Local and state police are not the only law enforcement authorities in Georgia who investigate drug crimes.
As is the case across the country, federal agencies, including the FBI and the DEA, investigate alleged drug offenses that happen in the Atlanta area and the surrounding counties.
After all, federal law criminalizes a lot of different drug related activity, including drug possession and drug trafficking, much like the State of Georgia and other states.
While sometimes federal investigations lead to charges in a Georgia state court, federal officials will not hesitate to also file drug-related charges in the federal court system.
They may choose to do so in cases that, in their opinion, are more serious or have greater public importance. Federal prosecutors are well-known for aggressively pursuing high-profile drug cases.
Going to federal court may be very different than facing charges in state court
Federal court is very different from the local state courts in many different ways.
- The procedures are different. Even an experienced attorney who is not familiar with federal court can get tripped up by these federal rules and practices. Unfortunately, sometimes procedural mistakes can mean a person loses out on important defense options.
- The laws themselves are different. Legally, Georgia is a separate government from the United States federal government. It may seem odd, but the same case might turn out one way in federal court and quite another in a Georgia court because the laws are different.
- Federal sentencing is different, and it can be much tougher than in state court. For example, federal judges may be forced to abide by mandatory minimum prison sentences even if, in state court, a person could avoid jail altogether and go on probation instead.
- While this is also true of many state authorities, federal prosecutors and federal law enforcement agencies are known to be well-trained and well-equipped. In pursuit of a conviction, they will not hesitate to use the advantage of having superior resources.
It can be easy for a person facing federal drug charges to get lost in the federal system or even to get taken advantage of. If someone is being charged with drug crimes in federal court or believes they are under investigation, they should evaluate their legal options carefully.