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State and federal laws can both apply to the same crimes.
If you’ve been charged with a drug-related crime, federal charges can be stacked on top of state charges, resulting in a longer and harsher sentence. Without guidance from an experienced lawyer, identifying the differences between state and federal laws can be extremely challenging for clients.
Fortunately, Phillip Linder has worked as an attorney in Texas for decades. He’s even spent time on both sides of the court aisle, so he has expert knowledge of state and federal drug laws. Keep reading to learn more about the difference between state and federal drug laws, in addition to why it’s so important to distinguish between the two.
Differences Between State and Federal Drug Laws
The differences between state and federal drug laws can make some cases confusing. Understanding these key differences will shed some light on your situation and what to expect. Here are some of the most important ways that state and federal drug laws differ:
Differences in Jurisdiction
State laws only apply within the borders of that state, while federal law comes into play for crimes that involve multiple states or federal property.
For example, getting arrested for marijuana possession in Texas falls under state law, while trafficking marijuana across the border falls under federal law.
It’s important to realize there are some situations when state and federal law can overlap. For instance, you would be charged under state and federal law if you’re arrested for drug possession at a National Park.
Overlapping penalties often lead to harsher sentences, so it’s crucial to avoid these scenarios.
Differences in Penalties
Generally, penalties for federal drug offenses are far more severe than those for state offenses.
First-time offenses are often dismissed or punished leniently under state laws, but a federal offense can result in lengthy jail time even if your prior record is clean.
State and federal laws may conflict in some cases. For example, marijuana possession is still a federal crime even though many states have legalized it.
That’s why it’s essential to have an understanding of both state and federal laws if you want to protect yourself.
Differences in Enforcement
Another key difference between state and federal laws is the way that they’re enforced. State laws are enforced by local police who only have jurisdiction within their areas.
Federal laws, on the other hand, are enforced by government agencies whose jurisdiction spreads across the whole nation.
In the case of drug offenses, federal crimes are handled by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA).
Our Dallas Drug Attorney Knows the Difference
The conflict and overlap between state and federal laws can lead to serious headaches, especially when it comes to complex cases like drug offenses. In order to give yourself a chance at a favorable outcome, you’ll need an experienced attorney like Phillip A. Linder.
With over 25 years of experience as both a prosecutor and criminal defense attorney, Phillip Linder is an expert on state and federal drug laws. He’ll fight tirelessly on your behalf and use every tool at his disposal to ensure your legal rights are protected.
Call our Dallas office at 214-329-0376 to schedule a free case review today!