigating a Continuing Criminal Enterprise case, they will usually seize any assets of the organization and its members they can. Cash can be used as evidence, and if that money was made illegally, it is not going to be returned. One of the challenges for Fredericksburg continuing criminal enterprise lawyers who represent individuals charged with drug trafficking is that prosecutors tend to seize the funds that the client might use to pay their lawyer.

Drug Conspiracy vs Criminal Enterprise

Conspiracy can be as simple as a couple of people having a get-together and talking about what is going on, doing something to continue the drug deal, et cetera. But with a volume dealer, it is going to be a much bigger conspiracy involving a large volume of a controlled substance. When considering possible charges, prosecutors will also look at the amount of money made, or what the organization was set to make.

Importance of a Lawyer

When a person is charged with continuing a criminal enterprise, the prosecution must prove many elements. When the commonwealth has set a high burden of proof for all the elements, a person charged with drug trafficking will want representation from an attorney who has worked on similar cases. An experienced Fredericksburg continuing criminal enterprise lawyer knows what those elements are, and can find weaknesses in the prosecution’s case as they work to protect their client from conviction.