A recent case in Memphis, Tennessee demonstrates how severe a criminal conviction relating to drugs can be. Recently, federal prosecutors from the U.S. attorney’s office for West Tennessee announced that a Tennessee man has been sentenced to 12 years in prison for drug charges.

The man was originally indicted back in May 2011. He had been facing charges of conspiracy to possess and sell marijuana and methamphetamine. In January 2012, he plead guilty to the marijuana case, while the meth charge was dropped. According to the prosecutors involved, the man recruited family members to help him traffic the drugs from Mexico to Memphis and other cities in the U.S.

As this case shows, drug charges can have serious consequences. It is important to point out that in an attempt to go after high-level distributors, the federal government has enacted mandatory minimum sentencing guidelines for drug offenses. A majority of states have also adopted similar sentencing guidelines. The fixed sentences are determined by the type and weight of the drug, as well as the number of prior drug convictions a person has.

Judges can also have a certain degree of discretion. They can impose less severe sentences such as fines, community service hours and probation, as well as more severe sentences such as lengthy prison sentences.

A person charged with dealing or possessing drugs should it very seriously. With such mandatory sentencing guidelines, defendants found guilty of drug charges can find themselves behind bars for a very long time. In an effort to avoid these severe punishments, those accused of drug charges should mount an aggressive criminal defense and ensure their rights are upheld throughout the criminal proceedings.

Source: WBIR, “Memphis drug ring leader sentenced to 12 years in prison,” Feb. 20, 2013