One of the most serious drug charges you can face is drug trafficking. Federal laws provide extremely tough penalties for selling, transporting and importing a wide range of illegal substances including marijuana, heroin, cocaine, methamphetamines and other similar drugs.
You can also be charged with drug trafficking even if the drugs in your possession are legal in Arizona. If you possess large quantities of prescription drugs such as sleeping pills, painkillers, hydrocodone drugs and opiates, you may be subject to arrest as well.
A much more serious charge than drug possession, drug trafficking charges can be applied even if law enforcement officials think that you intended to sell any drugs found in your possession. Much of this will depend on the quantity of drugs and cash in your possession when you’re arrested.
Most drugs are defined as controlled substances, meaning that their use and distribution falls under the purveyance of state and federal laws. Controlled substances are further defined by being placed in various levels or schedules. For example, marijuana is often classified as a Schedule I controlled substance. Cocaine is a Schedule II controlled substance and so forth. These classifications are determined by the Controlled Substances Act. The reason this is important is because penalties are often times determined not only by the quantity of a drug but by also what schedule it falls under.
For the most part, drug possession will be considered a state level crime, while trafficking and distribution charges are considered a federal level crime. It’s important to note this because in most cases federal drug crimes will result in more harsh penalties, up to and including life in prison. Depending on the crime, drug trafficking convictions can be governed by pre-determined and mandatory minimum sentences, leaving the courts little discretion in many cases.
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