How We Attack a Drug Case
Our #1 priority is to get your drug charges dismissed, or if a dismissal is not possible, reduced to lesser charges to avoid a lengthy prison sentence. Otherwise, if we are unable to resolve the case before trial, our goal at trial is to achieve an acquittal, meaning a “not guilty” verdict.
Drug charges can result in heavy fines, a tarnished reputation, and significant prison sentences. Defense attorney Samuel Randall is a Board Certified Specialist in both State and Federal Criminal Law. The Randall & Stump team will use their decades of experience to attack your case with gusto.
When we approach a case, we dissect every step the police took. We see through the prosecutor’s manipulation. We will conduct an independent investigation that begins from the moment the police came into contact with you or began investigating you for alleged criminal activity.
If you were pulled over in a traffic stop that resulted in a search and ultimate drug charges, we will determine if any of your rights were violated. For example, if a simple traffic violation somehow turned into a warrantless search of your vehicle, unless the officer had sufficient grounds for the search, the investigating officer needs to be held accountable and evidence that was illegally collected should be thrown out. We will measure whether sufficient evidence existed to give rise to the search and whether the police actions in conducting the search were legal in your particular case.
The Benefit of Hiring Randall & Stump, PLLC
You get a distinct benefit from hiring a criminal defense lawyer from Randall & Stump, PLLC in any drug case, whether it is your first drug offense or you have prior convictions. We know the prosecutors, we are familiar with the judges, we know what to look for in defending drug cases, and we understand how to use the court process for our clients benefit. We will guide you through every step, so you don’t have to face it alone.
Throughout the legal process, you will be subjected to a law enforcement investigation and possibly, intimidation by police officers and prosecutors. The police often have kneejerk reactions and make assumptions about the substances they find. By having a Charlotte criminal lawyer on your side, you have someone to protect your rights, make sure you are not taken advantage of and pressured into cooperating with police, and ensure you do not incriminate yourself when speaking with investigators, the prosecuting attorney, and in court.
At Randall & Stump, PLLC, we know facing drug charges in North Carolina can be frightening, particularly when the police and prosecutors make it seem like a guilty verdict is assured. We are here to guide you through the criminal justice process. We will offer you an honest, objective analysis of your case and advise you on your best course of action – one based on facts and not fear.
To discuss your options with a drug charge attorney, contact Randall & Stump, PLLC at (980) 237-4579 or provide your contact information through our online form to request a free, confidential consultation.
The Court Process in Mecklenburg County for Drug Cases
The benefit of having a lawyer in a Mecklenburg County drug case is that they are familiar with the court process for drug charges, whether it is for possession or drug trafficking. The process can be lengthy and you could be forced into a corner without someone from Randall & Stump, PLLC to protect your rights.
Going Before the Magistrate in District Court
If your drug case is being prosecuted in state court, then you will initially go before a magistrate after you are arrested. After your arrest, your case will initially begin in District Court, even if you are facing felony charges. In some cases, even felonies, charges can be easily reduced or dismissed in District Court through negotiation tactics. Bigger cases will be presented before a Grand Jury, in hopes of the Grand Jury issuing an indictment, to push them into the Superior Court as quickly as possible.
If Necessary, Go Before the Superior Court
Once your case is in the Superior Court, it can take months for the discovery process to proceed. However, when you work with the attorneys at Randall & Stump, you have a team who knows people in the District Attorneys’ office. We frequently obtain information from the DA quickly and move cases through the system at a reasonable pace without delays.
The Drug Team Will Roundtable Your Case
After a drug case moves from District Court, up to Superior Court, it will be assigned to a specific prosecutor on the Felony Drug Team. The Drug Team will roundtable a case, which occurs when everyone sits down to discuss the evidence in the case, and any offers they may make to the defendant.
