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What Makes A Drug Offense A Federal Crime?


State and federal drug crime laws prohibit the possession, manufacture, and sale of controlled substances. However, it can be difficult to understand just what makes something a state or federal offense. And because federal convictions often result in harsher penalties, it’s common for people to be concerned about facing federal charges.

Federal Drug Crimes

When determining if something is a state or federal crime, the answer is not always black and white. While the majority of drug possession crimes are handled at the state level, they can quickly be elevated to a federal offense.

A person can be charged with distribution, trafficking, manufacturing, or cultivating drugs or controlled substances under either federal or state law.

Whether or not a person is charged with a federal drug crime often depends on:

  • The amount of the controlled substance in question
  • The person’s intent to sell
  • If the drugs were trafficked across state borders

If a person is arrested by federal officers, there’s a greater chance of the crime being a federal offense, even in the case of relatively “minor” offenses, such as being caught smoking marijuana in a national park.

Classifying Drugs and Illegal Substances

All drugs are classified according to a schedule of one to five — one being the most serious and five being the least. The type of drug and its classification may also play a part in whether or not you face federal charges.

Schedule I: Heroin, LSD, Marijuana, Methaqualone

Schedule II: Morphine, PCP, Cocaine

Schedule III: Anabolic Steroids, Codeine, Hydrocodone, and some Barbiturates

Schedule IV: Most Benzodiazepines such as Valium and Xanax

Schedule V: Over the counter cough meds with codeine

If you’re facing state or federal drug charges, don’t leave your future up to chance. Call (214) 238-9392 to speak with our Dallas drug crime attorney today. We’re available 24/7.

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