People often see the words “drug trafficking” in the news or even in movies. But what does “trafficking” mean? In short, it means the selling, transporting or importing of illegal drugs. It can be a state or federal crime — the federal crime is more severe and often involves felony charges and potential time a federal penitentiary.

Penalties for drug trafficking will depend on the drug classification as well as the amount. It can also consider the size of the distribution area (multiple states means federal court) and whether children were targeted. The average length of a sentence for drug trafficking starts at three years, but it can be much higher when it involves large amounts. The term “distribution” is added for large quantities and generally is the most severe charge.

The drug classifications

As said above, the severity of the trafficking charges involves the type of drug. These are classified using the following schedules:

  • Schedule I: The drug has no acceptable medical use and is highly addictive.
  • Schedule II: The drug has some acceptable medical use, but is highly addictive.
  • Schedule III: There is a low potential for abuse or severe dependence, and it has some medical uses.
  • Schedule IV & V: Both have a low potential for abuse or dependence and have accepted medical uses.

These are serious charges

Those facing drug trafficking charges still have rights under the law. However, it is essential to get knowledgeable and experienced legal guidance from attorneys comfortable working in the state and federal courts. It is in the defendant’s best interest to contact an attorney as soon as possible after the arrest to start building a case to fight against these charges.