What is drug trafficking?

In a recent blog post, this blog discussed the Controlled Substances Act. In that post, we explained that the federal government had broken down the types of drugs into schedules which dictated the seriousness of drug possession charges. Utah residents should know that these schedules are not the only factor that goes into determining the type of drug charges that a person can face. The amount of drugs that people are found with and their intent can also play a role in whether people face charges for drug possession or drug trafficking charges.

Many may wonder — what exactly is drug trafficking? Drug trafficking occurs when people sell or distribute controlled substances. These drug crimes occur when people have large quantities of the illegal drugs listed in the Controlled Substances Act. In these cases, people often intend to distribute the drugs they have in their possession instead of just having them for their own personal use.

A variety of factors will be used to determine if a person faces drug trafficking charges or drug possession charges — therefore, this blog post cannot give specific legal advice to anyone facing charges on drug crimes. These factors include the type of drugs a person is found with and what schedule these drugs are classified as. Where the person was found with the drugs, the amount of drugs the person had and who the person was selling the drugs to are also factors in determining the exact charges a person will face.

Drug trafficking charges are serious and complicated. These drug crimes can fall under the state and federal jurisdiction. Therefore, depending on the facts in each case — the particular charges and the court where the charges are brought — people can face very serious penalties. These penalties can include up to life in prison and are generally more serious than drug possession charges. An attorney can help to explain the specific charges a person faces in more detail.

Source: Findlaw.com, “Drug Trafficking/Distribution,” accessed Nov. 30, 2014

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