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When Does Drug Possession Cross into Trafficking in Federal Cases?

 Posted on October 23, 2023 in Criminal Defense

Collin County criminal defense lawyerIn Texas, you can face severe federal drug trafficking charges for possessing substantial quantities of illegal substances like cocaine, heroin, and methamphetamine. But how much is required to trigger weightier trafficking accusations versus simple possession? The thresholds vary by drug type under federal law. A Texas lawyer can help you figure all of this out.

Understanding Federal Weight Thresholds

Federal statutes establish cutoff weights for charging drug trafficking versus mere possession based on the controlled substance:

  • Cocaine - 500 grams of powder form or just 5 grams if in crack cocaine form
  • Heroin - 100 grams
  • Methamphetamine - 50 grams
  • Marijuana - 100 kilograms
  • LSD - 1 gram

Exceeding these weight thresholds suggests an intent to distribute drugs rather than just personal use. This exposes defendants to much harsher penalties in the federal criminal justice system. Even slightly surpassing a cutoff weight can have major sentencing implications.

Other Factors Implying Trafficking

While weight thresholds exist on paper, federal prosecutors also consider additional indicators of drug dealing, such as:

  • Possession of distribution materials like scales, baggies, packaging
  • Large amounts of cash implying sales
  • Prior drug distribution convictions establishing repeat offenses
  • Testimony from informants alleging trafficking activities
  • Surveillance evidence of drug transactions

So, possession of amounts near the thresholds still risks federal trafficking charges if other evidence correlates to distribution or sales.

Texas State Laws vs. Federal Laws

In Texas, state statutes define lower weight amounts for charging drug trafficking compared to more stringent federal definitions. However, federal charges apply more frequently in large-scale distribution rings spanning multiple states.

Federal drug cases also carry lengthy mandatory minimum sentences. Exceeding federal weight limits by even small amounts while possessing other dealer indicators can mean decades of imprisonment. So, the delineation between possession and trafficking carries immense penal significance.

Contact a Collin County, TX Criminal Defense Attorney

Do not try to navigate serious federal drug charges alone. There can be a lot of factors working against you. Work with a Plano, TX criminal defense lawyer experienced with trafficking distinctions to strategically build your case, whether through plea negotiations or trial. 

With such high stakes, legal representation is essential at every step. While an attorney cannot make any promises, you can have a better outcome by having someone experienced with legal jargon on your side, compared to going through the case by yourself. Call The Crowder Law Firm, P.C. at 214-544-0061 for a free consultation to see what your first step should be.

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