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How the amount of drugs impacts criminal charges

If you are found with illegal drugs in your possession -- on your person, in your house or in your car, for instance -- you can face simple possession charges. These are the lowest level of drug charges and they tend to bring the softest sentences.

Drug distribution and trafficking charges usually bring heavier sentences. If you are caught in the act of selling illegal drugs to someone else -- perhaps an undercover officer -- or driving with them across state lines, you can face trafficking and distribution charges.

One key thing to remember, though, is that the authorities take the amount of drugs you have into consideration. If you're found with a large amount, you may be hit with distribution charges, even if you swear you had no intention to ever sell the drugs and you just bought them for personal use. The police may simply not believe you, assuming you did not invest that much money in your personal drug habit.

This can be very problematic for you, especially if you honestly did not plan to sell. Perhaps you just got tried of having to buy repeatedly, so you figured you would spend a bit more money up front. That doesn't mean you intended for anyone else to use the drugs. You weren't trying to make money. You think this should be a simple possession case. The police may not see it your way.

In a case like this, it is very important that you understand all of your legal defense options and how the specific charges you face can have a drastic impact on potential sentences and your tactics in court.

Source: FindLaw, "Drug Trafficking/Distribution," accessed May 10, 2018

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