While certain areas around the country work to decriminalize the use of marijuana, there are still certain drug activities deemed unacceptable across the board. The distribution of drugs is one of them.
For those caught in such interactions, facing drug charges is quite frightening. There are a few things to understand about such charges, particularly the differences between drug trafficking and distribution.
Trafficking is the process of transporting illegal substances. This may be across the city or across state lines, as long as the substance is in transport, the action is considered trafficking. There are different levels of trafficking, which depend upon the transported type of drug and how much the transporter has.
The exchange of an illegal substance for a form of payment constitutes distribution. It is important to note that payment may not always be money; other forms of payment may include services or other goods, such as illegal weapons. Parties must also understand that to prove a distribution charge, authorities must actually catch a party in the act. To accomplish this, authorities often use various means of surveillance and undercover operations. Similar to trafficking, there are different levels of distribution, which may come with a misdemeanor charge for smaller amounts of illegal substances, but can increase to federal offenses that carry hefty fines and years of jail time.
While the two charges are related, they are not synonymous. Parties may commit one crime and not the other, or they may be guilty of both. However, authorities must catch a culprit in the act of distribution, while they can show probable cause for a trafficking offense.
Knowing the difference between these drug charges is an important step in the process, but it is not very beneficial on its own. Working with a knowledgeable attorney and building a strong defense is also essential in reaching the best possible outcome.