When facing criminal charges, you could be tried in a state court or a federal court. Florida has a multitude of laws banning the sale, possession and manufacturing of certain narcotics, as does the federal government. When the federal statutes are violated, you could be tried in federal courts and face more extreme punishments.
Law enforcement agencies are better funded at the federal level, compared to those at the state or local levels. Federal agents and prosecutors have tremendous resources available to them at each stage of the investigation and prosecution. If you are convicted of federal drug crimes, you could face time in a federal prison, which often is stricter than state prison.
Drug crimes are some of the most prominent issues tried in federal court, and the offenses are taken seriously. The punishments for drug crimes on the federal level are more severe. If you are charged with a federal drug crime, it is important you have an attorney who is familiar with federal procedures to help you defend your rights.
Contact a Melbourne federal drug crime defense attorney at the Law Offices of Germain & McCarthy, LLC. Our firm represents clients throughout Central and Eastern Florida, including Melbourne, Winter Park, Orlando, Deltona, Holly Hill, Sanford, Vero Beach, Kissimmee and Saint Cloud. Call (321) 253-3447 to schedule a free case consultation.
Florida and the United States have laws that prohibit the sale, possession, and manufacturing of certain narcotics, including marijuana, cocaine and heroin. The U.S. Congress passed the Controlled Substance Act in 1970 banning these drugs and establishing the "scheduling" classifications of drugs, depending on their severity and use.
The Drug Enforcement Agency is responsible for enforcing these national laws. The agency can override a state's case against an individual if it allows for the opportunity to pursue drug activity on a larger scale, such as those in cartels. The federal government often is interested in the manufacture, cultivation, transportation and sale of large quantities of narcotics.
Typically, for smaller crimes, the federal government only becomes involved in a case if the individual is accused of an offense that affects more than one state, such as drug tracking across state borders. Additionally, the federal government can have jurisdiction if the crime occurs on the internet, such as selling drugs online.
There are several different types of drug charges that can be prosecuted on the federal level, according to the Controlled Substance Act. Some of those include:
A person can be tried at the federal level if you are caught committing a crime by a federal informant; you are caught committing a crime by a federal agent or on federal property; or if state and federal prosecutors agree to try you at the federal level.
If you are convicted of a federal drug crime, the penalties will be determined by the nature of the offense. The amount of drugs involved in the crime is crucial in calculating the punishments, under the Controlled Substance Act. The penalties can include between 10 and 20 years in prison.
Crimes that resulted in death or serious injury will receive harsher penalties, which could mean up to 20 years in prison and millions of dollars in fines. If a weapon was used during the alleged crime, the penalties also could be harsher.
Some federal crimes have mandatory minimum sentences in place that give the judge limited discretion when determining a sentence. The policies originally were designed to ensure hardened criminals receive appropriate punishments for crimes.
For example, if you are convicted of a first-time offense of distributing one or more kilograms of heroin, but no bodily harm was done, the mandatory minimum sentence would be 10 years in prison.
According to the Controlled Substance Act, there is no limitation on the information concerning the background, character and conduct of a person convicted of a federal crime. The court can obtain as much information needed and use it to impose what it thinks is an appropriate sentence.
Federal charges are different from state charges in several ways. You need an attorney who has experience defending clients on the federal level. If you have been charged with a federal drug crime, contact a Melbourne criminal defense attorney at the Law Offices of Germain & McCarthy, LLC. The attorneys are licensed in federal district courts. Call (321) 253-3447 to discuss your case and schedule a free evaluation.