If you are facing the prospect of criminal prosecution, you probably want to know exactly what your charges may be, and the consequences that you could face upon conviction. While state laws vary quite a bit in terms of criminal punishments, federal law also plays a role in crimes involving drugs that cross two states’ border.
Transporting illegal substances from state to state falls under federal jurisdiction. This means that you could face charges for federal crimes independently from any state laws that you may have allegedly violated.
This is because violations of federal law are always federal crimes, even if they occur entirely in one state. Crossing state lines with a large amount of drugs is a separate federal offense, in addition to a probable violation of both states’ laws.
Difference between drug possession and trafficking
Whether the prosecutor decides to charge you with drug possession or drug trafficking depends entirely upon the circumstances surrounding your arrest. If the police claim to have found you with a small amount of drugs on your person, enough for one person to use, then you’ll likely face possession charges.
Prosecutors bring trafficking charges when they allege that there is evidence that supports their claim that the defendant intended to sell drugs. This type of evidence might include having a large quantity of the drug in the defendant’s possession or having unusual amounts of cash on hand.
If the prosecutors successfully convict someone of drug trafficking charges, their jail time could vary wildly depending upon the type and quantity of drug they had in their possession. Different types of drugs carry different penalties, and the quantity of the drug can increase the jail time as well.
When facing potential jail time and fines, it’s important to remember that the fight is not over yet. You are innocent until proven guilty, and you have the opportunity to prepare a defense to the charges with your attorney.