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Drug Trafficking vs. Distribution: Understanding Your Charges

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Drug Trafficking vs. Distribution: Understanding Your Charges


The language used to discuss drug crime charges can be confusing, and is often misunderstood. In order to build a proper defense, it is important to know exactly what your charges mean. Drug trafficking and drug distribution differ by a few key factors.

If you’ve been charged with trafficking or distribution, contact a Reno drug crime attorney at the Law Offices of Kenneth A. Stover. Our knowledgeable lawyer has over 15 years of experience, and can help build a solid defense for your case.


Drug trafficking is the illegal sale or distribution of a controlled substance. This usually refers to a delivery that already occurred. Trafficking charges involve a large number of sales, or a large amount of substance delivered over time.


Drug distribution is the physical act of selling or providing a controlled substance. Typically, distribution charges occur when someone attempts to sell to an undercover police officer. The act of selling the substance is considered a criminal offense.

Controlled Substances

Controlled substances are those drugs that have been limited to the public because the federal government has identified their addictive nature as dangerous.

The Drug Enforcement Administration classifies controlled substances based on their level of abusive and/or addictive properties. For example, a Schedule I drug, such as marijuana, heroin, ecstasy, or LSD, has the highest potential for abuse, whereas a Schedule V drug, like Motofen, has a lower potential for abuse. In the eyes of the court, a substance’s Schedule can impact the severity of the crime and can lead to a harsher sentence.

Possible Punishments

Penalties for drug trafficking and distribution are affected by the following:

  • Type of controlled substance
  • Schedule of the substance, as determined by the DEA
  • Whether or not the distribution involved minors
  • Location of the sale

Drug trafficking and distribution sentences can range from 3 years to life in prison. Typically, drug trafficking charges carry greater sentences than drug distribution charges.

Contact our Reno drug crime lawyer at (775) 502-1575 to discuss your distribution or trafficking charges.

At the Law Offices of Kenneth A. Stover, we work to minimize the impact of your charges. By investigating the crime, we can build a workable defense for your case. Our drug crime attorney is a distinguished recipient of multiple national awards, and has defended cases in over 70 courts throughout Nevada. Contact our office today.

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