Fentanyl Charges in Charlotte
The drug war is far from over. State and federal law enforcement agencies spare no expense in tracking down fentanyl dealers, and prosecutors vigorously prosecute anyone suspected of selling and/or trafficking this substance. But, the authorities often make mistakes and target innocent people. This summer in New Hanover County, for example, the biggest fentanyl bust in the North Carolina history turned out to be nothing more than thirteen pounds of sugar.
What Is Fentanyl?
Fentanyl is making headlines across the nation. Once a little known opiate used to treat severe pain, fentanyl is now as common in the streets as heroin. But, it’s 40 times stronger and much deadlier. This means that dealers can mix relatively small amounts of fentanyl with filler and sell it as a cheaper alternative to heroin or prescription painkillers.
Chemicals similar to fentanyl, called fentanyl analogues, have become popular too. The North Carolina Harm Reduction Coalition has distributed thousands of fentanyl test strips to drug users in the last year to enable them to adjust their doses if fentanyl is in their injection mixture. More than 80 percent of the test strips came back positive for fentanyl.
Most people aren’t lucky enough to know exactly what they’re buying, and dealers often are not consistent in their dosing. The results can be fatal. Overdose deaths in the United States are reaching epidemic levels. In North Carolina, there were 2,323 overdose deaths as a result of opioids (and other drugs) in 2017 which is a 22.5 percent increase over 2016.
Penalties for Possessing or Trafficking Fentanyl
Under North Carolina law, Fentanyl is classified as a schedule II controlled substance. This means that, from the perspective of the authorities, it has a high potential for abuse and is dangerous to use, yet it retains some medically acceptable uses. However, some fentanyl derivatives are schedule I controlled substances. Although fentanyl is not classified among the most dangerous substances, the penalties for possessing or trafficking in the substance are extremely harsh and due to the current climate of overdoses related to fentanyl, prosecutors are less likely to make concessions in such cases.
The trafficking and possession of controlled substances is also prohibited by federal law. Broadly speaking, only cases involving large amounts of drugs, or trafficking operations that span across state or international borders will attract the attention of federal prosecutors. The penalties following a federal fentanyl conviction are severe. In fact, mandatory minimums are imposed for repeat offenders or for cases that involve death or a serious injury.
Defending Against Your Fentanyl Charges
At Randall & Stump, PLLC, or goal is to ensure that our clients obtain the best case resolutions possible under their circumstances. Every case is different, but in general, you can greatly improve your chances of avoiding a conviction if you exercise your right to remain silent, and call a lawyer as soon as you are apprehended by law enforcement. To learn more about the defenses to fentanyl charges, call a Charlotte drug crime lawyer today at (980) 907-8605 for a confidential consultation. Or, use our online contact form to send us a message.