There are significant differences between being tried in a state court versus a federal court. One of the primary differences involves the potential penalties upon conviction. If you’re facing federal charges, you can expect the penalties to be far more severe than they would be for a state-level case. For defendants facing federal drug charges, it’s crucial to select a criminal defense lawyer who has previously represented clients in federal court.
Arrest by a Federal Officer
One reason why your case might be prosecuted in federal court is if you were arrested by a federal officer. This can occur if you were arrested as part of an investigation by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). However, federal drug arrests do not always involve lengthy investigations. You could be arrested for possessing a very small amount of an illegal substance on national park property, for example.
Arrest as the Result of an Informant
It’s not uncommon for a criminal defense attorney to try to arrange a sentence reduction for a client on the basis of providing substantial assistance to an investigation. If you were arrested on the basis of assistance provided by a federal informant, then your case is automatically transferred to federal court.
Decisions Made by State and Federal Prosecutors
Sometimes, the decision whether to prosecute a defendant in state or federal court is less cut-and-dry. It may simply be the result of an agreement made between state and federal prosecutors. State or local law enforcement officers might make a drug arrest in cooperation with federal investigators, for example.
Drug Offenses Across State Lines
Criminal activity perpetrated across state lines can be tried in federal court. Most federal drug cases involve charges of drug trafficking. The severity of the penalties upon conviction depends on the specific type and amount of drug involved in the case.
At The Law Offices of Mark F. Fernandez , our criminal defense lawyers focus exclusively on criminal law cases – including drug offenses prosecuted in federal court. To arrange for unparalleled legal representation, call our law firm at (214) 613-2186. Our criminal defense attorney in Dallas, TX provides aggressive legal advocacy services to protect the rights and freedom of defendants.