Indian Trail Drug Crimes Defense Lawyer

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Indian Trail Drug Crimes Defense Attorney

Indian Trail Drug Crimes Defense Lawyer

Indian Trail Drug Crimes Defense Lawyer

Drug crimes are among the most serious of crimes one can be charged with, and North Carolina does not take them lightly. Drug crimes can range from misdemeanors to serious felonies, with the penalties ranging from fines to life imprisonment, depending on the severity of the crime at hand. If you are being charged with a drug crime in Indian Trail, you should contact an Indian Trail drug crimes defense lawyer as soon as you can.

The Law Offices of Huffman & Kendrick, PLLC, has extensive criminal defense experience. Our qualified firm can investigate all avenues in order to build a strong defense against your charges. We understand the gravity of this difficult situation, and we can help you through it with compassion. A detail-oriented lawyer from our law firm is prepared to provide you with the highest quality legal defense.

Why Do You Need a Drug Crimes Defense Lawyer?

Fighting any kind of felony charge on your own is next to impossible. You need someone on your side who understands the ins and outs of the law and is prepared to assist you in any way they know how. A drug crimes defense lawyer will not judge you or your past. They are here to help you fight your charges and represent your interests in a court of law. Here are some of the qualities that a solid defense lawyer will bring to the table for your case:

  • Comprehensive Legal Knowledge: A good lawyer knows how to interpret and utilize the law in every way that they can. Every lawyer has a particular field of practice that they become particularly knowledgeable in. A drug crimes lawyer will know the North Carolina drug classifications, the possible sentencing you could face, and the ways that police can violate your rights. Your lawyer can use their skills and experience for your defense.
  • Compassion and Empathy: Whenever you are consulting a lawyer, there is a good chance that you are doing so during a particularly stressful period of your life. If you are consulting a drug crimes defense lawyer, you are facing serious penalties and need solid legal help. Your lawyer understands what you are going through and is prepared to offer a compassionate ear and solid legal advice.
  • Perseverance: A good lawyer never stops fighting for their clients. Regardless of how solid your case may be or how prepared the prosecution may be to put you away, your lawyer will always be in your corner. It takes a great deal of personal strength, accountability, and endless effort to be a lawyer. Lawyers like those at The Law Offices of Huffman & Kendrick, PLLC, use those traits to better your case and fight tirelessly for you.
  • Experience: Drug crime defense lawyers handle cases like yours all the time. They know how to handle an admittedly biased courtroom, possible prejudice, and an argumentative prosecuting attorney. Your lawyer will be able to draw on a wealth of knowledge that revolves largely around drug crimes and how to defend someone like you who is on the verge of being sentenced.

What Can You Do to Help?

The ideal thing you can do to help your lawyer win your case is to be completely and totally honest with them. Your lawyer cannot do their job correctly if you are withholding important information from them that they might learn from another source. You may be embarrassed or scared to admit certain truths, or you may think some information is irrelevant to the case. In truth, you have attorney-client privilege, and your case can benefit from your honesty with them.

In addition, be prompt for your court dates and any hearings you may have to attend. If you ever have a change of address or phone number, notify your lawyer. If any big life changes happen for you, tell your lawyer as well. During the case, consider taking your lawyer’s advice, as their extensive knowledge of the law can be used to your advantage.

Classification of Drugs in North Carolina

Drugs, or controlled substances as they are often called, are separated into six distinct drug classifications in North Carolina. Each classification carries with it different levels of penalty, depending on the amount in your possession and what you were planning to do with it. If you are unsure of the consequences of any drug crimes you may have committed, you should consider seeking legal advice. Here are the different levels of classification:

