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When Do Drug Charges Become a Federal Offense?

August 3rd, 2018 at 3:50 pm

drug charges, federal drug charge, federal offense, Rolling Meadows criminal defense attorneys, state drug chargeBoth federal and state laws and regulations govern the use, possession, distributing, and manufacturing of drugs. Illinois has a set of drug laws, but so does the federal government. There is a big difference between being charged with a state drug charge and a federal drug charge. Therefore, it is important to know when a drug charge could become a federal charge. Each case is unique and has its own circumstances and issues, but there are different factors at play that could elevate a state drug charge to a federal one.

Factors to Consider

The following describes a number of factors to consider that may affect a drug charge:

  • The arresting officer – One of the biggest clues involves who is making the arrest. Being arrested by a federal agent is a huge sign that you will be charged with a federal crime. Sometimes local law enforcement, or state police, will ask federal agents to aid in their case. Often, state and federal officers will work together to conduct a sting to catch criminals.
  • Where the crime occurred – Crimes that occur on federal land could result in a federal drug charge. One such example is a crime occurring in a national park.
  • Statements offered by informants – In some drug cases, there is someone who is already being investigated by the federal government. These individuals often become informants for the government and will trade names and information about crimes of others for a reduced sentence or immunity. An informant working on behalf of the federal government will likely result in a federal drug charge.
  • Severity of the drug charge or offense – States often prosecute the smaller drug crimes, while the federal government prosecutes drug crimes that happen on a larger scale.

Why This Matters

One of the biggest differences between federal and state drug crimes are the penalties associated with them. Federal charges that result in a conviction carry longer sentences than state crimes. There are longer federal mandatory sentencing guidelines than the sentencing guidelines at the state level. Additionally, federal drug crimes do not have a parole program and probation is rarely granted.

If there is any doubt as to what type of drug charge is at issue, state and local authorities will discuss the issue and come to a determination as to who is better suited to prosecute the case.

We Can Help You Today

If you have been charged with a drug crime, either state or federal, you need a dedicated and knowledgeable attorney. The skilled Rolling Meadows criminal defense attorneys at The Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley are here to help you. Don’t hesitate to reach out to us today for assistance.

Source:

https://www.ussc.gov/research/research-reports/mandatory-minimum-penalties-drug-offenses-federal-system

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Written by Staff Writer

August 3rd, 2018 at 3:50 pm

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