Drug charges are serious no matter the circumstances, but the involvement of the federal government and its prosecuting attorneys can heighten the stakes on a number of fronts. Everything from sentencing to the very dynamics of the courtroom and trial proceedings are different than on the state level. Defendants may be best served by relying on a Little Rock drug crimes lawyer who has experience specifically with drug offenses and specifically in federal court.
The Law Office of Omar F. Greene has a deep background in federal drug cases, and an astute knowledge of the federal system. We leverage that background and knowledge to the benefit of each and every defendant who comes through our doors. Call today at (501) 600-0451 or contact us online set up a consultation.
When Drug Crimes Become Federal
The U.S. government gains jurisdiction over a drug case when the crime involves the crossing of state lines. A Little Rock resident charged with distribution here locally would be a state crime. But if that same resident drives to the 140 miles or so to Memphis and does the same thing, it is now a federal crime.
Our central location in Little Rock means there is reasonable access to the border of no fewer than six states, meaning there’s a good chance drug crimes involved at least some level of cooperation with a party from across state lines.
Furthermore, the federal jurisdiction can be invoked if any aspect of the drug offense took place on federal lands, which include national parks and military bases. Is there an allegation of a meeting with someone in Hot Springs National Park? That’s federal land and therefore can result in federal crimes. The same goes with Little Rock Air Force Base or any other property owned by the federal government.
Federal authority over a drug offense can also apply if the mail is involved, be it the United States Postal Service or a private carrier. It’s also at least possible that a federal prosecutor could cite the use of cellphone service in illegal activity as the basis for claiming jurisdiction, with carriers themselves crossing state lines.
In other words, if the federal government wants to prosecute a drug case, there’s a good chance they can find a way to be involved. It doesn’t necessarily mean they will—federal prosecutors may well choose to leave a case in the state of Arkansas’ hands. But the feds do have the option to look for reasons to be involved, and those reasons are unlikely to be favorable to the defendant.
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The federal government uses a model similar to what the states do, in setting up sentencing guidelines based on the type of drug involved. Drugs are classified on a five-rung schedule, based on their potential for addiction, as well as their potential for legitimate medical use. The federal drug schedule is as follows…
These are the drugs that will bring the most severe penalties. The drugs are considered to have no legitimate medical use and a high potential for addiction. Prominent examples include heroin, LSD, and ecstasy. Please also note that the federal government considers marijuana to be a Schedule I drug, although Arkansas does allow its use for prescribed medical purposes.
Cocaine, meth, and fentanyl are high-profile drugs included in Schedule II. These drugs are still in the category of being considered highly dangerous and lacking in legitimate medical usage.
We now move into drugs where there is at least a possibility they may have some legitimate medical use, under the guidance of a physician. They still, however, have the high possibility of addiction. Noteworthy examples include testosterone and steroids.
Now we’re in a schedule range of drugs that are considered fairly low risk and their addictive quality, while real, is not dramatically high. Xanax and Valium are examples of Schedule IV substances.
The least serious rung on the federal drug schedule covers medications that can be purchased over the counter including Robitussin. It is the unique circumstances of each case—such as the quality involved—that decide whether there is illegal activity.
It has to be emphasized that even the “least serious” drug on the federal schedule is still quite serious by any reasonable measure. The judges in federal cases are bound by minimum sentencing guidelines, which can go from 5 years in jail to 20 years behind bars. And those are the minimums. A judge certainly has the authority to issue a more severe prison term in the event of a guilty verdict.
Contact a Little Rock federal drug crimes attorney at the Law Office of Omar F. Greene to lead the fight for the freedom of you or someone you love. You can reach us at either (501) 600-0451 or by filling out our online contact form today.
Why Federal Court Is Different
It’s true that the basics of criminal law—such as innocence until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt by a unanimous jury vote—apply whether a case is tried in the state-level Pulaski County Courthouse or the federal U.S. District Courthouse. But practical reality means state cases and federal cases often play out quite differently.
Federal prosecutors have much greater leeway to pick and choose their cases. This means they have a vested interest in the cases they do prosecute and more time to devote to them. The judges in federal courts may also move at a more deliberate pace than their counterparts at the state level.
All of this means a Little Rock federal drug crimes lawyer must be accustomed to a higher level of detail that will be expected. They must know how to navigate this unique dynamic to give their client the best chance at justice.
Experienced Lawyers for Hard Cases
The Law Office of Omar F. Greene has a deep background in criminal law, the federal system, and has earned the respect of the legal community in and around Little Rock. We understand what’s expected in federal court and what it takes to protect the best interests of the defendant.
Respected in the CommunityWe are respected among our colleages in the legal community for our strategic and skilled representation.
Compassion Backed By ExperienceWith over 30 years of experience, we care about every case and do whatever it takes to win justice for you.
We Speak Your LanguageNo legalese here; we use plain english to ensure our clients understand exactly what their case entails.
A long History of Advocacy
As a skilled writer, our attorney has filed hundreds of appeals for our clients.
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