You may not have realized but Alabama law is not the only source of criminal penalties for drug charges. In particular, criminal charges for manufacturing illegal drugs can come from both the federal and state government. It depends, oftentimes, on the seriousness of the offense or the scale of the drug operation.
When does a drug charge become “federal?”
There are a few surefire ways to end up in federal court on a drug charge. First, if you are arrested by a federal officer, such as a DEA agent during a drug bust, then your charges will most likely be federal. Another example is committing a crime on federal property, such as a national park. Another way you may end up in federal court on a drug charge is if someone informs on you. If there is someone who is facing their own federal drug charge, they may be given some form of leniency if they identify someone else involved in drug crimes. Most important to remember is, just because you may be arrested by local police doesn’t mean law enforcement cannot make an agreement to hand you over to the federal authorities.
Drug manufacturing charges under federal law
Under federal law, it is illegal to manufacture, sell or possess illegal substances, just as it is under applicable state law. If you participate in any part of the manufacturing process you have committed the offense of drug manufacturing. So, this could include mixing chemicals together, so-called “cooking” meth, planting or cultivating the seeds to grow marijuana or even merely supervising the manufacturing process in some way. Also, you can be convicted even if you only possessed the equipment for manufacturing, though you never participated in the process, but you knew it was used to do so.
The federal penalties for drug manufacturing
The federal penalties for drug manufacturing are rather severe, depending on the type and amount of drugs that are involved. With cocaine, heroin, marijuana and methamphetamine, you can get anywhere from 10 years to life, depending on the amount. If the charges involve death or serious injury in connection with the drugs that were manufactured, then a fine of between 2 and 4 million dollars could be added. Sentences can also be greatly increased if a firearm was possessed or used in the commission of the drug offense.
If you have questions regarding drug manufacturing charges, or any other criminal defense matters, please contact Ketcham Law for a consultation by calling us at (205) 296-4233.