Drug Trafficking Vs. Distribution: What's the Difference?

Written by: Doug Ridley

What You Need to Know About Drug Charges in California

Upon conviction, drug charges carry with them serious penalties. Depending on the offense, it could mean the loss of your job, your rights, and your freedom. An attorney can help you understand your legal options, including how to fight the charges and get the best possible outcome on your case. 

At Ridley Defense, we represent individuals who have been charged with drug crimes, including trafficking and distribution throughout Southern California. We know that criminal charges deeply affect the lives of our clients and their families, which is why we work tirelessly to provide them with the resources and legal counsel they need to make informed decisions about their cases. 

If you have been charged with a drug crime in Los Angeles, Ventura, or Santa Barbara County, contact our office at (805) 208-1866 to schedule a complimentary consultation. 

What Is Drug Trafficking?

If you are caught with a significant amount of drugs in your possession, you may be charged with one or more offenses. A potential crime that you could face is drug trafficking. Drug trafficking is often used to describe the transporting of drugs across state lines. It may also be defined by the amount of drugs that are found. 

While drug trafficking can be charged as a state crime, it may also be considered a federal offense. Federal drug trafficking is usually charged in cases where the controlled substance has crossed state lines. Drug trafficking is a felony. 

What Is Drug Distribution?

Drug distribution is codified under California Health and Safety Code 11352. The statute makes it unlawful for a person to sell controlled substances in the state.

Drug distribution may include when controlled substances are :

  • Transported
  • Imported
  • Sold
  • Furnished 
  • Administered
  • Given away

It may also be charged if a person offers or attempts to do any of these things in the state. As with trafficking, distribution is a serious offense that can lead to incarceration. 

What Is the Difference Between Drug Trafficking and Distribution?

While distribution and trafficking may be used synonymously, they refer to two separate things. Trafficking generally involves moving large quantities of a controlled substance across state lines. It can be charged as a state or federal crime and has substantial consequences upon conviction. 

Distribution, on the other hand, involves the sale or administration of a controlled substance. Depending on the type and amount of the substance in possession, it could result in imprisonment for three, four, or five years. Whether you are charged with drug trafficking or distribution, you need to speak with an attorney immediately. An attorney can help you understand the charges and determine the best course of action. 

Arrested for a Drug Crime? Contact Our Office. 

Were you arrested for drug distribution or trafficking in Southern California? Our lawyers can help you protect your rights. Founder Douglas Ridley is a former prosecutor that knows what it takes to get favorable dispositions on behalf of his clients. Contact our office today at (805) 208-1866 to schedule a complimentary consultation. Let us help you get your life back on track.

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