The importance of state lines in drug cases

On Behalf of | May 9, 2023 | Drug Crimes |

When it comes to drug charges, exactly where you are when you get arrested can play a big role. It may even change how the police view the event that is occurring.

For example, moving drugs across state lines may make it appear that you are trying to traffic those drugs and distribute them to others. Naturally, the amount that you have in your possession is going to play a role in your situation, as well. But being charged with trafficking is a much more serious issue than being charged with “simply” possessing illegal drugs. So, being caught with them in a car as you go across a state line could make the whole situation much more serious than it would’ve been if you were simply arrested near your own house.

Travel can result in federal charges

Another thing to remember is that crossing state lines can make drug activity a federal crime, rather than just a state crime. This is very important because states have different laws regarding specific substances, sentencing guidelines and much more. Federal guidelines could be much different than what you would face at the state level.

An example of this reality involves marijuana. It is technically legal for recreational use in Illinois. But it is not legal for use in many surrounding states. People are sometimes tempted to purchase marijuana in Illinois and then drive back to those states, but this is a federal crime even though the marijuana was purchased legally at the state level. Interestingly, you could even get into legal trouble for bringing marijuana into Illinois from another state – like Michigan, where it is also legal – simply because you cross state lines while doing so.

What defense options do you have?

Whether you find yourself facing charges for possession, sales, trafficking or another drug charge, you immediately know that your situation could have a major impact on your future. These are the types of charges that can lead to extensive fines and time behind bars. They could also stay on your permanent record if you end up being convicted of a drug-related felony. For all of these reasons and more, it’s critical for you to understand what legal defense options you have and what steps to take. As a result, seeking legal guidance right away is going to be important.