How Do You Know If You’ve Been Charged With a Federal Drug Crime?


It may sound odd, but there have been countless narcotic-related criminal cases in Michigan where the defendant didn’t know that he/she was being charged with a federal drug crime. With the increased penalties associated with federal crimes, knowing whether you’re being charged with a state or federal drug crime is essential. It is important to remember that any drug crime is both a state and federal offenses, making any alleged drug crime susceptible to federal jurisdiction. Nonetheless, if you have been arrested for a federal drug crime or you believe federal officers are investigating you, it is essential to act quickly and contact the top-rated federal criminal defense attorneys in Michigan.

Differences Between State and Federal Drug Crimes

Although individuals can be arrested by state or federal law enforcement in relation to any drug crime, it is extremely rare for cases of simple possession to be prosecuted by the federal government. As such, it is typically the nature of the arrest that primarily differentiates state and federal drug crimes. Federal drug crimes are most often reserved for major drug offenses, including:

  • Drug trafficking, which includes possession of drugs with the intent to distribute or manufacture
  • Drug cultivation and the operation of facilities intended for drug manufacture
  • Continuing in a criminal enterprise or being part of drug conspiracy to traffic drugs

Secondly, federal drug crimes also apply to the location of the arrest as well as the type of arresting officer. For example, if you caught committing any drug crime on federal property, it could mean a federal drug charge. Also, being arrested by an undercover federal officer can lead to a federal case.

Federal Drug Crime Penalties

The punishments that could arise from a guilty conviction vary depending on the circumstances of the crime. However, it is very important to note that federal punishments are substantially more severe than state punishments.

Some of the basic factors that may influence the extent of federal sentencing include the following:

  • The defendant’s behavior or conduct associated with the crime, which helps determine the level of offense committed.
  • The criminal history of the defendant.
  • Whether or not any individuals were harmed in furtherance of the crime.
  • Whether or not the crime involved the use of a firearm.

Most federal drug charges carry stiff sentences of five to 10 years incarceration. If there is death or serious injury involved, the penalty could be 20 years to life.

What to Do If Charged With a Federal Drug Crime

Knowing that you’ve been charged with a federal drug crime can be a terrifying situation, but knowing the federal indictment process ahead of you may ease some of the anxiety. Following an arrest by a federal officer, an arrest on federal property, or other federal drug crime charges, one of the most important things you can do is employ your right to remain silent and contact an experienced and available drug defense attorney as soon as possible. At Grabel & Associates, we are available 24/7 and accept emergency consultations.

The federal indictment process is listed below:

  • Initial appearance before a Federal Magistrate. The Federal Magistrate Judge informs the defendant of his/her rights and helps determine the issue of release or detention.
  • Detention hearing. If the Federal Government does not allow release, then the Magistrate Judge sets the case for a detention hearing.
  • Pre-Trial Motions. In this stage, the defense can motion to suppress any physical evidence due to constitutional violations.
  • If the defendant is suspected to be part of a continuing criminal enterprise, then the court may give the defendant the opportunity to cooperate.
  • Plea bargain, and if no plea is reached, the case moves to trial.

Contact the Federal Drug Crime Lawyers at Grabel & Associates

With successful experience defending alleged drug offenders, the criminal defense team at Grabel & Associates is prepared to start building a strong, comprehensive defense aimed at proving your innocence, getting the charges dropped, and representing your interests in courts or at the negotiation table with federal prosecutors. For a free consultation with the federal drug attorneys at Grabel & Associates, you can call our law office, toll-free, at 1-800-342-7896 or contact us online.