Federal Drug Crimes
Being charged with any criminal offense can be frightening, confusing, and overwhelming. This is especially true for those who are accused of violating a federal law, violations of which tend to be aggressively prosecuted and come with severe penalties. Fortunately, not all drug offenses are charged at the federal level, but are instead charged in state court, so if you are being investigated by a federal agency for your participation in a federal offense, you should speak with an experienced federal crime lawyer who can determine whether your case should be re-assigned to state court, or your charges dismissed entirely.
How Does a Drug Crime Become a Federal Offense?
The laws governing the possession, use, and distribution of controlled substances exist at both the state and federal levels. Generally, state laws involve activities that take place within a particular state’s limited geographical area. Federal drug charges, on the other hand, can be raised when drug-related activities cross state lines or take place on federal property.
It is also possible for someone who is accused of breaking a state drug law to be charged in federal court if a federal agency was somehow involved in the investigation of the case. Federal charges are also much more likely to be levied when the alleged offense is especially severe, so while a simple possession case might be tried at the state level, crimes related to drug trafficking or manufacturing will most likely be charged in federal court. Finally, any criminal acts that indicate that the parties are somehow involved in an ongoing criminal enterprise are usually considered illegal under federal law and so will be tried in federal court.
The Differences Between State and Federal Drug Charges
Generally, drug crimes that are committed by first offenders at the state level are usually considered less serious than their federal counterparts and so carry much lighter penalties. Federal judges, on the other hand, are required to comply with a series of federal rules that require mandatory minimum prison sentences upon conviction. Furthermore, federal courts, unlike state courts, don’t allow defendants to take part in parole programs, which means that federal offenses are almost always accompanied by severe penalties. It is also not uncommon for federal drug charges, such as trafficking and distribution of controlled substances, to be accompanied by other federal charges, such as tax evasion, which can add additional fines and prison time to a person’s sentence.
Types of Federal Drug Crimes
Although there are a number of different types of federal drug offenses, the most commonly charged involve allegations of the manufacturing or distribution of and trafficking in a controlled substance. It is even possible to be charged with these crimes for merely possessing certain substances, even if the usable illegal substance isn’t actually present. For instance, merely possessing a lab with certain chemical agents can lead to charges of manufacturing a controlled substance. Similarly, a person can be charged with trafficking in a controlled substance even if he or she never actually sold the substance, but was merely arrested with a certain quantity of it in his or her possession.
Contact an Experienced Federal Crime Lawyer
To speak with dedicated Miami attorney Jeffrey S. Weiner, P.A. about your own pending federal drug charges, please call us at 305-670-9919. Initial consultations are offered free of charge.