Cohen & Hirsch Criminal Defense

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Federal drug defendants often take plea deals

If you are facing federal drug charges, you may be worried about taking your case to trial as it could result in a lengthy prison sentence if you are convicted. Federal drug charges should be taken very seriously as they can cause serious consequences in your life. 

If you have been charged with a federal drug crime, a new study on the number of drug defendants pleading guilty may interest you. A new report found that in 2012, many defendants charged with federal drug crimes pleaded guilty instead of taking their chances at trial, according to the Human Rights Watch. 

The study found that three percent of drug defendants in federal cases went to trial in 2012. Why are so few federal drug cases going to trial? It could be due to the fact that many defendants that go trial are found guilty. 

The study reported that 89 percent of defendants that went to trial were found guilty. This is a very high percentage and most of them are sent to prison due to judges following mandatory-minimum sentencing laws for drug offenses. 

One reason more defendants decide to plead guilty and take a deal from the prosecutor is because of the high likelihood of being found guilty and being sentenced to a long time in prison. 

The finding that many defendants in federal drug cases are not taking their case to trial is troubling because everyone deserves the right to have their case heard and to plead their innocence. If drug defendants don't feel comfortable taking their case to trial, their only other choice is to plead guilty to try and get less time in prison. 

Individuals facing federal drug charges should be aware of the risk of taking their case to court but also make sure their rights are not being violated. 

Source: The Huffington Post, "Drug Defendants Are Being 'Forced' To Plead Guilty, Report Claims," Saki Knafo, Dec. 5, 2013

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