When Attorney General Sessions began advocating for more rigorous enforcement of marijuana use, federal prosecution began to enforce cases involving marijuana use much more strictly. This shift occurred when Attorney General Sessions rescinded the Obama-era memo that allowed federal prosecution in states where marijuana is legal. In states where recreational use of marijuana is still legal, however, many people have begun to wonder if there are changes coming to marijuana cases. Instead, federal law enforcement remains on prosecution on only the most serious marijuana cases. Given this change in perspectives between administrations, people who are charged with drug offenses might wonder when a drug case will become prosecuted at a federal level. Simply put, any drug charge has the potential to be prosecuted at either a state or federal level. There are some factors, however, that make a drug case more likely to be prosecuted at a federal level. If you are facing federal drug charges, it is important to immediately retain the assistance of a skilled federal criminal defense lawyer.
The Difference Between Federal and State Drug Charges
There are significant differences between federal or state drug charges. In general, federal penalties for drug charges are much more severe than state penalties. As a result, this difference can influence how many years a person ends up spending in prison if convicted, as well as how many thousands of dollars are ultimately owed to the government.
How a Drug Charge can Become a Federal Case
The five primary reasons why a drug case is prosecuted at a federal level include the following:
- A federal informant names a person.
- A federal officer made an arrest. These offices are often either from the Drug Enforcement Agency or the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
- The crime occurred on federal property. Federal property for the purposes of this law includes land that is owned or operated by the federal government. As a result, this property could include federal prisons, military bases, and national parks.
- The crime involved crossing states line or leaving the country. This category will almost always automatically result in a case being prosecuted at a federal level. Due to smuggling from countries out of the United States, this category represents a large number of drug cases.
- A catch-all category, which includes all of the other ways that a drug charge can become federal. Some reasons include if the state lacks the resources to prosecute a complicated case, a federal prosecutor requests jurisdiction or state and federal officials agree that the state will relinquish its jurisdiction over the case to the federal government.
Obtain the Services of a Seasoned Criminal Defense Lawyer
If you are charged with marijuana use on a federal level, it is essential that you quickly obtained the assistance of skilled legal counsel. The attorneys at Federal Criminal Law Center have significant experience creating strong legal strategies to respond to federal drug charges. Speak to one of our lawyers today to discuss the various options that are available with your case.