When Does A Drug Crime Become A Federal Offense?

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Are you being charged with a drug crime?

Wondering whether you’ll be facing a state or federal offense?

While it can be serious enough to face drug crime charges in your state, it can be even more worrying if it becomes a federal offense. There are many reasons why this may happen, and if it does, you may be at risk of even more serious consequences as a result.

Below we’ll give you an overview of when this type of crime might be a federal offense.

1. A Federal Officer Or A Federal Informant Is Involved

One of the main reasons your crime may become a federal issue is if a federal officer made the arrest.

If a federal officer such as a Drug Enforcement Agent (DEA) or Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) agent becomes involved in the case in some way then it is usually very likely that it will be taken to the federal level.

Likewise, if a federal informant was involved with naming you then it is also very possible that your crime will become a federal offense.

2. The Drug Crime Took Place On Federal Property

Similarly to the above reason, your case may also go to the federal level if you’re being tried for a crime that took place on a federal property.

This means that if your crime was committed on federal land or in a facility that is owned or operated by the government, you may have a problem. This includes spaces such as national parks, federal prisons, military bases, or other similar areas and facilities.

3. The Crime Is More Severe

The nature of your crime and the seriousness of your charges will also influence whether your crime is tried on the federal or state level.

Usually, the more severe crimes are pushed up to the federal level and become a federal offense. This may include things such as drug trafficking, manufacturing drugs and the intent to distribute.

To contrast with that, however, simple possession charges are much more likely to stay at the state level.

4. The Crime Involved Crossing Country Or State Lines

Another case in which drug crimes will become a federal issue is if the crime took place out of the country and if it involved either the crossing of the country or state lines.

Smuggling and drug trafficking charges are serious issues and usually falls under federal jurisdiction. Crossing over borders while committing a crime is a surefire way to get the federal government involved.

5. Other Federal And State Arrangements

Like it or not, there is a good bit of “wiggle room” on deciding what should be tried on the state level and what should be made into a federal problem. Oftentimes individual state and federal governments will have different arrangements for certain jurisdictions.

When a state lacks significant resources to tackle a high crime area, for example, they may request assistance from the federal government.

Depending on a number of factors and various arrangements between federal and state levels in a particular area, you may find yourself facing federal drug charges instead.

Final Thoughts

Any drug crime is a serious offense, but if your charge on is the federal level you’ll often face the possibility of even stricter punishment. If you’ve found yourself facing these serious consequences and wondering how to deal with a charge you’ll need to have a good lawyer on your side.

If you’re looking for a great drug lawyer in Houston, we’re here to help. Contact us today to learn more about what we can do for you.

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