Drug charges in North Carolina could mean prison time, expensive fines and career consequences. There are, for example, employers that have zero-tolerance policies for workers with a drug-related criminal record, and some people could lose their professional license as a result of criminal convictions.
Obviously, no one wants to get arrested for drug charges, but facing federal drug charges can be more serious than similar offenses at the state level. When might you be at risk of federal drug charges?
When you get in trouble on federal property
There are many incredible national parks and monuments in North Carolina. You might think that there won’t be much of a law enforcement presence at a federal park, but you might be surprised. While you may have violated both state and federal law, it will likely be the federal government that prosecutes you, meaning you face incarceration in a federal facility and the mandatory minimum sentences that the federal government imposes.
When you cross state lines
If you buy marijuana while on vacation in a state that has legalized it and then drive back home, you can face federal charges because you cross state lines. Not only did you break the law in North Carolina by bringing marijuana into the state, but you violated federal law by going between states with a substance prohibited by the federal government.
When you play a role in something bigger
While many small-scale drug investigations and prosecutions occur at the local or state level, the federal government, including the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) may investigate what they believe to be large-scale manufacturing or trafficking enterprises.
If you get caught up in an investigation conducted by federal agencies or in what appears to be a large-scale operation, you could face federal charges even if your actions never took you outside of North Carolina.
Securing professional help and mounting a rigorous defense may be the only way to avoid the life-altering consequences that federal drug charges often carry.