What's the difference, exactly between a drug user, a small-time dealer and a drug "trafficker?" How do police know when to charge someone with trafficking instead of possession? What's the difference for the defendant?
Frankly, it often comes down to the circumstances of an arrest and what the police find during their search. Generally speaking, the police will often consider the following things evidence of trafficking:
- You are caught with a large quantity of a single drug (more than they believe you might use on your own).
- You have a wide variety of drugs in your possession, in large enough quantities to sell.
- You have weapons on you when you are arrested or hidden within reach.
- You are caught with items that make drug sales easier, like scales and baggies.
- You are found with a large quantity of cash that doesn't have a known source.
All of those factors can weigh against you when a prosecutor determines how to charge you.
In addition, drug trafficking is a much more serious crime than possession or even distribution. Some drug trafficking cases (especially those that involve activity across multiple state lines) end up being prosecuted in federal court -- which may be even worse for defendants. However, Texas drug laws are also tough.
The sentence you're facing depends largely on the type and quantity of drugs that were in your possession. For a small amount of drugs, you may be facing as little as 180 days in jail and a $2,000 fine. For a larger quantity, however, you could face up to 99 years in jail and a $250,000 fine.
Don't take chances with your future if you've been accused of drug trafficking. An experienced defense attorney can work with you to try to minimize the charges you're facing and get the best possible outcome in your case.