How to Defend Against Drug Possession Charges in North Carolina
Drug possession charges are some of the most severe drug offenses you can face in North Carolina. A conviction of this nature comes with harsh criminal penalties. For this reason, you must take steps to prepare a robust defense so you can clear your name of the drug possession allegations against you.
Multiple potential defenses could be suited for your case. However, your criminal defense lawyer will need to evaluate the details of your arrest and the evidence against you to determine which defenses are more likely to produce a favorable outcome in your case.
What Kind of Drug Charges Are There?
Drug charges can take multiple forms based on the Drug Enforcement Administration’s (DEA) scheduling and North Carolina’s statewide drug laws. North Carolina law can classify drug charges as misdemeanors or felonies. Misdemeanor charges are more common when someone is charged with possessing smaller amounts of drugs. However, depending on the type of drugs, charges could be elevated to the felony level.
The DEA categorizes drugs into Schedules I through V. Schedule l drugs are considered the most dangerous. These drugs have the highest propensity for addiction and virtually zero accepted medical use. Conversely, Schedule V drugs are considered the least hazardous, with a low propensity for addiction, and are commonly used in the medical community.
If an individual is charged with possessing a Schedule I drug such as heroin, fentanyl, or cocaine, they are more likely to face felony-level charges. However, if you are accused of possessing a small amount of a Schedule l drug, your criminal defense lawyer could work with the prosecutor to reduce the charges against you to a lesser offense. This way, you can get the rehabilitative help you need instead of spending time in jail.
Plausible Defenses Against Possession Charges
When you face drug possession charges, your criminal defense attorney will evaluate your case to determine which defenses are plausible and most likely to return a not guilty verdict. Here are some of the top defenses used in drug possession cases:
Chain of Custody Problems
It is more common than you might think for drugs to go missing after an arrest. You might have been charged with drug possession, at which point law enforcement officials would have seized the drugs in question. From there, the police must secure the drugs and other evidence against you in a locker or secured evidence room.
For this reason, your drug possession lawyer might challenge whether the drugs against you are the ones that were seized during your arrest. This is commonly known as a chain of custody complaint. Your attorney may also raise concerns about law enforcement officials improperly handling the drugs.
Crime Lab Analysis
If the drugs seized during your arrest or improperly handled by the crime lab or returned results that raise concerns, your attorney will be prepared to challenge these discrepancies when the crime lab analyst is called to testify against you.
For example, if you were accused of having cocaine, but the crime lab analysis results determined the substance in question was not illegal, the charges against you should be dismissed.
Someone Planted the Drugs
Another top defense in drug possession cases is arguing that someone planted the drugs on your person. Your attorney might call into question actual versus constructive possession or present other evidence to show that someone else was attempting to incriminate you.
You are protected from being provoked into committing an illegal act. Although sting operations are legal, in North Carolina, if you were provoked into possession of the drugs, the entrapment defense might apply.
Unlawful Search and Seizure
Law enforcement officials can only search you and seize items from your possession if they have probable cause. If your fourth amendment rights were violated for unlawful search and seizure and police misconduct, the drug possession charges against you should be tossed out at trial.
Should I Call a North Carolina Criminal Defense Lawyer?
Having a North Carolina drug defense attorney advocating for you is crucial when you are charged with drug possession or any other drug offense. A powerful criminal defender can analyze your case’s details, determine whether your constitutional rights have been violated, and examine potential defense strategies.
Your criminal defense attorney can also work with the prosecutor handling your case to determine whether pretrial diversion or other rehabilitative efforts are possible. If so, you might need to complete the terms of these programs. In exchange, the district attorney will reduce the drug charges to a lesser offense or dismiss them altogether.
If you do not qualify for a pretrial diversion program, your attorney will be ready to defend you at trial. We might call into question unlawful searches and seizures, lack of sufficient evidence, and other details that create reasonable doubt in the minds of the judge and jury so you can secure an acquittal.
Call a North Carolina Drug Defense Lawyer
Preparing an aggressive defense strategy is crucial when going up against drug possession charges. If you do not qualify for pretrial diversion or other rehabilitative measures, defending yourself at trial may be your best opportunity to protect your future. Do not hesitate to contact an experienced North Carolina drug defense lawyer at Randall and Stump, Criminal Defense Attorneys.
With our firm working on your case, you can rest easier knowing our team is scrutinizing the evidence to introduce reasonable doubt so you can secure an acquittal. Our firm offers confidential consultations to individuals accused of drug possession and other drug offenses across North Carolina. Claim yours when you call us at (980) 237-4579 or complete our online contact form today.