How Will I Know If I Have Been Charged With A Federal Drug Charge Versus Being Charged at the State Level?
Being charged with state drug charges is certainly consequential, but what about federal charges? By getting to know the laws surrounding these matters, you will be able to make educated decisions about your situation so that you can move forward with confidence and clarity.
Getting To Know Federal Drug Possession Law
Crimes involving controlled substances are considered both state and federal offenses. However, the federal government by and large limits its prosecutions based on the severity of the offense, and whether or not the crime was committed on federal land or across state lines.
Many people don’t consider the fact that Nevada is largely federally owned. The federal government controls more than 80% of the state’s land mass, totaling a whopping 56,961,778 acres out of 70,264,320 acres. These lands are vastly controlled by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and military operations and are prosecuted federally. While the majority of drug offenses take place in metropolitan (and thus, state-run) areas, it is important to keep in mind the location of where the crime was committed so that you know which entity is prosecuting your case.
If your drug crime took place in a federally owned area, it is vital that you speak with a federal drug charge lawyer as soon as possible so that you are aware of the full scope of your situation.
Severity Of Crime
Federal drug law maintains that it is illegal for an individual to intentionally or knowingly possess a controlled substance. This possession can be constructive (stored off of the body) or actual (physically carried on the body), and depending on the circumstances, have the potential to be prosecuted at the federal level.
If an individual is caught participating in activities such as drug trafficking, distribution, or manufacturing with serious criminal activity involved, it is likely that they will receive federal charges. In addition, if state law enforcement officials suspect more serious criminal activity with substantial profit involved, federal participation should be anticipated.
Other reasons why the federal authorities may get involved may include:
- If the arrest was made by a federal officer.
- The state doesn’t have enough resources to handle the complexity of the crime.
- A federal prosecutor requests jurisdiction, potentially as a way to crack down on a specific area.
- If state and federal officials agree to have the state surrender their jurisdiction to the federal government.
If you an unsure whether or not your drug charge is federally controlled, talking with a federal drug crime defense lawyer is critical.
How Nevada’s Drug Laws Are Different From Federal Laws
State drug laws in Nevada are not vastly different from that of the federal government: no person is allowed to knowingly or internationally possess a controlled substance without a prescription from a doctor. However, the repercussions of federal drug charges are different from state drug charges. It is usually preferable to be charged with drug crimes in Nevada, as the state court offers “Nevada drug court”, a program where defendants do rehab instead of prison. Along with this, Nevada has the opportunity to seal defendants’ records for drug violations, while federal records are generally always INELIGIBLE TO BE SEALED.
State drug charges are still a force to be reckoned with. Make sure you have a professional to advocate for you by working with a state-level drug charges lawyer to resolve your case.
Can I Face Both State And Federal Charges For Drug-Related Crimes?
Both the federal and state government have what’s called “concurrent jurisdiction” over drug charges. So, while it is rare, it is possible to be charged by both the state and the federal government for committing a drug-related crime.
What Do I Do If I Have Been Charged with A State Or Federal Drug Charge?
Drug charges are not taken lightly by the United States justice system. If you have been charged with a drug-related crime, it can be challenging to know where to turn. The most important thing to do in this situation is to speak with a legal professional about your charges so that you can construct legal strategies to defend yourself.
For more information on Federal Vs. State Level Drug Charges, call Yampolsky & Margolis Criminal Defense Las Vegas at (702) 385-9777 today to discuss your options and set up an initial consultation.