What should you do if you've been charged with drug trafficking?

Given the current political climate and the focus on drug trafficking problems that are plaguing certain areas of the United States, if you're facing a drug trafficking or distribution charge you should consider contacting a defense attorney as soon as possible.

What is a drug trafficking or distribution charge about?

You can end up charged with trafficking and distribution in fairly easy ways. Just being caught with a bottle of pills that doesn't have your name on them can lead to a trafficking charge if the police believe that you're planning on selling them.

For example, if your mother forgot her oxycontin medication at your house and you were delivering them to her when the police stop you and find a pretext to search your vehicle, you could be charged with trafficking.

Trafficking and distribution is a far more serious charge than simple drug possession, which is generally defined as having illegal drugs for your own use. In addition, the charges and penalties for trafficking and distribution are often weighted, becoming increasingly severe according to what "Schedule," or type, of drug is involved. The higher the Schedule of the substance, the more severe the charge. Charges also increase with the quantity of the drug that you have in your possession.

It's also important to realize that drug trafficking cases often fall under both state and federal laws—which means that you could be facing charges at both levels. Federal laws are particularly harsh on drug trafficking, with mandatory minimums that don't allow judges to decrease the penalties even if they think a stiffer sentence isn't deserved.

If you're facing a drug trafficking charge you may consider yourself lucky if you're offered a plea deal that will let you walk out of jail right away—but a guilty plea is the same as a conviction on your criminal record, which means that it could haunt you far into your future as you try to enroll in school, get a job or find housing.

Don't hesitate if your facing charges: Stop talking to the police and invoke your right to remain silent until after you've spoken with your defense attorney. If you're interested in how we approach drug charges, please check out our page.

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