It doesn’t matter what you were actually using the controlled substances for. If Texas authorities accuse you of possessing a large quantity of drugs, you could face charges relating to drug trafficking.
With a drug trafficking charge, authorities are essentially accusing you of being engaged in large-scale drug distribution and drug selling.
A drug trafficking allegation is a felony level offense that comes with more serious punishments and consequences than a simple possession offense. The punishments associated with drug trafficking, however, can vary considerably based on the type and quantity of the illegal drug involved. In many cases, a drug trafficking offense will bring punishments of three to five years in prison. However, when it involves a large quantity of Schedule I drugs — the most regulated of all drugs — the penalties could include a lifetime prison sentence.
Drug trafficking offenses can also involve the illegal distribution of painkillers, sleeping pills and other prescription drugs. In fact, hydrocodone and Oxycontin are some of the most common drugs involved in a distribution charge.
Federal and state drug trafficking charges are different because the nature of the laws and punishments relating to the offense will vary, and the prosecution will litigate the cases in different courts. A case will usually default to being handled in Texas state court if the individual was arrested and accused in the state. However, if the criminal allegations involved the U.S. Postal Service, cross-border drug distribution or the importation or exportation of drugs from or to a foreign country, then it will fall under the category of a federal offense.
Every drug trafficking offense will be different depending on the facts and circumstances surrounding the criminal allegations. In some cases, a defendant might try to prove that his or her case involved a lesser quantity of drugs, which might bump the charges down from trafficking to simple possession. In other cases, a defendant might try to strike a plea bargain deal in exchange for a reduction in punishments.
Ultimately, it will be important for defendants to familiarize themselves with their charges, the evidence in their cases and the law that applies to their situations in order to craft a suitable defense.