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Aggressive Defense For Drug Charges

If you are facing a drug charge, you are likely dealing with a more complex situation than you would with other types of criminal charges. This is due to the fact that drug charges are considered both a state and federal crime, even if you are arrested by a local police officer. Drug arrests seem to increase by the year, and it's critical that you understand the difference between state drug offenses and federal drug crimes.

When The Police Start Asking Questions, It's Time To Hire A Lawyer

As soon as you think you are under suspicion of a drug charge in Ohio, stop talking to the police and start talking to an experienced attorney. At The Youngstown Criminal Law Group, you can count on years of experience in state and federal courtrooms, including successfully representing more than 1000 clients facing misdemeanor and felony charges in state and federal courts. Serving clients in Youngstown and communities throughout Steel Valley, Ohio.

Common Types Of Drug Charges

Drug charges range in severity depending on the reason for the arrest. Common drug charges at both the state and federal level include:

  • Possession: The majority of drug arrests are made for possession of illicit drugs and substances. In most cases, the people who are in possession of these drugs are not intending to sell the drugs to another party. The police have simply found drugs on their person or within their property, and therefore must be arrested on drug charges. This is a relatively minor drug offense, and it's incredibly common. In most cases, possession charges are dealt with at the state or local level.
  • Sale, trafficking or distribution: Possession with intent to sell is a more serious drug charge. Depending on the conditions of the arrest and where the intended sale was to take place, this charge may be a state or federal crime. The consequences for this particular crime are often more severe than a simple possession charge. This drug charge is also not nearly as common as possession charges are throughout the entire country.
  • Manufacture: If you are arrested because you have been discovered manufacturing drugs or purchasing paraphernalia required to manufacture drugs, you likely will face a manufacture drug charge. Similar to sale charges, this charge can be a state or federal offense. It also carries with it more severe penalties, particularly if the charge is combined with a sale charge.

How A Drug Charge Becomes A Federal Offense

There are a variety of circumstances in which a drug charge becomes a federal offense. In most cases, a drug charge is a federal offense because the arresting officer is a federal officer. Federal officers patrol the national parks, for example, so anyone caught with possession of drugs at a national park will be facing federal drug charges. In addition, the Drug Enforcement Administration is a federal agency that works throughout the country to curb drug use and distribution. An arrest made by a DEA officer is considered a federal drug offense.

In some cases, an arrest is made because federal officers have been informed of drug activity by another person who is facing federal drug charges. This individual may be given leniency in their own consequences if they provide the officers with additional information about drug production, sales, distribution or possession. The subsequent arrests as a result of the informant are considered federal drug offenses, and require those arrested to maneuver their charges through the federal system.

Federal law enforcement agencies also have a tendency to partner with local and state law enforcement officials in order to curb drug use and drug crimes in particular regions. In the event that you have been arrested on a local drug charge, you may find that your offense becomes a federal crime after a deal is struck between federal and state prosecutors. In this situation, there is nothing that can be done to change the nature of the offense. There is no appeals process once the charge has been upgraded to a federal crime.

Consequences For State Drug Charges

In most cases, state drug charges carry with them less severe penalties. This is largely due to the fact that state drug charges are often more minor offenses, with more serious drug charges being considered federal crimes. Depending on the charges, state penalties may range from a probationary period to a short-term jail sentence. In some cases, if the person arrested does not have an extensive criminal history, state drug charges may result in a fine rather than more severe penalties. Each state has its own set of drug laws as well as its own drug sentencing procedures, so the actual penalties and consequences will vary based on the state in which the arrest takes place.

Consequences For Federal Drug Crimes

Federal drug charges carry with them more severe penalties. It's important to understand that the majority of federal prisoners are imprisoned on drug related charges — and federal prisons rarely offer the possibility of parole. Those facing federal drug charges can expect more severe punishments, even if the charge is a minor misdemeanor. For example, a federal possession charge may carry a longer sentence or higher fine than a state possession charge. Another reason that federal drug charges have a tendency to have more serious consequences is the fact that they are often more serious drug charges. Trafficking, sale, and possession on federal property are more serious drug charges than possession or sale charges that are dealt with at the local or level.

Working with a legal expert will help you understand the local and state drug laws within your area, and can help you avoid a complex federal drug charge against you. If you can avoid a federal drug charge, you will likely face a lighter sentence with more options and increased possibility for parole.

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