Getting arrested for a drug crime can be a scary, stressful, and confusing situation. One of the most common questions people ask is whether their case will be prosecuted in state or federal court. Many people are unaware of the circumstances necessary to try a case in federal court. While there some drug cases could either go to state or federal court, others require federal courts to have sole jurisdiction.
The following are several factors which determine whether or not a drug crime case is held in federal court:
- Federal authorities made the arrest – Whether it’s the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) or the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA), if a federal law enforcement agency arrests you, your case will often be subject to federal court proceedings. These authorities conduct an investigation with more personnel and are given an extensive amount of resources compared to state police.
- The drug crime was carried out on federal grounds – If the offense occurred on federal property, your case will be held in federal court. For instance, if a drug crime occurred within the property of a federal bank, this would be investigated by federal authorities—no matter how much drugs were involved.
- The drug crime occurred in multiple states – When a drug crime crosses state lines, the case is taken up to the federal court. If an individual purchases drugs online from someone in another state, this is considered a federal crime even though you or the dealer physically didn’t cross the state line.
- The drug crime is of a serious nature – Whether it involves manufacturing or trafficking, the more serious the criminal offense is, the more likely the federal court will end up handling it. If you were only arrested for possession of a limited amount (if you’re not on federal property), your case will likely end up in state court.
- State and federal authorities make a decision – In some cases, federal and state authorities will deliberate whether or not to try your case in federal court. It is possible for local police to refer a case to federal authorities.
A conviction in federal courts results in more severe penalties since they often deal with more serious cases. If you have been charged with a federal drug crime, our Cleveland criminal defense attorney at Patituce & Associates is ready to protect your rights, reputation, and freedom. During this frightening time, we can investigate your case, collect evidence in your favor, and build an effective defense to either get your entire case thrown out or reduce your charges/penalties.
Contact us at (440) 709-8088 and discuss your case with our legal team today.