Drug crimes are among the most serious crimes that someone can be arrested for or charged with under either state or federal law in Florida. Although many people may not realize this, most drug crimes can be charged in either state or federal court depending on the facts of the particular scenario in which an individual finds him or herself. This distinction between the two is extremely important, however, as the penalties provided under federal law are typically much steeper than the corresponding penalty for the same offense under state law. Therefore, many drug crimes end up being charged in federal, rather than state, court because defendants often are considered by prosecutors to be less likely to fight the charges if they know that they are facing the stiffer penalties normally provided for under federal law for drug crimes. However, regardless of whether you are facing drug charges in state or federal court, is it very important to hire an attorney who is experienced in representing individuals accused of a drug crime rather than a criminal defense attorney with little to no experience in this area of the law.
What Is the Difference Between Being Charged with a Drug Crime in Federal Versus State Court?
Many drug crimes are prosecuted in federal, rather than state, court despite the fact that someone who is possessing, distributing, or trafficking cocaine, marijuana, or other illicit substances is often violating both state and federal law by doing so. Many federal drug crimes carry with them mandatory minimum penalties that often are not present under state law, which can be a stick that federal prosecutors and law enforcement agents will often wield in attempting to convince a defendant to accept a plea deal. Federal and state prosecutors therefore may work together in order to decide whether to pursue charges against a particular individual under federal law versus state law, depending on the circumstances of the particular offense. For example, if someone is pulled over by a Florida Highway Patrol trooper, who then discovers several pounds of cocaine in the person’s trunk, then both federal and state authorities and prosecutors are likely to work together on the case. It can therefore become a question as to whether state or federal officials will take the lead. Working in conjunction, both law enforcement and prosecutors will then make a strategic decision based on many factors, including the nature of the offense, the potential penalties associated with charging the person under state versus federal law, the speed with which it might take to ultimately resolve the charges in state versus federal court, etc.
The consequences of being charged under state versus federal law or the reverse often can be quite significant. First, the court in which your charges will be adjudicated is completely different, with different procedures to match, depending on whether you are charged under state or federal law. For example, criminal proceedings in federal court are typically resolved quicker than in state court simply because state courts are often clogged with a much higher number of cases than the federal courts are. As a criminal defendant, this can mean that your case will end up going to trial, or ultimately resolve either through a trial, plea deal, or otherwise, sooner in federal court than it would in state court. From a prosecutor’s perspective, this may mean that state and federal prosecutors working in conjunction decide to charge the individual in the hypothetical scenario of the person found to have cocaine during a traffic stop above under federal rather than state law; this sends a message or puts the individual behind bars for a longer period of time quicker by pursuing charges against that individual in federal rather than state court.
Contact Experienced Palm Beach County Criminal
Defense Attorney Bryan Raymond
If you have been arrested or are facing criminal charges in Palm Beach County, Florida for a drug crime, you will need an aggressive criminal defense attorney experienced in representing defendants who have been charged with drug crimes under both state and federal law. You also need an attorney who is unafraid to fight the charges against you from the first appearance through the end of trial. Regardless of whether the charges against you are pending in state or federal court, attorney Bryan Raymond of the Law Office of Bryan Raymond has experience representing those who have been charged with all manner of drug crimes in both state and federal court in Florida. Bryan knows the different procedures and laws applicable to state versus federal court and is not only experienced, but equally comfortable, in both state and federal court. This is unlike some criminal defense attorneys who specialize in charges pending in one court but not the other. If you’ve been arrested for or charged with a drug crime in Palm Beach County, contact experienced criminal defense attorney Bryan Raymond today at (561) 682-1115 or firstname.lastname@example.org.