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Drug arrests can mean forks in the legal road

Many different elements can converge to create significant legal troubles for individuals. Imagine for a moment that you are an long-haul trucker from Virginia stopped for a safety check by authorities in another state. These kinds of safety blitzes are common and happen more often this time of year.

In the course of the check, police examine the inside of your cab and find quantities of a substance that field tests as methamphetamine. A deeper dig yields marijuana smoking paraphernalia, a quantity of that drug and a bottle of what appears to be simulated urine. The array of charges that follows ranges from drug and paraphernalia possession and allegations of federal safety rule violations.

Where the case could go

While the hypothetical arrest occurred under the aegis of state police, the federal elements take the matter up a notch. And since drugs are said to be involved, there is reason to wonder what court system might wind up handling the case.

Experienced criminal defense attorneys appreciate that it's important to consider this question as soon as possible after charges are filed because of sentencing implications. The sooner the defense enters the picture, the more opportunity there is to influence the sorting.

Drug crime cases can be handled in either the state system or the federal system. A case sometimes travels through both. When you consider that federal penalties for drug crimes tend be stiffer than at the state level, and that state court guidelines sometimes include provisions that allow for some measure of leniency for first time offenders, the value of early intervention becomes clear.

The objective should be to know the law and present as vigorous a defense as is possible from the early going.

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