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Drug Crime Defense - The Difference Between State and Federal Drug Crimes

Posted by Daniel DuBois | Jan 28, 2022

Our blog is meant to serve as a way to better help residents of WNY understand some parts of the legal system. If you've been accused of a crime, our best recommendation is always to contact a defense attorney. As a seasoned Buffalo criminal defense attorney, we see a lot of types of cases that require an astute approach to defense, but today we wanted to touch on drug crime defense. There are a lot of different variables to how a judge rules on a drug crime case, but these crimes also have varying levels of severity. 

One key difference in assessing the case is whether the charges are state drug charges or federal drug charges. Today we will briefly summarize a few key comparisons, and what differs between the two. 

Beyond the public stigma and damage to your reputation, drug crimes are punishable by heavy fines and long prison terms. Some drug crimes like possession or intent to distribute can be prosecuted at the state level, but depending on several factors, you could face federal charges. If it is state or federal, you're going to want to find an experienced defense attorney to help find the best result possible. 

Controlled Substances Act

The Controlled Substances Act (CSA) was signed into law by Richard Nixon back in 1970, thus combining all previous federal statutes into a single law. This act regulates the distribution and manufacturing of illegal substances. This statute categorizes different types of drugs into 5 different "Schedules" predicated on the implied potential for abuse and medical benefits. 

Here are the five "Schedules"

I - Includes ecstasy, LSD, heroin, marijuana

II - Includes cocaine and morphine

III - Includes anabolic steroids, Vicodin, Marinol

IV - Includes Ambien, Xanax, Valium

V - Includes Lyrica and cough suppressant 

Your penalty will depend on the schedule, the amount, and your drug crime history. Each state has its own drug laws and penalties dependent on severity, but usually relate back to the CSA.

Federal or State Drug Charges?

Once again, if you are charged with a crime and need to talk to a lawyer, we recommend calling or reaching out via our contact form to speak with Dan DuBois today. For the sake of today's blog, let's take a look at what may* look like a federal charge versus a state drug charge. 

Generally speaking, federal drug laws focus on movement across borders, federal or state, such as drug trafficking. If you are caught driving across the Peace Bridge or another Canadian border or driving into New York State with drugs, you may be charged with a federal drug offense. You may also be charged if caught selling drugs on government property or transporting drugs using the United States Post Office (USPS). 

When talking about state charges, generally speaking, this usually focuses more on possession and manufacturing or distribution. When looking at marijuana charges, things here in New York State have changed quite a bit, so it's good to have a trusted attorney in case anything happens with marijuana possession, to answer any questions you may have. 

Bottom line, Call a Trusted Buffalo Defense Attorney.

If you or someone you know is looking for a few answers about drug crimes here in Buffalo, Rochester, Syracuse, or elsewhere in New York State, please don't hesitate to give us a call. Dan DuBois is a trusted attorney with outstanding customer reviews that takes every case seriously. We hope we don't have to hear from you, but if you need us, we are here for you. We understand. We Never Judge.  

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