Drug Violations Law

What Is Drug Distribution?

Key Takeaways:

  • Drug distribution involves selling, making, or transferring illegal drugs.
  • To be charged, the state must prove possession, intent to distribute, and knowledge of the drugs being unlawful.
  • The severity of drug distribution charges depends on the type and quantity of drugs involved.

Drug distribution involves the sale, manufacture, exchange, and transfer of illegal drugs. To be charged with drug distribution, the state must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you had drugs in your possession, with the intent to distribute them, and knew the drugs were an unlawful controlled substance.

The type and amount of drugs found by law enforcement can affect the level of charge. In drug distribution cases, if an individual is found with drugs that are considered more dangerous, they can face harsher penalties. In addition, the greater the quantity of drugs a person is found with, the more severe the penalties.

Criminal drug laws differ in every state, and the penalties can depend on where you were arrested for selling drugs. Talk to a drug defense attorney in your area for legal advice about avoiding a drug crime conviction.

What Is Considered Drug Distribution?

drug distribution charge is a more severe drug crime than simple drug possession. Police could arrest you on these charges if you were involved in selling, manufacturing, transporting, or exchanging a controlled substance. There is a long list of controlled substances that can result in a drug distribution charge, including:

  • Cocaine
  • Heroin
  • Marijuana
  • Methamphetamine
  • Prescription drugs like Oxycontin and Vicodin without a prescription

Most states classify controlled substances based on how dangerous they are. Under federal law, drugs are categorized by schedule, with Schedule I including the most dangerous drugs like heroin and LSD. Drug distribution charges can either be a state or federal crime. It can be a federal offense if you are accused of distributing drugs across state lines.

Penalties for Drug Distribution

Drug distribution is a felony, with penalties including prison time. In addition to time in prison, your sentence can also include hefty fines. Prosecutors may even attempt to seize assets like your home or cars that they believe you paid for from your alleged drug sales.

With a felony criminal record, finding a job and housing can be more challenging after serving your sentence. The specific penalties for a drug distribution conviction will depend on several factors, including:

  • State laws
  • The type of drugs involved
  • The amount of drugs involved
  • Where the crime occurred (such as near a school)
  • Criminal history

If you are facing drug distribution charges, you should consult a criminal defense attorney right away so they can help build a solid legal defense.

Defenses Against a Drug Distribution Charge

A drug distribution charge is serious. That’s why it is essential to have an attorney that can ensure your rights are protected. Some of the possible defenses your attorney may raise include the following:

  • Lack of intent to distribute: The prosecutor must show you intended to distribute the controlled substance. If not, the prosecutor may only be able to charge you with drug possession, which is a lesser offense.
  • You had a prescription for the drugs: Sometimes, police arrest people in possession of medicinal marijuana or prescription painkillers without knowing that the person has a legal prescription.
  • There was no probable cause to search you or your property: If the police did not have probable cause to search you or your property, your attorney can argue that the evidence should not be admissible.

When someone is arrested in possession of a larger quantity of drugs prosecutors may threaten that person with distribution charges to secure a quick plea deal. This also happens when the police arrest people with drugs near a school. Law enforcement may threaten to charge you with distributing drugs to children.

After a drug arrest, you should always remember your right to remain silent, and your right to an attorney. Before you plead guilty to any crime, you should discuss potential plea offers or threats of severe charges with a criminal defense attorney.

What Is the Difference Between Distribution and Trafficking?

Drug distribution and trafficking charges are sometimes used interchangeably. In most cases, you will be charged with drug trafficking if the quantity seized is above a certain level. The amount of drugs required for a charge to be elevated to drug trafficking may vary depending on federal and state laws. The penalty for drug trafficking charges is also more severe than drug distribution charges.

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