Whether a state or federal court tries you for a criminal offense will affect the severity of the consequences before you. In the case of drug-related crimes, it may not be immediately clear if the offense warrants prosecution at the federal or state level.
It stands to reason that if you are under accusation for a drug offense, the local legal system will process your case. However, you can better know what to expect by understanding when a drug crime becomes a federal offense.
What constitutes a federal drug offense?
In some cases, a particularly significant volume of drugs may be enough to escalate a criminal case to the federal courts. Drug trafficking operations that extend across state lines are also federal offenses, regardless of the number of illegal substances transported. Any crime that takes place on or otherwise utilizes federal property is beyond state jurisdiction as well.
What constitutes a state-level drug offense?
The Texas Department of Public Safety reports 88,651 drug abuse arrests in the state for the year 2020, illustrating the fact the potential volume of offenses triable at the state level. These offenses can include the illegal possession, sale, or manufacturing of narcotic drugs. The possession of any substance, such as hemp, which is illegal federally but legal in Texas will not result in a criminal charge within the state.
Most drug crimes are within the jurisdiction of state-level courts. If your case escalates to the federal level, whether rightfully or wrongfully, you need a strong defense strategy to match.