We Will Handle the Discovery and Negotiation Process
Just because the prosecutor assigned to your case makes an initial plea offer, does not mean the negotiations are over. You need an attorney who knows the issues the prosecution faces in your case. You also need an attorney who has a good working relationship with the District Attorney’s Office, as that can help with resolving your case in a fair manner. It’s important to have a good working relationship with the prosecutors to make the discovery and negotiation process go smoothly. If you need to get an extension on time or continuance in order to further review discovery or to obtain a fair trial, your attorney will have to seek that time from the court.
Court Process for Drug Trafficking Cases
Drug trafficking cases typically have higher bonds and are forced into the Superior Court. It is not uncommon for a magistrate to double or triple a bond for a trafficking case by placing a bond on each individual charge, even if those charges involve the same actions and same drugs. It can take months to get on the calendar for a bond hearing in the Superior Court. You may be forced to sit in jail during that time if you do not have an attorney to work for you. The criminal defense attorneys at Randall & Stump, PLLC will push to get your bond hearing on the court docket,so you don’t have to wait any longer than necessary to have your bond addressed.
The North Carolina Controlled Substances Act
It’s important to work with an attorney who knows drug laws in North Carolina, as well as federal drug laws, because it is not uncommon for cases to start in state court, but end up in federal court. The attorneys at Randall & Stump, PLLC routinely handle all types of drug cases, so we are familiar with the North Carolina Controlled Substances Act, which is outlined in North Carolina General Statutes (NCGS) Chapter 90, and the applicable federal drug statutes.
The type of drug you are being accused of possessing, selling, trafficking, and/or delivering will directly impact the severity of the consequences and/or punishment you face, if convicted. Here’s what you should know about how drugs are viewed by the system:
- Schedule I: Drugs with a high potential for addiction and abuse, and which have no currently acceptable medical uses. These include heroin, Ecstasy, GHB, Peyote, Methaqualone, and opiates.
- Schedule II: Drugs with a high potential for dependency and abuse, yet have currently accepted medical uses with severe restrictions. They include cocaine, opium, Codeine, Hydrocodone, Morphine, Methamphetamine, Methadone, and Ritalin.
- Schedule III: Drugs with some potential for abuse and dependency, and have currently accepted medical uses, such as Ketamine, anabolic steroids, and certain barbiturates.
- Schedule IV: Drugs with a low potential for abuse or addiction, and have currently accepted medical uses, including Valium, Xanex, Barbital, Rohypnol.
- Schedule V: Drugs with low potential for abuse or dependence and have currently accepted medical uses. These encompass over-the-counter cough medicines with codeine.
- Schedule VI: This level includes marijuana, hashish, and hashish oil, which are considered to have a low potential for abuse, risk of limited dependence, and no accepted medical use.
Understanding North Carolina’s Drug Laws
Police officers and prosecutors often charge people with the highest offense possible, but a defense lawyer may be able to argue for reducing the charge(s) to something more appropriate.
The charge you face for drug trafficking or another drug offense depends on the type of controlled substance in your possession, the amount of the drugs in your possession, whether other items like scales or guns are also in your possession along with the drugs, your actions in relation to the drugs, and your perceived intent. For example, if you are found with a small amount of cocaine in your pocket, you will face a certain charge for cocaine possession. However, if you are found with large quantities of cocaine in your vehicle, some of which is in large packages while smaller amounts are in little baggies, then you may face a different charge for possession with the intent to sell and/or deliver, or drug trafficking.
Many drug charges are brought under NCGS 90-95(a), which states it is unlawful for anyone to:
- Manufacture, sell or deliver, or possess with the intent to manufacture, sell or deliver, a controlled substance;
- Create, sell or deliver, or possess with the intent to sell or deliver, a counterfeit controlled substance; and
- To possess a controlled substance.
If you have any questions regarding the drug crime, you are facing and whether the charges are appropriate or excessive, call a Charlotte drug attorney immediately.
