When Do Drug Cases Go Federal?

 In Criminal Law

Generally, those facing drug charges can expect to be tried and punished according to state laws. However, when a drug crime crosses into the federal level, the case becomes immensely more pressing and the prospective punishment more severe. Let’s go over the five instances drug cases would surpass the state, and you’d be held accountable on a federal level.

1. Transporting Drugs Across States

Typically, this is what happens in most drug cases when a the crime morphs into a federal offense. If you were to, for example, act as a carrier for cocaine from Florida to New Jersey, the case is federal, de facto. The moment state lines are crossed is the moment the charges become more critical and the punishment harsher.

2. Arrested by a Federal Agent

If an agency under the auspices of the federal government, such as the DEA, is after you, and you were detained by a federal agent, it automatically becomes a federal case, as you can expect. Drug busts are a common scenario where this happens.

3. Arrested on Federal Land

Any crime committed on federal property becomes an interest of the federal government. These locations include national parks and military bases, for example. Though this situation is a rarity, it’s useful information to be aware of; the consequences of committing a crime on federal land are harsh.

4. Commission of a Big Crime

An obvious stipulation: if you commit a big crime, you are held accountable by the federal government. For example, if a state does not have the resources to take on large drug cases, federal agencies will assist, making it a federal case.

5. Named by a Federal Informant

Once again, this involves the commission of a big crime for the federal government to take notice in the first place. Once the informant names you in a crime and you’re arrested, the charges will be handled on a federal basis.

These are the primary situations drug cases would be escalated from a state issue to a federal one. Criminal law is one of the Slaughter Law Firm’s areas of focus. If you’re interested in finding out more, don’t hesitate to contact us.