Trafficking of Marijuana
A trafficking of marijuana charge occurs when an individual possesses marijuana with the intent to distribute and the amount is sufficiently great that it rises to the level of trafficking rather than distribution.What is the difference between a trafficking charge and a distribution charge?
The difference between a trafficking and distribution charge is essentially the amount of marijuana that is possessed and believed to be possessed with the intent to distribute. Simply stated, what differentiates a charge of trafficking from one of distribution is ultimately the quantity.
Even if the defendant claims that the seized drugs were for personal use, the ultimate deciding factor will be the weight of the drugs Commonwealth v. Luis A. Gonzalez (2006). As a defendant may live in a dwelling with other people, it is important for the defense to determine exactly how much of the drug seized actually belongs to the defendant as opposed to co-defendants or anyone else who had access to the home.
|Distribution Charge||Trafficking Charge|
All of the defenses to a charge of intent to distribute, also apply to a trafficking case. To learn more about constitutional defenses, see our pages:
In regards to defenses specifically related to trafficking, because the amount is a critical element of the case and is the only element that essentially differentiates it from possession with intent to distribute, the defense strategy must focus on demonstrating that the possession falls below the ranges which define the sentence severity.
In some cases, through plea negotiation, the district attorney may agree to amend a charge down to a lesser level. For example, if you possessed 50 grams, it is possible a defense attorney could persuade the Attorney General to amend it to an offense level with a lower mandatory minimum sentence.
If the case is going to be fought in court, a key part of the defense strategy involves the defense attorney filing a motion to suppress evidence; this would potentially affect what evidence is allowed into trial, including the amount of drugs on your person at the time of the arrest.
If it is clear that the defendant possessed a large amount of drugs, whether heroin, marijuana or cocaine, your defense is going to rely on a motion to suppress which could show that the search was invalid, the informant was unreliable, or that the police should never have searched your home.