Someone in New Jersey facing drug crime charges has a number of things to worry about. One major concern has to be about the nature of the case the government claims it has. Is the evidence solid or circumstantial? Is it even admissible in a court of law? These questions deserve answers and to be confident in the assessment of your case, it’s wise to consult a skilled defense attorney.

Another issue that deserves examination is what court will be handling the case. Criminal matters can be handled at the state level or federal level. Depending on the nature of the allegations, a case could be handled in both. Understanding how cases tend to be sorted by prosecutors comes with experience, and that knowledge can help a defendant anticipate the route a case might take and possible outcomes.

A question of sentences

Any defendant facing criminal charges would likely agree that the ideal outcome would be one that results in complete freedom through acquittal or having the charges dropped altogether. But a realistic review of a case also deserves to examine what possible sentences each system might mete out upon conviction.

State laws in this regard vary. However, sentencing structures tend to allow for more leniencies by states than those at the federal level. Federal law sets mandatory minimum guidelines that can be very harsh if prosecutors choose to pursue them, and signals are that under the current administration, U.S. attorneys are expected to get tougher in drug cases than they had been under the Obama regime.

Whether the new marching orders from Washington will have any effect on the case sorting process in New Jersey is hard to determine. Since the change in administration, the U.S. attorney in the region is serving in an “acting” capacity. He is a career prosecutor who could be replaced.

What we do know is that Attorney General Jeff Sessions prefers using a firm hand against defendants in federal drug cases, and that’s something to take into consideration.