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Differences Between State and Federal Drug Charges

Most criminal offenses are pretty clear in describing the type of conduct that is illegal at the state level compared to the federal level. Most state and federal drug laws are actually pretty similar, so what determines if someone will be charged by the state or federal government? There are actually a variety of reasons why a drug case will be charged as a federal case instead of a state case. The most common reasons for a federal indictment include:

  • A federal agency is investigating the case or made the arrest.
  • The crime alleged involves opioids or prescription drugs.
  • The crime alleged involves health care fraud.
  • The crime alleged is significant in nature.
  • The crime is alleged to have crossed state or international borders.
  • The crime is alleged to have been committed on federal land.

The existence of any of the above reasons can easily lead to federal drug charges. If you have any questions about criminal drug offenses, then you should speak to an experienced criminal defense attorney who can best guide you.

Federal Drug Crime Penalties

The biggest difference that exists between state and federal drug crimes is the level of punishment that a person can receive upon conviction. Federal drug crime penalties are generally significantly more serious than the penalties a person would receive for the conviction of a similar state crime. Many federal drug offenses carry mandatory minimums which are described in federal criminal drug statutes. These mandatory minimums can be as little is 1 year in jail or up to life in prison depending on the circumstances involved in the drug charge. The existence of a conspiracy to distribute illegal drugs will also enhance the possibility of receiving a mandatory minimum sentence upon a conviction. Mandatory minimum sentences that are handed out as a result of drug convictions represent approximately 2/3 the overall mandatory minimums that are imposed for all federal criminal cases. The state of North Carolina also has mandatory minimums for drug convictions. These minimums range from 25 months to 225 months depending on the type of drug involved and its weight. The existence of mandatory minimums opens the door to injustice with each case due to the enhanced possibility of an unjust sentence that is not based on the case itself, but only a couple of factors. If you are facing a state or federal drug charge, then give us a call at Snow Legal so we can help you understand the charges you are facing and decide the next steps in your case.

Call Today for a Free Consultation with Snow Legal

If you are facing state or federal criminal charges, it is important to speak to an experienced criminal defense attorney immediately. The attorneys at Snow Legal are proud to offer a Free initial consultation to anyone facing the potential of criminal charges. Let our experience help guide you towards taking the strongest possible approach in your defense. Call us today at (704) 358-0026 or contact us online.