Depending on the amount of drugs, the type of drugs, where they were found, intent, and whether or not they were being shared, possession of a controlled substance can be a misdemeanor. Drug trafficking/distribution, on the other hand, is a felony and is considered a much more serious crime than simple possession. If you are found in possession of a controlled substance, you could be charged with trafficking if you have a large enough amount of drugs and cash, and the police believe you intend to sell.
When the government, whether it’s state or federal, classifies a substance as “controlled,” it typically means the use and distribution of the drug is governed by law. These substances are often classified at different levels, known as “schedules,” based on risk of abuse and harm. Marijuana and heroin are listed as “Schedule I controlled substances,” which means they have no currently accepted use in the U.S and have a high potential for abuse. Robitussin AC and Phenergan with Codeine are considered Schedule V, with low potential for abuse relative to other drugs.
In a drug trafficking case, both federal and state laws come into play. As a result, a petty drug dealer can receive a longer sentence than violent criminals. Penalties, depending on the drug level and amount, can range from 3 to 25 years in prison for a first offense, including penalties anywhere from $25,000 to half a million dollars. In addition, a drug trafficking charge can result in seized assets and a ruined reputation.
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