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Which Drug Crimes Are Prosecuted Under Federal Law?

The reason your drug crime lawyer in Ohio may argue for state rather than federal jurisdiction is that judges at state levels are not subject to federal sentencing guidelines, which generally impose heavier drug crime penalties.

Federal drug crime jurisdiction

The main factor that determines federal drug crime jurisdiction is drug activity that crosses state lines or U.S. borders.

The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) vigorously conducts federal investigations of drug crime and enforces federal drug laws. The DEA’s mission is to reduce controlled substance use through the enforcement of U.S. drug laws. Some activities the DEA engages in to accomplish its goals include:

  • Drug investigations
  • A national drug intelligence program that cooperates with federal, state, local, and foreign officials
  • Prosecution preparation for cases involving drug violations
  • Seizure and forfeiture of drug crime related assets

The Controlled Substances Act 21 USC Chapter 13–Drug Abuse Prevention and Control establishes federal laws for drug abuse, and in particular, the section entitled
United States Code: Title 21, Part D defines federal drug crimes.

If you face federal prosecution on drug trafficking charges in Ohio, do not underestimate the value of an effective defense. Seek skilled representation from an Ohio criminal lawyer.

What types of drug crimes do federal courts prosecute?

Drug crimes that federal courts prosecute range from possession, sale, distribution, and manufacture to drug trafficking offenses of controlled substances. While many young people are unaware of federal violations, the fact is that prosecution for illegally obtained prescription drugs and marijuana can pose serious challenges, imprisonment, and restrictions of your freedoms. Beyond possession, activities that involve people with drugs—such as drug sale, manufacture, and distribution—are considered drug trafficking and are subject to harsher penalties. When authorities find large drug quantities in possession or being transported, they assume a broader activity is involved than merely possession.

For example, federal penalties for a first drug trafficking offense involving possession of five to 49 grams of methamphetamine or a 50 to 499 grams mixture are:

  • Minimum five years and maximum 40 years in prison
  • If also involving serious injury or death, 20 years minimum and maximum of life
  • Maximum fine—two million dollars if an individual
  • Maximum fine—five million if not an individual

Conviction is a significant threat. The Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) reported that the federal prison population doubled from 1990 to 1998. The Bureau of Justice statistics show that in 2007 more inmates were imprisoned for drug offenses than any other type of offense.

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