Federal Drug Charges
Drug charges may become federal at any time because drug offenses are both state and federal in nature. It is important to have some contextual knowledge about criminal prosecution and jurisdiction in the United States in order to understand how drug charges become federal. The federal government and state government both have the authority to prosecute criminals. Sometimes only federal or state has the authority, and sometimes they both have authority (i.e. jurisdiction).
The 5 most significant ways that a drug charge can become federal are:
- A federal informant named you
- A federal officer made your arrest
- The crime occurred on federal property
- The crime involved crossing state lines or out of the country
- The catch-all category.
In addition to the aforementioned ways, it is also important to remember that it is possible to be prosecuted by both the federal and state governments on separate occasions, without a double jeopardy violation. There is a major difference in length of sentencing between state and federal penalties. Federal punishments are almost always harsher than state punishments.
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