  • Schedule I: A Schedule I drug is the most dangerous of the group. These drugs have no accepted medical usage and have more potential for harm, thanks to their high potential for abuse. Schedule I drugs include heroin, ecstasy, LSD, PCP, peyote, opiates, GHB, and methaqualone (quaaludes). A first offense for possession is a Class 1 felony and carries a potential sentence of up to 24 months in jail.
  • Schedule II: Schedule II drugs are still extremely dangerous but have some accepted medical usage. They still have a very high potential for abuse and psychological dependency. Schedule II drugs include cocaine, opium, morphine, methamphetamine, hydrocodone, Ritalin, codeine, methadone, and opium extracts.A first offense for possession is a Class 1 misdemeanor and could land you 45 days in jail. A second offense for possession is a Class 1 felony and carries a potential sentence of up to 24 months in jail.
  • Schedule III: A Schedule III drug still has a high potential for abuse, but not as much as a Schedule I or Schedule II drug. The drug has an accepted medical usage, but abuse of the drug can lead to serious psychological dependency. Schedule III drugs include ketamine, barbiturates, anabolic steroids, and testosterone. A first offense for possession is a Class 1 misdemeanor and could result in 45 days in jail. A second offense for possession is a Class 1 felony and carries a potential sentence of up to 24 months in jail.
  • Schedule IV: A Schedule IV drug has an accepted medical usage and limited potential for abuse, but overuse of any of these drugs could still lead to serious psychological dependency. Schedule IV drugs include Xanax, Rohypnol, valium, barbital, Darvon, clonazepam, Darvocet, Ativan, Talwin, and Ambien. A first offense for possession is a Class 1 misdemeanor, and it could lead to a sentence of 45 days in jail. A second offense for possession is a Class 1 felony and has a potential sentence of up to 24 months in jail.
  • Schedule V: A Schedule V drug has a low risk of abuse compared to the drugs in the first four classifications. These drugs have an accepted medical usage but with a considerably lower risk for psychological dependency. They are largely available over the counter and prescribed without many restrictions. Schedule V drugs include cough medicines with codeine and other cold medicines available at any pharmacy or grocery store.A first offense for possession is a Class 2 misdemeanor and could result in 30 days in jail. A second offense for possession is a Class 1 misdemeanor with a potential sentence of up to 45 days in jail.
  • Schedule VI: A Schedule VI drug has the lowest potential for abuse but also has no medical usage. Consistent usage could lead to some psychological dependency, but it would be limited. A Schedule VI drug includes marijuana, synthetic cannabis, hashish, and hashish oil.A first offense for possession is a Class 3 misdemeanor and could land you 10 days in jail or a suspended sentence. A second offense for possession is a Class 2 misdemeanor and carries a potential sentence of up to 30 days in jail.

Knowing the various levels and classifications of illegal drugs in North Carolina is important. If you have been charged with possession of any of these drugs, a lawyer can help you fight for reduced sentencing.

Felony Drug Charges

Felony drug charges are taken extremely seriously in North Carolina. The difference between possession and distribution is the difference between limited jail time and life imprisonment. A conviction for drug crimes will largely be determined by three distinct factors:

  • Your past criminal record
  • The quantity of drugs in your possession
  • The type of drugs in your possession

Criminal courts often make examples out of drug dealers and drug users as a way to deter others from following down that same path. Here are some of the felony drug charges one could face if they are caught with a substantial amount of illegal drugs:

  • Possession: It is illegal to possess a Schedule I to Schedule VI drug on your person, regardless of the quantity. The more you have, the harsher the penalty will be. Typically, if it is your first offense and you have no past record of criminal involvement or association, most judges will take this into consideration and possibly grant you a more lenient sentence. However, that’s not a guarantee. If you are found to be in possession of certain quantities of Schedule II, III, and IV drugs, you could be facing a Class 1 felony and 24 months in jail. Those quantities are:
    • More than 100 tablets, capsules, or dosage units
    • Any amount of methamphetamine or cocaine
    • 1½ ounces of marijuana
  • Distribution: If you are selling or transporting drugs to be sold, you could be charged with a Class G felony, which is punishable by up to 47 months in jail for Schedule I and II narcotics. For Schedule III and IV narcotics, it is a Class H felony, which is punishable by up to 39 months in jail. Again, sentencing will largely depend on your past criminal activities and whether or not this is your first offense.
  • Manufacturing: You can be charged with drug manufacturing for being involved in the drug-making process at any level, from having a meth lab in your basement to growing marijuana in your backyard. Manufacturing Schedule I and II narcotics is a felony charge that can land you 39 months in jail, while manufacturing Schedule III and IV narcotics is a felony charge that can land you 24 months in jail.However, the charge goes up substantially if you are found guilty of manufacturing methamphetamine. Meth is a dangerous and unpredictable drug that can destroy many lives. Therefore, charges for meth are more severe in an attempt to discourage others from getting involved in the possession, distribution, or manufacture of methamphetamine. A felony charge of manufacturing meth can result in a maximum of 20 years in prison.
  • Trafficking: Drug trafficking is the most severe drug charge that one can receive. It brings together possession, distribution, and manufacturing with the intent to sell illegal drugs. A judge will likely not take into account your past criminal history or reduce your sentencing for a first offense. If you are convicted of drug trafficking, expect a very severe penalty.Your penalty will largely be decided based on the type of drug you are trafficking and how much of it you were planning to sell. If you are found guilty of trafficking a Schedule I or II narcotic, you could be facing up to 40 years in prison.

Is Drug Trafficking a Federal Offense?

Drug trafficking is simultaneously a state and federal offense. Most of the time, it is handled at the state level with state investigators and state court. However, federal authorities can get involved if certain criteria are met in a drug trafficking investigation, such as:

  • There are very large quantities of illegal drugs involved in the case.
  • The initial arrest was made by a federal officer, be it an FBI or a wildlife agency officer.
  • The drug trafficking resulted in deaths across state lines.
  • There are large amounts of drugs being moved across jurisdictions or state lines.
  • Money laundering is a significant aspect of the drug trafficking case.

