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What’s the Difference between Drug Possession and Trafficking?

May 3, 2019 John Engman & Associates

What’s the Difference between Drug Possession and Trafficking?

Drug Crime Attorneys Grand Rapids, MIDrug charges are a serious offense, and if you’ve been arrested with drugs in your possession, you need to call our Grand Rapids, MI drug crime attorneys as soon as possible.  We also assist with domestic violence charges and more.  Call today.

There are two main charges that you might face: drug possession and drug trafficking. Many people use these terms interchangeably, but they’re actually very different. Here’s what you need to know about drug charges in Michigan. If you have any additional questions or concerns regarding your case, please contact us today for more information.

Drug Possession Vs. Trafficking

Intent to Sell or Distribute

There is a big difference between simple drug possession and drug trafficking. Drug trafficking means your intent was to sell or distribute controlled substances across state or national lines. Drug trafficking is different from drug possession with intent because it means you are part of a criminal organization that’s smuggling drugs over borders. The prosecution can prove drug trafficking if you were carrying a large amount of drugs during the time of your arrest or they find other evidence of drug traffickings such as witness testimony, business cards, bags, or scales.

Drug possession just means that illegal drugs were found on your person, in your car, or anywhere where you had reasonable access. Drug possession could also mean that you were caught using drugs during the time of your arrest. A drug crimes attorney will aggressively defend your rights so you can receive the best outcome at trial.


A drug possession conviction typically carries a sentence of a year or more, depending on the substance and amount found. Since drug trafficking is a more serious crime, you could spend up to several years in prison. To ensure the best outcome for your drug trial, you’ll want to hire a criminal defense attorney experienced in defending clients charged with drug crimes.

Your Permanent Record

A drug trafficking conviction is a felony that goes on your permanent criminal record. While this may not seem like a big deal at first, keep in mind that more and more people are using criminal background checks as a way of screening people. For example, an employer may run a background check to screen applicants before calling back people for interviews. This can make getting a job difficult after getting out of prison. You may also have difficulty finding housing or securing loans. Possession of narcotics is also considered a felony, which carries the same consequences.

What can I do to fight my drug charges?

As soon as you are charged with a drug crime, you’ll need to contact an experienced drug crime attorney to represent your case. They will aggressively defend your rights so you can avoid jail time or reduce your sentence. Since a drug crime conviction has a significant impact on your life, you’ll want to make sure you hire someone with the necessary experience.

Drug charges of any kind can leave a serious mark on your record. At John Engman & Associates, P.C., our Michigan drug attorneys will do everything in their power to clear your name. To request a consultation with one of our Grand Rapids, MI drug lawyers, give our office a call at (616) 454-5222.