When a person in New York is arrested for a drug crime they can feel like everyone is against them. While it is true that drug crimes are aggressively prosecuted and can be punishable by heavy fines and long prison sentences, they can also turn more severe if they are a federal crime. So how does a drug crime turn from a state crime to a federal crime?
When a person is arrested for a drug crime, they assume they will be prosecuted on the state level. This is usually the case but there are circumstances where a drug crime turns federal.
Federal drug crimes
- Crossing state lines. In general, most drug crimes become federal when the crime committed involved crossing state lines or international borders. If a person crosses state lines with a large amount of a controlled substance, they may be charged with federal drug trafficking.
- Arresting officer. If a federal officer arrests a person for drug crimes, they will most likely be facing federal charges. The severity of the charges is dictated by the amount of drugs as well as other circumstances including whether a person has a weapon.
- Government property. If a person was caught selling rugs on federal property, they will face federal drug crimes. Examples include possessing drugs in a federal courthouse, national park, or federal prison.
- Post office. If a person transports drugs via the United States Post Office or private mail carrier such as FedEx or UPS, they can face federal drug crimes.
If a person is facing federal drug charges, they may want to speak with an attorney who specializes in criminal defense. An attorney understands that if their client is convicted of these charges that they will face serious penalties. In these cases, it is important to have an attorney who protects their client’s legal rights and obtains the best possible outcome.