Drug trafficking is typically done on a larger scale as part of a significant operation that stretches across multiple jurisdictions and/or state lines. Charges usually relate to the amount of illegal substances one has in their possession when they are arrested. In court, the prosecution only has to prove that you had that amount in your possession at the time of arrest. They do not have to prove that you intended to traffic the drugs.

Here are some of the accepted amounts of illegal substances that qualify as amounts likely to be trafficked:

  • Cocaine – 28 grams
  • Methamphetamine – 28 grams
  • Heroin or Opium – 4 grams
  • Marijuana – 10 pounds
  • Fentanyl – 4 grams
  • Fentanyl analogue (a manufactured drug that mimics Fentanyl) – 10 grams
  • LSD – 100 units
  • MDMA – 28 grams

These are the minimum amounts of Schedule I or II narcotics that you can be caught with, in which it will be assumed you are trafficking illegal drugs in North Carolina. The more drugs you are trafficking, the harsher the penalties you will receive.

Penalties for Drug Conviction in North Carolina

If you are found guilty of possessing, manufacturing, distributing, or trafficking an illegal substance in North Carolina, the penalties will likely be severe and can change the trajectory of the rest of your life. After your sentence is complete, it may be extremely hard to get a well-paying job, raise children, or find housing, among other issues.

  • Prison: Depending on the severity of your actions and the nature of your case, you could be looking at substantial jail or prison time. If you have any prior offenses, there is a good chance you won’t be able to avoid time in jail or prison. Obviously, serving time in prison impacts your social standing and can have long-term consequences for your financial stability and mental health.
  • Substantial Fines: In addition to serving jail time, you may have to pay hefty fines as part of your sentencing. The amount you may have to pay will depend on the nature of your case, the quantity of drugs you were allegedly involved with, and the type of drug you were involved with. Fines can range from thousands to tens of thousands of dollars, and even more in some cases.
  • Mandatory Minimum Sentencing: Certain drug crimes carry a mandatory minimum sentencing that you may be required to serve. Depending on the specific drug crime that was committed, you could be looking at a mandatory jail sentence of 20 years, even if you are a first-time offender. The circumstances may not matter.
  • Loss of Rights: If convicted of a felony in the United States, you could lose your right to bear arms and your right to vote. It could become illegal for you to have a weapon in your possession, and doing so could put you right back in prison with additional charges. You may be able to appeal to have your voting rights restored upon completion of your sentence or upon being released on parole or probation.
  • Employment: A felony drug conviction on your record will make it difficult to find gainful employment upon your release from prison. Many employers will discover your criminal record upon a background check and may be reluctant to hire you. They may not be willing to risk any trouble, or they may be somewhat prejudiced against ex-cons. Regardless, it will likely be challenging for you to find work post-conviction.
  • Housing: Landlords and property owners also conduct background checks when deciding on new tenants. Your past drug conviction could prevent you from being considered for certain rental properties or from buying a home. It may be difficult to get a mortgage or a lease, and you may find your housing options are severely limited as a result of your conviction.
  • Immigration Status: Any non-U.S. citizens who are found guilty of drug crimes could potentially face deportation as the ultimate consequence. Individuals in the process of becoming U.S. citizens who are found guilty of drug crimes could become ineligible for receiving citizenship or immigration benefits.

A charge of possessing, distributing, manufacturing, or trafficking drugs will likely result in severe consequences that do not end at jail time. Your life can be negatively impacted for a very long time, as can the lives of your loved ones and your acquaintances. Drug crimes can have a ripple effect that causes you hardship down the line. Therefore, hiring a skilled criminal defense lawyer who can attempt to reduce your sentence or drop your charges is crucial.

Defenses Against Possession Charges

Being caught with drugs does not have to be the end of your case. There are ways to challenge the prosecution and poke holes in their case against you. It is important for you and your attorney to exhaust any and all avenues that could result in a victory. Here are some of the common plausible defenses your legal team might use to challenge the prosecution’s case against you:

