Drug Dealing Versus Drug Trafficking: How Do Prosecutors Decide What To Charge You With?

There are many different types of drug offense charges. But when it comes to drug dealing charges versus drug trafficking charges, there is some confusion. Many people use these terms interchangeably and/or do not understand how the two terms differ from one another. If you have been charged with a drug offense, you may wonder how prosecutors decide whether to charge you with trafficking or dealing. Here are the criteria that are looked at. 

How You Came to Possess the Drugs

One of the factors that is looked at when determining whether to charge you with a dealing versus trafficking offense is how you came to possess the drugs. Traffickers often get drugs directly from the source where they are being made and then smuggle them into the country where they will be sold. Dealers often get drugs once they are already in the country, and typically from a trafficker or someone else further down the drug smuggling chain. 

The Amount of Drugs Involved

Another key factor that prosecutors will look at when deciding what drug offense law to charge you with is the amount of drugs that you had on you or with you when you were caught. Both drug dealers and drug traffickers have large amounts of drugs on them, much more than someone who was just going to personally use the drugs. However, typically, the threshold for proving trafficking is higher than proving dealing. As such, those charged with trafficking have larger amounts of drugs within their possession compared to dealers. The exact amount needed for either threshold varies based on state and federal laws. 

What You Intended to Do With the Drugs

The last factor that a prosecutor will look at when determining what charges to charge you with is what they think you intended to do with the drugs. If you were in a different country and they can show that you intended to smuggle the drugs over the border, it will be easy to prove a drug trafficking case. Likewise, if you were caught selling drugs to an undercover cop, it may be hard to prove you were transporting the drugs, but is easier to win a drug dealing case. 

Drug offense laws vary from state to state. If you have been charged with a drug-related crime, contact a law service familiar with drug offense laws in your area. They are familiar with laws in your area and can help defend you against the charges you may be facing.