What are the legal distinctions between possession, dealing, and trafficking controlled substances?
Possession of a controlled substance merely means that you have dominion and control over a small amount of a drug. However, it’s important to understand that there’s a differentiation between the drugs. A small amount of marijuana for example is a misdemeanor. A small amount of cocaine is a felony.
Usually possession charges take place in state court, however in federal court it’s much more serious. They deal with larger amounts so if you’re accused of distributing, manufacturing, trafficking, you usually end up in federal court. Although state drug crimes are prosecuted vigorously for grow houses for example, distribution of cocaine and very often there are task forces of state and federal agents so they go back and forth whether you’re charged in state court or federal court.
You can’t be charged in both but you can be charged in either because possession of a significant amount illegal drugs is both a state crime and a federal crime so it’s critical that you have an experienced criminal defense lawyer to represent you because there are often minimum mandatory sentences. The sentencing guidelines are harsh and severe and you can end up with a serious felony record.