  • Improper Chain of Evidence: When drugs are seized as a result of an arrest, the evidence does not always go where it is supposed to. Drugs go missing after an arrest all the time.Thus, your defense lawyer could possibly argue that the drugs in question are not necessarily the same drugs that were found on your person when you were initially searched by police. In addition, your lawyer might question the competency of the officers who arrested you and handled the drugs in the first place.
  • Planted Evidence: Another defense your lawyer may attempt to use is that the drugs were never yours in the first place. Someone else may have put them on your person in an attempt to frame you for possession. This defense goes well with a list of potential enemies who may have wanted you put away.
  • Improper Crime Lab Analysis: Chain of evidence is everything. If somewhere along the line, such as the analysis of the drugs at the crime lab, the drugs were improperly handled or incorrectly labeled, this can work in your favor. It shows a degree of incompetency on behalf of the prosecution. If the crime lab analyst is called to testify, your lawyer can challenge any discrepancies that the crime lab results may have shown.
  • Entrapment: It is illegal to trick or provoke someone into committing a crime, which is essentially what entrapment is. In an entrapment situation, the police have organized a situation that they can use to trick you into doing exactly what they want. If you believe you were duped into a situation that was created by law enforcement, your lawyer may be able to use the entrapment defense.
  • Lack of Probable Cause: Law enforcement officers can only legally search you and seize your possessions if they have probable cause. Otherwise, it violates your Fourth Amendment rights, protecting you from unlawful search and seizure. If this comes out in the trial and can be proved, your case may be tossed out entirely based on police misconduct.
  • Violation of Your Civil Rights: One useful way to reduce your sentence or have your case tossed out completely is to prove that the police violated your civil rights when they arrested you. This is often the first thing that a defense attorney will try to prove. If any of the following happened to you when you were first arrested, your civil rights may have been violated by the police:
    • You were wrongfully searched when there was no evidence against you that warranted a search and seizure.
    • You were never read your Miranda rights and were unaware of your rights at the time of your arrest.
    • You were forced to speak to the police.
    • The police did not allow you to have an attorney present during your interrogation or otherwise ignored your request for legal counsel.
    • You were never informed of the consequences of choosing to speak to the police.
    • After you requested legal counsel and were ignored, the police continued to question you.
    • You were treated differently by the police based on your race, gender, or religious background.

    Law enforcement officers are not all-powerful. There is a certain due process of law that must occur for every arrest. Officers must be held accountable when they forget crucial steps in the arrest process or decide to ignore them for whatever reason.

    If you can prove in court that the police violated your civil rights by refusing your requests for a lawyer, failing to inform you of your Miranda rights, and/or searching you without probable cause, you stand a good chance of winning your case.

FAQs

Q: Do First-Time Drug Offenders Go to Jail in North Carolina?

A: First-time drug offenders can go to jail in Indian Trail, North Carolina if the crime in question is particularly serious, such as drug trafficking. A drug charge in North Carolina is a very serious situation that can permanently alter the course of someone’s life. Drug trafficking carries with it a mandatory prison sentence that varies in length depending on the quantity of drugs and the types of drugs you were trafficking.

Q: What Is the Minimum Sentence for Drug Trafficking in North Carolina?

A: The mandatory minimum sentence for drug trafficking in North Carolina is 25 months in jail. This sentence is based on the amount of drugs in your possession and what drug you were planning to traffic. The more drugs you were moving, the harsher the sentence becomes. You could end up serving 20 years in prison for a drug trafficking charge if the court deems it necessary.

Q: What Is the Law on Drug Possession in North Carolina?

A: The law on drug possession in North Carolina includes harsh penalties. The penalties for drug possession depend entirely on the amount that you are caught with and what category they fall into. Possession of a Schedule I drug could sentence you to 24 months in prison.

Possession of a Schedule II, III, or IV drug could result in 120 days in jail unless you have a large amount, in which case it is a possible 24 months in prison. Possession of a Schedule V drug could land you 60 days in jail, while possession of a Schedule VI drug could result in 20 days in jail.

Q: Can You Get Probation for Drug Trafficking in North Carolina?

A: It’s unlikely that you can get probation for drug trafficking in North Carolina. Most of the time, drug traffickers are given prison time due to the severity of their crime. However, if the drug trafficker in question cooperates with the investigation and gives law enforcement substantial assistance, a judge could consider their cooperation and impose a lesser prison sentence or even grant them probation.

It is always in the defendant’s interest to cooperate with the investigation if they want to receive the fairest treatment possible.

Q: What Is the Statute of Limitations on Drug Charges in North Carolina?

A: Under North Carolina state law, there is no statute of limitations for felony drug charges. This means that drug charges can be brought against any offender years or decades after the crime was actually committed. North Carolina is harsh on drug offenders, particularly drug traffickers, due to the severity of the crime. Putting no statute of limitations on felony charges gives the police plenty of time to build a case and investigate.

Find the Drug Crimes Defense Lawyer You Need

The Law Offices of Huffman & Kendrick, PLLC, have been providing legal assistance and comprehensive support to people facing serious drug charges for over 50 years. Our law firm is built on a foundation of respect and preparation, with every client getting our absolute attention and focus. We can help you fight the prosecution and show you how to navigate these difficult times.

Facing a drug charge can be terrifying due to the potential penalties you may face, in addition to the implications of an arrest and trial. The uncertainty, fear, and social stigma can add to your stress. You need someone in your corner who can provide solid legal counsel and support. Contact us to schedule a consultation as soon as you can so that you learn about your options and how we can help.