If the police catch someone using drugs or selling drugs, the person accused often faces state criminal charges. If they plead guilty or get convicted in court, they face jail time and fines.
Occasionally, drug charges will come not from Texas state prosecutors but rather from the federal Department of Justice. Federal drug charges can carry mandatory minimum sentences, even in possession cases, and can lead to inescapable criminal records.
Why would someone accused of a drug offense somewhere in Texas face federal charges?
They crossed state or national borders
If someone grows marijuana in Texas and then sells it to their neighbors, they will likely face Texas state felony charges for that behavior.
If someone drives to Oklahoma to buy leftover prescription pills from their cousin and then comes back to Texas, they have crossed state lines which makes their actions an interstate drug offense. Someone attempting to bring drugs into or out of Mexico could also find themselves potentially accused of federal drug offenses.
They used or possessed drugs on federal property
Whether you are at a courthouse or on federal land, you risk federal charges if you break the law on federal property. Bringing drugs with you for a camping trip at a national park or into a federal building could lead to federal charges instead of Texas state charges.
Drawing the attention of federal law enforcement officers could also lead to federal charges in certain situations, especially if there are suspicions of manufacturing or trafficking. Recognizing what actions put you at risk for federal criminal charges can help you avoid dangerous mistakes.