Accusations of committing a drug crime of any degree have the potential to impact every aspect of your life. The severity of the charges against you can determine whether your case will see prosecution at the state or federal level.
Though it can be overwhelming to stand trial in either a state or federal court, you have options to defend yourself from the charges against you. Understanding whether the law considers the alleged offense to be a state or federal matter will help you prepare for the situation accordingly.
When is a drug crime tried at the state level?
The Florida drug courts have jurisdiction over drug-related crimes within the state that do not escalate to the federal level. The majority of drug crimes, including instances of illegal possession, sale or manufacturing, will go to trial in a state court. However, the possession of substances that are not illegal in the state will not go to trial even if federal law prohibits them.
When is a drug crime tried at the federal level?
Drug crimes that extend beyond the jurisdiction of a single state, such as trafficking operations across state lines, become federal offenses. Crimes that take place on federal property, or that involve the use of the United State Postal Service to transport illegal substances are also federal in nature. In some cases, a drug crime may even escalate to the federal courts simply due to a particularly large quantity of illegal substances involved.
It is often the case that offenses tried in a federal court imply much harsher consequences than those that remain in state-level courts. Even so, you can protect your rights and freedoms by building a defense that gives you the best possible shot of a favorable outcome.