Crack Cocaine - Schedule II Controlled Substance Arrests
If you find out that an investigation has been initiated or an arrest has been made for any of these criminal charges call my conveniently located Fort Lauderdale office for immediate assistance.
There is never a charge for the first consultation and case analysis.
Over the course of my career during the time I've devoted working for the prosecution I've handled a plethora of cases involving simple third degree felonies such as possession of crack cocaine in addition to complex cases including those involving the death penalty relating to narcotics cases for the federal prosecutor's office. I've also been a part of many drug cases presented by the prosecution for the State of Florida. Now as a criminal defense attorney I have the required knowledge and information that can be used to support an argument contesting these same charges as defense counsel.
Below will be a basic history of how crack cocaine has evolved as a leading drug of choice over the past half century, particularly in lower-income and urban communities. If you, a friend or family member have been charged with any allegations regarding crack cocaine, call my office at the earliest possible moment before or after an arrest takes place.
History and Evolution
Each generation seems to find a drug of choice that defines the individual era. During the Anti-war 1960's and 70's, marijuana was that top choice. Pot was smoked at anti-war rallies as well as festivals like Woodstock, Monterey Pop and many others, and it was common to find a neighborhood dealer openly selling it in a school park or on a street corner. There were different names and types such as Panama Red, Acapulco gold, Sensimilla, (which is translated from the Spanish meaning "without seeds") and many more; mostly based on potency or origin. At the time, as it basically still remains, buying some weed wasn't too difficult to accomplish. Everyone seemed to know a friend or a friend of a friend if they weren't supplementing their own income, selling it themselves.
During the "Disco era" of the late 1970's, 80's and 90's, cocaine joined marijuana as a popular choice. Although generally considered a "rich man's drug," during the days of Studio 54, and other sophisticated nightlife venues it became a more widely used drug of the conventional crowd.
Based on statistics released by the DEA (United States Drug Enforcement Agency), during the latter years of the 1970s there was an overabundance of powdered cocaine shipped into the country. Comparable to any other merchandise sold, when the supply of an item begins to outweigh the demand for it, the cost of the commodity will fall. In this case, the street price of the illegal drug sold by its dealers fell by as much as eighty percent.
Due to this surplus of the powdered version of the drug, suppliers began converting it into a solid form that has come to be known as crack. It's sold in smaller quantities to a broader variety of people as well as being uncomplicated and inexpensive to manufacture, at a greater overall profit.
The Differences between Crack and Powdered Cocaine
The transformed product is broken down into small pieces known as rocks and can be ignited and then inhaled through a "crack pipe" to realize its purpose which produces an instantaneous, intense euphoric effect. These "rocks" are white or off-white and vary in shape and size. They can also be mixed with vinegar, lemon juice, citric acid or other liquids and then heated on a teaspoon to be inhaled. This process is known as "free basing". It can also be injected using the same combination of ingredients but in general the drug is mainly smoked.
Use of the drug reached epidemic proportions during the mid-1980's into the 1990's as its use was uncovered in more and more American cities, principally in urban areas. Consequently, this increase and easy availability drastically inflated the amount of those Americans who were experimenting with drugs to become addicted to cocaine. In the mid-1980's, the number of people who admitted using crack cocaine on a regular basis surged from just over four million to a staggering six million; an almost thirty-three percent upswing.
Due to the much lower price of the rock version compared to its powdered counterpart, its sale flourished in lower income neighborhoods.
The Fair Sentencing Act and Sentencing Reductions by Quantity
In 2010, before the Fair Sentencing Act (FSA) was passed by Congress with strong bipartisan support and signed into law by President Barack Obama in August of that year, the sentences for a conviction concerning a crack cocaine offense brought sentences that imposed a disproportion of 100-to-1 as opposed to those found guilty of powdered cocaine violations. Many legislators and activist groups mutually believed this action spoke to the greater issue of racial disparity in the sentencing for drug crimes of this type.
Prior to the bill becoming law, an individual who was convicted of the possession of 500 grams of powdered cocaine would serve the same five-year mandatory minimum prison sentence as someone who was convicted of holding only 5 grams of its crack rock equivalent. Using the same approach, a person charged with possessing ten grams of crack would be facing a ten-year mandatory prison sentence, while to meet the same sentence an individual would have to hold one thousand grams of powdered cocaine. The implementation of the FSA amended the existing rate of one hundred times the amount of crack cocaine (100-1) in contrast to its powdered counterpart to eighteen times the amount (18-1).
Although many believe this was a step in the right direction, many advocacy groups are still fighting to get the ratio further recalculated to 1-1. After the act was signed into law, Ron Paul, the former U.S. Representative for Texas and multiple time Presidential Candidate hopeful was quoted as saying "It's called the Fair Sentencing Act, I'd like to rename it, though. I'd like to call it the Slightly Fairer Resentencing Act." The Act was also not retroactive; leaving many previously convicted of crack related offenses serving their full prison terms.
Although many of the law's critics believe that crack cocaine is more dangerous than powdered cocaine the data has not borne that out.
But what the data has demonstrated is that there is a large racial disparity in sentencing regarding crack convictions. According to The Drug Policy Alliance, a group that advocates transformation of "the mass criminalization of people of color, particularly young African American men" the statistics indicate that while rates of the use and sale of drugs such as crack cocaine are similar across racial lines, individuals that live in lower-income, high-crime areas; mostly people of color, are considerably more probable to be stopped and searched, face arrest, be prosecuted and convicted and then sent to prison for violations regarding drug laws such as crack than are those of Caucasian men.
The organization goes on to hypothesize that higher arrest rates and sentences for Latino and African Americans aren't insightful of increased incidence of the use and sale of crack cocaine in these neighborhoods, but rather a focus on the policing of lower income communities and urban areas as well as unbalanced management by the system of criminal justice as a whole. The Group also maintains that the mass criminalization of individuals living in these communities; principally male African American youths, are "as profound a system of racial control in our country as the Jim Crow laws were" during the mid-1960s.
Recently, crack cocaine usage has diminished considerably but its practice by young people, especially young black men is still disturbing.
Source: The United States National Institute on Drug Abuse.
What to do After an Arrest?
Although mandatory minimum sentencing guidelines for offenses related to crack cocaine have diminished in terms of its quantity, the penalties for any crack related conviction is still severe. To find out and understand how my law office can help you if there is knowledge that an investigation is underway concerning an impending apprehension regarding a crack cocaine offense, or if you or someone close to you has been placed under arrest for a crack cocaine related charge click here
To view my qualifications and what you should do if you are arrested and charged with any drug related crime, click here.