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5 Common Types of Drug Crimes

There are several different types of drug crimes prosecuted at the federal and state level. They can be confusing because some of the names sound like they should mean the same thing. Further adding to the confusion, some of the terms can mean different things depending on the jurisdiction. Here are some types of drug crimes frequently prosecuted.

1. Possession

There are certain drugs that are illegal to possess in any amount, no matter how small. Examples include heroin and cocaine, as well as marijuana in some jurisdictions. If you have small amounts of drugs such as these, you can face possession charges. You may also face charges if you possess a controlled substance for which you do not have a valid prescription, such as narcotic painkillers. Even if you had a prescription at one point, once this runs out you are expected to dispose of the medication or risk trouble with the law.

2. Trafficking

Trafficking charges also involve the illegal possession of a controlled substance. However, trafficking charges are more serious than possession charges because they involve larger amounts of drugs. If you possess drugs in large quantities, it appears to authorities that you may be planning to sell them, hence the more severe charges for trafficking. From the name, you may think that drug trafficking involves transporting them from one place to another. However, depending on the jurisdiction, that may involve different charges.

3. Distribution

Distribution charges pertain to the movement of drugs from one place to another. This can happen on a small scale, such as a face-to-face transaction involving two people exchanging drugs for money. It can also happen on a larger scale, such as transporting drugs from one place to another via a boat, car, or plane, or shipping them through the mail.

4. Manufacturing

Generally speaking, if you participate in any step of the process of producing a drug illegally, you could be charged with manufacturing. However, there are exceptions for marijuana in states where it is legal for medical or recreational use. Conviction on drug manufacturing charges also requires the prosecutor to prove intent on your part to produce the drug illegally.

5. Paraphernalia

Paraphernalia charges involve possessing materials used to conceal, produce, prepare, or use drugs rather than the substances themselves. Even ordinary materials that have legal purposes, such as scales or spoons, may count as paraphernalia if found alongside controlled substances or other suspicious materials.

There may be some overlap between different types of drug crimes, and it is common to charge several offenses at the same time, depending on the circumstances. A lawyer, like a drug lawyer from Pioletti Pioletti & Nichols, may be able to help you defend against drug charges. Contact one today for more information. 


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