How Do I Know If I Am Facing A Drug Charge At The Federal Or State Level?
If the federal authorities arrest you and you are brought into federal court then you will know that you are facing a drug charge at the federal level versus a state case. Typically when the federal government decides to prosecute you, their agents, the FBI typically, the secret service, homeland security, one of the arms of the federal government, will arrest you. You will be sent into court where you will usually face an indictment and the bail will typically be set at that point.
How Serious Is a Federal Drug Crime?
If someone is facing federal drug charges in federal court, it means that the feds have deemed that they should deal with it as opposed to the state, which typically means it’s a more serious case involving more quantities of drugs than the state usually deals with. It could involve interstate commerce or RICO violations.
If the federal government has decided to prosecute you for a drug case, it’s very serious and you need to get an attorney who has dealt with these federal drug cases before. A lot of times you are looking at mandatory minimum sentences.
There is a whole chart that has been developed related to different types of drugs, the amount of drugs and whether you have a prior criminal record. These are the factors that will determine how much time you are looking at; whether you are looking at a five year or a 10 year or even a 20 years mandatory minimum.
What Happens If Indicted On a Federal Drug-Related Charge?
After you have been indicted on a federal drug-related charge, you will go to court for a detention hearing. The judge will determine whether or not you will be detained for the pendency of your case, meaning while the case is pending.
Some sort of conditions can be met that can get you out, such as a property bond or a signature bond. There are a number of different things that can be utilized in order to get you out of custody. Obviously, you are going to want to have your criminal defense attorney use those things for you so you can get out.
Once the detention hearing is over, you will be assigned to a particular judge in the jurisdiction where your case is pending; that judge’s rules will basically control the flow of the case from there. Your criminal defense attorney will know how to handle that assuming they are familiar with that particular judge or that particular jurisdiction.
Your federal criminal defense attorney will be the main guides of what happens next. Is there going to be a jail motion filed? Is there going to be a motion to suppress the evidence filed? Were there wiretaps used in the case? Is your attorney going to file a wiretap motion to try and block some of that evidence? Is the case going to go to trial? Will some sort of plea agreement be worked out? These are all questions that your attorney is going to be considering and discussing with you once all the relevant discovery has been reviewed and once your attorney has assessed the case.
Where Will My Federal Drug Case Be Tried?
Federal drug cases typically are tried in the jurisdiction of where the crime occurred. If you are accused of moving drugs in and out of a particular state then that state will have a jurisdiction for wherever is closest when you moved it.
If it’s two different states or multiple states, then it is something that will be discussed by federal authorities as to which state will deal with the drug convictions. They have their policies and how they decide which state will prosecute a particular case depending on how many contacts the defendant has in that state and depending on their policy and view of the case.
Can I Be Released Awaiting Trial on Federal Drug Charge?
You are entitled to be released from prison if you are awaiting trial for a federal drug charge but it will ultimately be up to a federal judge or a magistrate who hears your case and who determines whether you are detained or released on some sort of a condition. Detention really has to do with evaluating whether or not you are a flight risk and whether you are a danger to the community.
The probation department and most of the federal courts will weigh in on that issue. They will look at your criminal history. They will talk to your family members. They will look at the particular crime that’s involved.
They will make a recommendation to the judge as to whether or not you should be detained or whether they think you should be out on some sort of property bond, a signature bond or whether you should be released under some other condition that makes sense related to your case.
For more information on Facing A Federal Drug Charge, a free initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (213) 374-3952 today.
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