Being found in possession of an unlawful controlled substance could result in serious drug charges. However, if law enforcement suspects that a person’s possession of a drug is not for personal use, he or she may face additional or more severe charges. In matters where authorities believe the accused is involved in drug trafficking, he or she could face drug crimes that carry harsh penalties.

What are the penalties for drug trafficking? To begin, a drug trafficking charge is a felony and is considered to be more serious than drug possession. If there is evidence that a person in possession of a drug intends to sell the drugs in question, he or she could face drug trafficking charges.

These charges typically result when the alleged offender is found in possession of a large amount of drugs, cash or anything drug related that may suggest one is selling, transporting or importing a controlled substance. Drug distribution or trafficking charges could also result when an individual is accused of distributing prescription drugs, such as painkillers or sleeping pills. These commonly include prescriptions such as hydrocodone and pharmaceutical opiates.

In drug trafficking cases, both federal and state laws apply. This can become a complex matter, as each state sets their own drug laws, which are modeled after the federal laws. This means that there are minimum sentencing standards for offenders. Depending on the severity of the crime, one could face a wide range of penalties. In minor cases, one could endure three to five years in prison. However, in severe matters, an offender could receive a life sentence.

Because the penalties of drug trafficking can far exceed those of a violent crime, it is vital that those accused of such a crime take the matter seriously. This means fully understanding the situation and what defense options could be applied. This could result in the accused obtaining reduced or even dismissed charges.