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Drug dealing and drug trafficking: What's the difference?

Being charged with drug possession is scary enough -- but if the prosecution elevates the charges to either possession with the intent to sell or drug trafficking, the situation could become downright terrifying.

What exactly is the difference?

Essentially, drug possession charges are reserved for situations where a defendant is found with only a very small quantity of drugs -- and no evidence that he or she intended the drugs for anything other than personal use.

However, if you're found with drugs and any of the "tools of the trade" used by drug dealers -- such as scales used to weight drugs and baggies used to divide them up for easy sale -- you can quickly find yourself charged with possession with the intent to sell or "distribution." You can also be charged with this crime based on the sheer quantity of the drugs in your possession -- even if you genuinely had no intention of reselling them.

While drug possession alone is often treated as a misdemeanor, possession with intent to sell is always a felony charge. That means a stiffer sentence if you take a plea or are convicted at trial.

Drug trafficking is an even more serious charge. Drug trafficking generally involves the transportation of drugs from one area to another -- either from one county to the next or from one state to the next. Akin to drug smuggling, a trafficking charge implies that you were intending to eventually sell the drugs somewhere.

Drug trafficking charges are usually reserved for people who are involved in large-scale operations -- although you can be charged with trafficking even if you have only a very minor role in those operations (which is not something everyone realizes).

The penalties for drug trafficking are among the most severe possible under the law -- and they depend largely on the type of drugs a defendant was accused of trafficking and the amount of those drugs.

Possession with intent to distribute and drug trafficking are both serious drug charges -- and you should get serious help. An experienced drug crimes attorney can best protect your rights and assure you a fair trial.

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