How to Defend Against Felony Drug Charges in NC
Felony drug charges are some of the most serious criminal charges you can face. If convicted, you could be facing tens of thousands of dollars in fines and decades in prison. In addition, you will have a criminal drug conviction on your permanent record, making it difficult to find a job, find a place to live, go to college, receive financial aid while in college, and even qualify for public benefits.
If you are facing felony drug charges in the Charlotte area, contact Randall & Stump, Criminal Defense Attorneys to discuss your options. We have the knowledge and experience you need and will aggressively fight for your rights. Call us today at (980) 237-4579 to schedule a free consultation and discuss your case.
Overview of Felony Drug Charges in North Carolina
The most effective legal defense will depend on the underlying charge and the facts specific to your case. As a result, it may be helpful to review some of the common felony drug charges in North Carolina.
- Felony possession of a controlled substance. You can be charged with felony drug possession if you possess a Schedule I drug (such as heroin or ecstasy), Schedule II (cocaine), III (anabolic steroids) or IV drugs (valium). If convicted, you could face up to 24 months in jail.
- Sale and/or delivery of a controlled substance. If you sell or deliver drugs to another person, you will be charged with sale or delivery of a controlled substance, which is always a felony charge. If convicted, you could face anywhere from 39 months to 47 months in jail.
- Manufacture of a controlled substance. Manufacturing drugs in North Carolina is a felony. If convicted, you could face 24 to 39 months in jail. If you are convicted of manufacturing methamphetamine, you face 231 months in jail.
- Possession with intent to manufacture, sell, and/or deliver. “Possession with intent” is charged when prosecutors believe that you possessed drugs with the intent to manufacture, sell, or deliver drugs. If convicted, you face anywhere from 24 to 39 months in jail depending on the drugs involved.
- Drug trafficking. Drug trafficking is charged based solely on the quantity of drugs seized at arrest. While it does not matter what you intended to do with the drugs, in order to be charged with drug trafficking, you can be charged with separate drug trafficking counts if you sell, transport, deliver, or possess drugs. For example, you wouldbe charged with drug trafficking if you possessed 10 pounds or more of marijuana. To make matters worse, you could face multiple drug trafficking charges for the same quantity of marijuana, depending on what you did with the marijuana prior to your arrrest. Drug trafficking is the most serious felony drug charges you can face, as each drug trafficking charge carries mandatory prison time and steep fines. Your sentence could vary widely depending upon the type of drug and amount involved in your case. With marijuana being legal in California, Washington, Colorado, and other states, there has been a spike in marijuana trafficking cases initiating from the airport. If you have been arrested, you need an attorney right away.
The first step in your defense is understanding exactly which charges have been brought against you. From there, your attorney can begin building your defense.
Careful Review of the Prosecution’s Case
Despite what they would like you to believe, prosecutors can’t always prove every element of their case. The next step is to carefully review the prosecution’s case against you. This means obtaining and reviewing whatever evidence the prosecution has, including physical evidence, police documents, and testimony from witnesses. By knowing what evidence the prosecution has, we can identify the weaknesses, if any, in their case.
Of course, you aren’t obligated to rely solely on finding holes in the prosecution’s case. We may conduct an independent investigation to collect evidence that proves your innocence.
Building Your Defense
Once we understand the case against you and know what evidence the prosecution has, we begin building your defense. In order to formulate an effective defense, you need to know precisely what the prosecution must prove with each charge. That said, there are elements that are often susceptible to challenge:
- Knowledge and intent. Felony drug crimes have an element of knowledge or intent. This means that the prosecution must prove that you were doing something illegal, such as knowingly possessing drugs. If they can’t prove that you knew you were in possession of a substance that qualifies as an illegal drug or that you had no knowledge you had any such substance in your possession period, you cannot be convicted of felony possession.
- Possession. There are two ways that the prosecution can prove that you were in possession of drugs: (1) actual possession and (2) constructive possession. Actual possession is when the drugs are found on your person, such as in your pocket. Constructive possession is when the drugs are in an area within your control. For example, having drugs in the glove box of your car would be considered constructive possession. It can be difficult to challenge a case where you were in actual possession of drugs, but constructive possession is often susceptible to challenge.
Drug cases are prosecuted aggressively, and you may be charged with crimes you didn’t commit. Our lawyers fight for your rights by challenging the prosecution’s evidence and demonstrating that they can’t prove their case.
Facing Felony Drug Charges in Charlotte? Contact Randall & Stump, Criminal Defense Attorneys
At Randall & Stump, Criminal Defense Attorneys, we know that a conviction could change your life forever. As a result, we don’t stop fighting until we obtain the best possible result for you. Don’t give up hope – call us at (980) 237-4579 or use our online contact form to schedule a free consultation to discuss your case with one of our Charlotte felony drug defense lawyers.