Drug Possession Charges in Mecklenburg County
Even in a run of the mill drug possession case under NCGS 90-95(a)(3), it’s important to hire an attorney who can present strong defenses in your case. The police officers may be accusing you of “actual possession,” which means drugs were on your person and you were aware of them, or “constructive possession,” which may indicate the drugs were not on your person but were located somewhere within your reach. The criminal defense lawyers at Randall & Stump, PLLC will dissect the evidence to determine the type of possession alleged by the police and whether the state can prove the necessary elements of possession beyond a reasonable doubt.
In a simple possession of marijuana case, we can evaluate the traffic stop, determine if the search was properly performed, and even question whether the alleged contraband is even marijuana, or something legal, such as hemp. Drug dogs, nor officers can tell the difference between marijuana and legal substances like hemp, so we will this fact to challenge the evidence and the conclusions made by law enforcement to secure your arrest.
Our lawyers will ask the following questions to develop a solid defense for your case:
- How did the police get to the drugs?
- Did the police unreasonably delay or extend your traffic stop?
- Was the traffic stop justified?
- Did the police conduct a warrantless search?
- Was there evidence of a crime?
- Did the police officer do anything that encouraged the dog to alert?
- How reliable is the drug dog?
- Are the drugs what the police claim them to be?
- Did you have knowledge of the drugs?
Drug Trafficking in Charlotte, NC
When we approach a drug trafficking case, we look at things such as the validity of any warrantless search made and if a search warrant was issued, whether it was supported by sufficient probable cause. We will also consider whether the police exceeded the scope of any warrant that was executed. We will scrutinize anonymous tips to determine if they were reliable enough to warrant police action against you. If we find that the police did exceed the scope of the warrant, or violate any rights protected by the Constitution, we can move to exclude evidence.
The weight of the substance in question is the most important factor in drug trafficking cases that are prosecuted in state court, because the weight itself is the difference between being charged with drug possession and drug trafficking. You may not even have possessed baggies, scales, and other drug selling instruments. Trafficking charges are based solely on weight in your possession. Further, the weight of the drugs plus any fillers or mixers will be considered.The lawyers at Randall & Stump, PLLC know how to verify the weight being claimed by the police officer and prosecuting attorney. Officers sometimes improperly weigh substances on the roadside without taking bags, bins, and other storage items into account.
There are mandatory minimum prison sentences for drug trafficking convictions in North Carolina. These prison sentences, which are typically very lengthy, are based on the level of trafficking offense of which you’re convicted, as well as other sentencing factors outlined by statute. It’s important to work with a lawyer who will ask the right questions and present the best argument to possibly avoid an active prison sentence, to get your charges reduced or dismissed.
Other Common Charlotte Drug Crimes
At Randall & Stump, PLLC, our drug charge lawyers have experience representing individuals in a wide range of drug-related crimes, including, but not limited to:
No matter what type or level of a drug charge you are facing, from marijuana possession to trafficking of methamphetamine, contact us for help.
Drug Penalties in Mecklenburg County
North Carolina’s sentencing structure is complicated. The felony or misdemeanor level of the charge, along with your criminal history and other sentencing factors, determines the minimum and maximum penalties. While aggravating factors can lead to a harsher maximum penalty, mitigating factors can be presented to reduce time in prison, or avoid an active prison sentence all together.
Even if you are convicted of a drug crime in Mecklenburg County, your attorney can help you avoid the harshest penalties with effective trial and negotiation strategies. If you are concerned about the possible penalties you face, call a drug lawyer from Randall & Stump, PLLC today.
Collateral Consequences of a Drug Crime
If you are convicted of a drug offense, you face more than incarceration and fines. The additional consequences of a drug conviction may reverberate throughout your life. The attorneys at Randall & Stump know you will want to minimize the overall impact of a conviction, so we will consider all possible consequences and take action to avoid them.
Drug convictions may force you to deal with:
- Challenges continuing your education
- Ineligibility for federal financial aid
- Difficulty finding work
- A reduction in your custody or visitation rights
- Immigration issues
- Loss of your right to own a firearm, if convicted of a felony