Drug crimes range in severity from simple possession to manufacturing and distribution charges. Most people think that possession charges are minimal at best, but these people might not be familiar with the aggressive laws both in Texas and at the federal level when it comes to drug offenses.
Texas makes the possession of certain substances a felony, but there are mandatory minimum sentences for federal drug offenses, which means that those facing federal drug charges may be at greater risk than those charged by the state of Texas. What sorts of situations might result in federal drug charges instead of state drug charges?
If you get caught on federal lands, you will face federal charges
Some people will go out to parks and open spaces either to use drugs or to complete a transaction. If you get stopped by law enforcement while in possession of drugs or during a transaction involving prohibited substances while on federal land, you will likely face federal criminal charges even if you were technically in Texas at the time of your arrest.
If you cross state or national boundaries, you are at risk of federal charges
It can be much easier for people to buy drugs South of the Border or to get their hands on large quantities of drugs. Unfortunately, some of those people will try to bring prohibited substances across the border into the United States. People may also try to take advantage of newer, more relaxed marijuana laws in other states by traveling from a state with legal marijuana back to their home state.
If you cross a border into Texas while in possession of prohibited or controlled substances, you can face federal offenses. In fact, even if you intended to use the drugs personally, you could likely face federal trafficking charges, which is the most common federal drug offense.
If you get caught by federal investigators, they will charge you
The party that brings charges against you usually has to do with jurisdiction. Many times, location, such as being on federal property, dictates jurisdiction. However, when charges are the results of a concerted investigative effort, federal agencies may have jurisdiction because they are the ones who gathered evidence and built the case. If you wind up implicated in an operation run by the DEA for a similar federal agency, you will likely face federal drug charges instead of state charges.
Anyone facing drug charges in Texas, but especially those facing federal drug charges, will need to consider their options for a defense carefully.