Simple drug possession usually involves accusations that the defendant possessed a small amount of drugs. When larger quantities of a drug are found in someone's possession, however, the defendant could be accused of drug trafficking. Unlike a drug dealing offense, which relates to an individual offering illicit drugs for sale, a drug trafficking offense relates to the distribution of drugs to multiple dealers on a much larger scale.
Federal and state drug trafficking laws seek to punish people who engage in the transportation, sale and illegal importation of large quantities of controlled substances like heroin, crack, cocaine, meth and marijuana. Being punished for a drug trafficking crime is serious because it's a felony offense that can lead to an average prison sentence of three to five years.
The type and quantity of the drugs involved -- and whether the defendant is tried under state or federal laws -- could dictate the length of the prison terms if the defendant is convicted. In extreme cases, where massive amounts of highly illegal substances are involved, a convicted defendant could even face a lifetime prison sentence. Also, many defendants don't realize that simply possessing large quantities of drugs could be enough to convict someone on the basis that he or she "intended" to distribute or traffic drugs.
Due to the severity of punishments related to a conviction, individuals accused of drug trafficking may want to carefully develop their criminal defense strategy in conjunction with an experienced defense attorney. If you've been accused of such a crime, our law office is available to help you analyze your options and devise the most appropriate defense given the unique circumstances of your case.