What Drug Charges Are Federal Felony Crimes?

What Drug Charges Are Federal Felony Crimes?If you have been arrested or charged with a crime, there are two words you do not want to hear in reference to your charges: federal or felony. Being charged with a federal felony offense can place the rest of your life in jeopardy.

In one of the most important fights of your life, you need the skilled drug crimes attorneys at the Mary Beth Harrell Law Firm. We have a winning record of defending our clients in federal court, including successful outcomes for clients whose federal drug offenses have gone to federal court in Waco, Texas.

Differences between federal, state, felony, and misdemeanor charges

There is one key difference between felony and misdemeanor charges: the severity of penalties and consequences upon conviction. Felony drug offenses, for example, will have greater consequences than misdemeanor drug offenses.

The difference between federal charges and state charges, however, is all about jurisdiction: whichever entity has control is the one that charges you. (In some cases, however, you can face similar charges from the state AND the federal government.)

Although a conviction in general can present many future challenges in life, severe penalties are guaranteed if convicted of a federal felony drug offense.

What determines whether drug charges are federal or felony?

There are several factors that determine whether a drug crime moves from state to federal felony charges:

  • The location where your drug offense took place. If your drug offense happens on federal property, your drug charge will automatically be considered a federal drug offense.
  • The law enforcement agency that is investigating your offense. If your drug offense is being investigated by a federal agency like the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) or Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), you are guaranteed to be charged with a federal or felony drug offense.
  • The quantity of the drugs that are in your possession. When you are caught with a large amount of drugs in your possession, your drug charges can transition from a misdemeanor to a felony charge.
  • Other offenses that you committed in addition to your drug charge. If you were in the midst of committing another serious offense like possessing a firearm, your drug charge can automatically become a federal felony offense.

What types of federal drug charges can be felonies?

Some common federal felony drug charges include:

Drug possession

Drug possession is a drug offense where a person knowingly possesses an illegal controlled substance with the purpose of manufacturing, distributing, or dispensing the substance. Federal law defines a controlled substance as a drug or substance that is heavily monitored by the government due to the potential of abuse or addiction. Conviction of federal or felony drug possession results in a mandatory prison sentence. The length of the sentence will depend on the amount of drugs that is in your possession.

Drug trafficking

Drug trafficking is the illegal act of importing, selling, or transporting controlled substances. Drug trafficking is one of the leading federal felony drug charges in the nation. The Federal Sentencing Statistics states that there were 57,000 offenders who were sentenced to prison for drug trafficking crimes in 2021. One of the common drugs that centered around federal drug trafficking charges were methamphetamines. Drug trafficking charges can carry a mandatory prison sentence of three to five years in prison.

Drug manufacturing

Drug manufacturing is an illegal offense where a person participates in any part of the manufacturing process of a drug. Federal law prohibits people from manufacturing drugs unless they obtain the proper licensing by federal and state authorities. Offenders who participate in any part of the manufacturing process can be charged with this federal offense. This includes people who participate in cooking, mixing chemicals, or supplying the materials necessary to manufacture drugs. If a person sells materials to individuals who manufacture drugs and had reasonable cause to know that the individual planned to manufacture drugs, that person can also be charged with this type of federal felony offense.

Conspiracy to commit a federal drug offense

Another common federal felony drug offense is the conspiracy to commit a federal drug offense. Offenders can be charged with this type of offense if there is an agreement between two or more parties to commit a federal drug offense. To be convicted of this offense, it must be proven that there was an agreement formed with the intention of committing a federal drug offense, and that all parties involved were aware of the agreement and joined. This offense can be proven through manufacturing, importing, distributing, or possessing a controlled substance.

What are some defenses to federal felony drug charges?

Although you may be facing severe penalties for federal felony drug charges, there are defenses that our Killeen legal team can use to assist you with fighting for your rights. Some of these defenses include:

  • Unlawful searches and seizures. The Fourth Amendment of the Constitution protects you from being unlawfully and unreasonably searched by law enforcement. This means that law enforcement officials require a warrant before a search of your possessions and person can be conducted. Many federal drug charges have been reduced or eliminated because police officers failed to follow the proper protocols and obtain a warrant.
  • Fabricated or contaminated evidence. Another common reason why federal drug cases are overturned is fabricated evidence by forensic examiners. Fabricated or contaminated evidence is common with forensic examinations. Thousands of forensic examiners have made lab errors that have cost innocent people to spend time in prison for crimes they did not commit.

At the Mary Beth Harrell Law Firm, our legal team understands the fragile position that you are in when charged with a federal drug offense. Our drug crime defense attorneys make a commitment to fight hard on your behalf for your criminal penalties to be dismissed or reduced. Call our office today at 254-680-4655, or submit our contact form for your free consultation. We serve clients in Killeen, Copperas Cove, Temple, Belmont, and throughout Central Texas.