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Federal Drug Charges vs. State Drug Charges

When it comes to drug-related charges there are a number of factors that determine the proper classification of the offense. For many people, this area of the law can be confusing since some do not understand what determines whether or not a conviction is on the state or federal level. Here, we will examine what the classification means for the accused. It is important to understand how each type of charge is handled and the potential outcome for either.

Federal Drug Charges

Generally speaking, there are a few factors that set federal drug charges apart from state charges. For instance, crimes on the federal level tend to focus on the “bigger picture” approach to enforcing laws. When it comes to drug crimes, federal agencies are generally focused on drug manufacturing and trafficking. These type of operations include extensive field work including undercover operations and ongoing detective work. If convicted, the consequences are usually much harsher for federal level crimes. Federal drug charges are defined as criminal activity that is pursued by federal officials. Some of the agencies that would pursue federal drug charges include:

  • FBI;
  • DEA; and
  • Secret Service.

Essentially, any federal agency that handles drug charges can apprehend individuals that are breaking federal laws. This means it will bypass any state-related drug law.

State Drug Charges

State drug charges are generally handled on a smaller scale. However, please note that this does not mean that state drug charges are not serious. Many of them carry felony charges and can lead to extensive jail time. While federal drug charges are focused on large operations, state level enforcement focuses on crimes such as small sales or possession. Local officials on a state, city, or county level will handle these type of charges. People who are arrested for state drug charges will be held in a local jail while arrests on the federal level will be held in a federal establishment. Additionally, the outcome in court is usually far less severe for people who are convicted of a state level drug charge.

Potential Issues

On occasion, issues arise because of the distinction between state and federal drug laws. For example, some states allow the recreational use of marijuana, but it remains illegal on the federal level. While state officials do not pursue people who are growing or using marijuana, federal officials do. Additionally, state officials only have jurisdiction in their home state while federal officials have jurisdiction in any US state. It is important for individuals to be aware of not only their state laws surrounding drug use, but also the federal laws as well.

Criminal Defense Attorney

If you are located in the West Palm Beach, Florida area and need legal advice, contact Scott Skier. Attorney Skier has experience handling a variety of drug-related cases and has the knowledge to create a solid legal defense. Allow his Attorney Skier to use his aggressive defense approach to work for you. Contact him today for a free consultation.

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