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Drug distribution vs. trafficking: What’s the difference?

Distribution and trafficking are among the charges you might be facing following a drug bust. The two seem similar, but in the eyes of the law, these are different charges which carry varying sentences. It means that you can face both charges simultaneously.

Here is what you need to know about how these two common drug charges differ.

There is a fine line between trafficking and distribution

The differences are ever so slight, which is perhaps why these charges go together. A distribution charge means you were transferring, selling or moving the controlled substance. You may face distribution charges if the police arrest you with substantial amounts of drugs and cash.

On the other hand, the movement of drugs is not necessarily considered for trafficking charges. Instead, the weight of the drugs could determine whether a trafficking charge will apply or not. 

Similar to distribution charges, you can face drug trafficking if you are arrested with a considerable amount of drugs and hard cash or drug paraphernalia such as weighing scales or packing materials involved in selling drugs.

The penalties in South Dakota

Although trafficking is considered a more serious charge, the penalties for all drug offenses depend on the amount and schedule of drugs in question. Schedule I drugs in South Dakota, such as cocaine, carry stiffer penalties than lower schedule drugs for similar quantities.

In addition, the possible legal punishment depends on whether you are facing charges at the state or federal level. Usually, federal offenses result in heavier sentences.

Defending yourself

Drug charges are a matter of great urgency. So much is at stake, given the stiff sentences involved. For example, some offenses will result in mandatory jail time following a guilty verdict, and the importance of a solid defense cannot be overlooked.

You can use several strategies to go against the charges you face. However, selecting the right one requires an in-depth understanding of the aspects of the law that will affect your case and the chances of its success. Experienced legal guidance is important in order to have the best possible outcome for your case.