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Federal drug prosecutions appear to be down

Some drug allegations can create the possibility of a person facing federal charges. Being charged with federal drug crimes can put a person in an incredibly serious legal situation, one in which some major things, including their freedom and their future, could end up hanging in the balance. So, the charging decisions federal prosecutors make when it comes to drug matters can be remarkably impactful.

Given this, what trends are occurring when it comes to the federal prosecution of drug cases is generally a very important matter.

What kinds of trends are currently occurring on this front? Well, it appears that one is a reduction in federal drug prosecutions. Data indicates there was an almost 20 percent drop in the number of drug cases brought by federal prosecutors in fiscal year 2015, as compared to fiscal year 2012, according to an official with the U.S. Department of Justice.  

One of the contexts of this drop is that, in recent years, the federal Justice Department has been taking efforts to take a more targeted approach when it comes to drug crime prosecutions, such as focusing more on serious drug crimes when it comes to federal drug prosecutions. Among these effort is its "Smart on Crime Initiative," which started in 2013. 

Now, a couple things to note about the drop in federal drug prosecutions is that there are still plenty of drug cases prosecuted at the federal level. And, as the above-mentioned Justice Department efforts point to, when it comes to allegations of serious drug crimes, federal prosecutorial efforts may be particularly aggressive. 

Also, just because a person is not charged federally in relation to drug crime allegations does not mean the allegations will have no significant impact for them. For one, they could potentially face state charges in relation to the accusations. State-level drug charges can have major potential consequences connected to them as well. 

Skilled drug crime defense attorneys can help individuals facing state or federal drug charges with addressing their particular legal circumstances. 

Source: Los Angeles Times, "Justice Department is being more selective in bringing drug charges," Del Quentin Wilber, March 21, 2016

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