Any interaction with the criminal justice system can be a terrifying experience, and can have severe consequences on your permanent record. However, there is a big difference between criminal charges for a state crime and for a federal crime. Here are some of the instances in which federal drug crime charges may be on the table for you.
Crossing a state border
In general, each state handles the prosecution of drug possession or distribution within their own territory. However, when someone transports drugs across state borders, they could face charges for violation of the Controlled Substances Act. This is a federal statute that governs the penalties associated with each type of drug, and the quantity that the defendant had in their possession.
The severity of the penalty depends on the schedule (or category) that the drug fits into, as well as the quantity, and whether the prosecutor can prove that the defendant had the intent to distribute the drug or had it merely for personal use.
Possession of drugs on federal property
If a police officer or DEA agent arrests you for drug possession or distribution while you are on federal land, it’s likely that you will face federal charges. Federal land includes government buildings and national parks.
You could also face federal charges if you used federal services in the commission of the offense. A common example of this is using the United States Postal Service for the distribution of controlled substances.
In many cases, defendants with federal charges face the prospect of much more severe penalties than if they were in state court. Although it’s never easy to prepare yourself for a criminal trial, it can help to know the possibilities of the charges that you could have to defend against.