Can I be charged with same crime in two different counties?

Asked over 2 years ago - Raleigh, NC

I was riding in a car with someone and left one county & the car got pulled over in the next county over and everyone was arrested. Everyone in the car was charged with same multiple felony drug charges including trafficking & conspiracy. A few months later I was arrested again by officers in the first county for the same date offense...I was told the person I was riding with was on surveillance going into a house for an undercover drug buy. I never exited the vehicle which is noted on the reports but can I be charged with same charge/same date offense on both warrants? I wasn't charged with the exact multiple charges but it is the same one count conspiracy charge I was told because I was in the vehicle.

Attorney answers (4)

  1. Seth A. Blum

    Contributor Level 15

    2

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . Yes, you can be charged with these offenses in the two counties. If any part of a crime happens in a jurisdiction, you can be charged with the crime there. If I stand in Wake County and fire a gun across the county line into Durham and kill someone there, I can be charged with murder in both places. As a practical matter usually, if you resolve an offense in one county, you can get another county to accept the resolution that first county imposed.

    I strongly recommend that you speak with a lawyer about these charges. Ideally, you should look for a law firm that can represent you on all of the charges because negotiations in one county can affect the negotiations in the other.

  2. Damon John Chetson

    Contributor Level 14

    2

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . Even worse: you can be prosecuted in two different jurisdictions. For instance, the state court can prosecute you for trafficking and then, under the different sovereign doctrine, the federal government can have a whack at you. Especially if the case involves drug trafficking.

    So that stuff you heard about not being placed in jeopardy twice! There's a huge asterisk. That only applies sometimes.

    As a practical matter, usually either the state or the federal government will decide to proceed, although in the EDNC the federal government will sometimes prosecute individuals under Project Safe Neighborhoods for gun offenses even if they've served time in state prison.

    Raleigh criminal lawyer Damon Chetson represents people in Raleigh, Cary,... more
  3. Benjamin J Lieberman

    Contributor Level 20

    2

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . You can't really be charged for the SAME crime I two different counties. If multiple offenses are being committed and those cross over county lines then each county can charge and prosecute for those offenses that occurred in their jurisdiction. Based on what you describe it seems like yu have some serious charges pending against you. The best thi g you can do is to speak with an experienced local criminal defense attorney. Good luck!

  4. Edward Jacob Sternisha

    Pro

    Contributor Level 17

    1

    Lawyer agrees

    Answered . Yes you can. Here's an easy example for you:

    You are speeding and a cop tries to pull you over. You press the pedal to the metal and fly through the next several stop signs as he chases you with lights and siren going. You enter into the next county and the sheriff deputies from that county pursue you and you continue to speed and fly through stop signs. The spike strips stop you and you are hauled off to jail in the second county. The first county can also charge you for the laws you broke there. Understand?

    What you NEED to do is get a good criminal defense attorney to help with your defense and to try to get some of these consolidated if possible. Good Luck!

    The comments listed here do not create an attorney-client relationship. The comments are for informational... more

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