Most of the time, people who get caught with illegal drugs or controlled substances in their possession will face state charges for those infractions. Local law enforcement officers will be the ones to catch them, so state authorities prosecute the case.
There are also federal laws about controlled and prohibited substances that people could violate while in Georgia. One of the ways that people might unintentionally wind up facing federal drug charges involves traveling out of Georgia into another state or vice versa.
Whether you get on an airplane or drive in your car, if you cross state borders with drugs in your possession, you could potentially find yourself facing federal criminal charges.
Regardless of new laws, interstate transportation is illegal
Some people traveling with illegal drugs in their possession know that their actions break the law. Simply possessing heroin, cocaine or methamphetamine is a crime. The people who use and sell these drugs know about their prohibition. Those who travel with these drugs already know they take a risk, but may not appreciate the scope of the risk.
Other people might think their actions are in compliance with state law until they get stopped by police or arrested. For example, someone with a seizure condition or cancer who qualifies for medical marijuana in Georgia might try to bring a marijuana concentrate or marijuana plants from another state for their own supply of medicine. They may view their actions as bending state law rather than breaking it.
Their perception doesn’t include the risk of the federal violations involved. If they get stopped with marijuana products or plants in their vehicle after crossing state lines or while attempting to do so, federal prosecution could be the result. The same is true for people who have prohibited drugs and prescribed mediation without a valid prescription.
Federal drug charges can mean mandatory minimum sentences
First-time offenders and those with lower possession amounts often expect leniency when it comes to drug charges. State courts sometimes offer harm-reduction options, like drug courts, for non-violent offenders and those with addiction issues.
Federal drug charges are notoriously harsh, with minimum penalties that can prove life-altering for those in certain circumstances. Addiction and other mitigating factors will not lessen the charges people face at the federal level or impact the sentence they receive in many cases. Only a strong defense can protect you from federal drug charges.