If you take drugs and are caught, you probably already know that you could be in trouble with the law. In some cases, you may get away with just a warning or light penalty, like if you're caught with a small amount of marijuana, but if you're stopped with illicit drugs like heroin or methamphetamine, then you're more likely to be in serious trouble.
You may have just been taking the drugs yourself or sharing with friends, but it's easy to turn your minor offense into one that accuses you of trafficking drugs. Drug trafficking and distribution charges accuse you of moving drugs from one place to another and then selling or distributing them to others. Laws against these acts make it illegal to import or distribute unlawful substances like heroin, cocaine or methamphetamine. If you're caught with these drugs, you need to consider your defense right away. Even if you weren't planning on trafficking or distributing the drugs, if you have enough, you could be charged with that allegation anyway.
The kind of punishment you could serve for drug trafficking can vary depending on the kind of drugs you were transporting. For example, if you were using marijuana with a few people over 21, it's likely you won't be charged as severely as if you had heroin and were selling it to children.
Sentences for drug trafficking and distribution do vary, but you could be looking at between three and five years in prison up to life in prison even for a first offense, depending on the circumstances of your arrest.
Source: FindLaw, "Drug Trafficking/Distribution," accessed Sep. 03, 2015