Laws Passed by Congress Related to Drugs

The United States has clearly written, explicit drug laws at all levels of government; federal, state, and local. A federal drug crime is defined as a violation of laws that have been passed by the United States Congress. Federal crimes also occur when illegal activity takes place on federal property such as courthouses, airports, government owned buildings and designated parks. You can be charged with a crime if you are found in possession of marijuana in a federal park regardless of your state’s laws.

Smuggling of drugs a federal crime

The majority of federal drug convictions are obtained for trafficking, while the majority of local and state arrests are made on charges of possession. The federal government, with its “war on drugs,” utilizes vast resources to enforce laws concerning distribution of controlled substances.

Of concern to people convicted of federal drug crimes is the severity of consequences after a conviction. Federal drug charges generally carry harsher punishments and longer sentences.

Marijuana Possession and Distribution a federal crime

While California has relaxed marijuana possession laws, the federal government maintains strict enforcement for possession and provides stiff penalties. The possession of marijuana, under federal law, is punishable by up to one year in jail and a minimum fine of $1,000 for a first conviction. Additional convictions and larger amounts result in harsher fines and prison terms. At the federal level, the smallest category for sale of marijuana, which includes any quantity under 50 kilograms, for example, is punishable by five years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

Federal law enforcement officials, such the Federal Bureau of Investigations, have many resources available to investigate crimes. A person charged with a federal crime is prosecuted by a United States Attorney and faces severe penalties upon conviction. In view of possible harsh sentences, federal drug charges are very serious matters. Given the nature of federal law enforcement, developing an effective defense for a federal charge is highly dependent on a criminal attorney’s experience in federal cases.

Daniel R. Perlman
The Law Offices of Daniel R. Perlman