Indian Trail Drug Possession Defense Lawyer

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Indian Trail Drug Possession Defense Attorney

Indian Trail Drug Possession Defense Lawyer

Indian Trail Drug Possession Defense Lawyer

Being charged with drug possession is a serious offense that can lead to long-lasting consequences in Indian Trail, NC. Several charges can be brought against you for drug possession, ranging in seriousness. If you’ve been charged with drug possession, an Indian Trail drug possession defense lawyer can help advocate for you and fight for your rights.

An Indian Trail Drug Possession Defense Law Firm You Can Trust

At the Law Offices of Huffman & Kendrick, we understand that having a drug possession charge against you can be a serious matter. While these charges have their penalties if convicted, the process can also weigh an emotional toll on the person charged. We can make the law clear to you, allowing you to navigate the process with greater ease. We will analyze the facts of your case and fight for the greatest possible outcome.

We are a law firm that has been developing effective trial skills for more than 50 years. Over the last 50 years, we have gained the necessary knowledge to build a strategy for you that will be effective. We know that every case is different, so we will pay attention to the details surrounding your case to build the most appropriate defense.

What Is a Drug Possession Charge?

Legally, the term for drugs is “controlled substance.” Drug possession is charged against an individual who is found to have unauthorized drugs in their possession. A controlled substance usually refers to narcotics, but there can be other substances, such as prescription drugs, that fall under this definition. Examples of these drugs include:

  • Heroin
  • Cocaine
  • Methamphetamine
  • Ecstasy
  • LSD
  • Ketamine
  • Hallucinogenic mushrooms
  • Fentanyl
  • Opioids
  • Bath salts
  • Vicodin
  • Percocet
  • Xanax
  • Valium
  • Adderall
  • Ritalin
  • Ambien

While some of these may be legal with a prescription, a person can be charged with drug possession. Charges can be applied if they do not have a valid prescription or if they are found to have an intent to sell the drugs.

The severity of the crime and its penalties depends on various factors, including the amount and type of drugs found at the scene, the defendant’s criminal history, and if other factors were involved, such as whether the person was also driving under the influence.

There are both federal and state laws that prohibit drug possession and usage. The most common drug charge involves some sort of possession. In these cases, the prosecutor must show that the defendant knew they were in possession of a controlled substance, they did so without a legal prescription, and the amount of the controlled substance was enough for personal use or resale.

Smaller amounts of a controlled substance are usually a less serious offense. This is partially because a smaller portion is generally believed to be for personal use. Larger portions are suspected to be used to resell, which is a more serious charge: “possession with the intent to sell.”

A person can be charged with possession of a controlled substance even if the drugs are not found on their person, such as in their pocket or in their hands. This is called constructive possession, where the accused would have access and authority over the place where the drugs were found, such as their home or car.

Drug Possession Charges in North Carolina

North Carolina uses a system to classify controlled substances. These classifications range from Schedule I to Schedule VI. These schedules range in severity based on their accepted medical usage and potential to be abused, with Schedule I being the most severe with the greatest likelihood of being abused with no medical use accepted. Schedule V has accepted medical use and has the lowest likelihood of being abused. Schedule VI is specifically for marijuana and THC.

Examples of the schedules are as follows:

  • Schedule I – Schedule I has the highest potential for abuse and has no medical acceptance in the United States. Examples in this category include heroin, lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD), and ecstasy (MDMA).
  • Schedule II – These drugs have a high potential for abuse. Examples of these include cocaine, methamphetamine, and fentanyl.
  • Schedule III – These drugs have a potential for abuse, but not as high as Schedules I and II. These may have some accepted medical uses. Examples of these include anabolic steroids, ketamine, and pentobarbital.
  • Schedule IV – These drugs have some accepted medical uses and have a lower potential for abuse. Examples of these include Xanax, Valium, and Ambien.
  • Schedule V – These drugs have a low potential for abuse and many accepted medical uses. Examples of these include cough medicines, anticonvulsants, and some antidiarrheal medicines.
  • Schedule VI – This schedule is reserved for marijuana according to North Carolina law.

Legal vs. Illegal Drugs

When it comes to the different types of drugs, the nation has its own set of laws regarding what is legal and what is not. States also have their own laws, but most of them generally follow the same national statutes. For instance, the national drug laws still classify marijuana as a Schedule I drug, but North Carolina has given it its own schedule, Schedule VI.

Generally speaking, Schedule I drugs are always illegal. These drugs have no prescription use and are highly susceptible to abuse. Drugs found in Schedules II-V are legal under certain medical circumstances. A person would have to legally have a valid prescription in order to possess these drugs. It is also illegal to use these drugs improperly, even if given a prescription, such as using an improper dosage or for a purpose other than prescribed.

Felony Drug Possession

Drug possession charges are classified as either a misdemeanor or a felony. Generally speaking, this determination is based on the amount and type of drug found, but other factors may be considered, such as whether or not aggravating circumstances were present.

A misdemeanor charge is typically for less serious offenses. However, if the offense is more serious, dangerous, found in large quantities, is a repeat offense, or was found around people considered vulnerable, it may be classified as a felony.

Drugs found in Schedule I are more likely to be considered a felony than the other schedules. If it is determined, or believed, that the drugs found were for personal use, they have a chance of being classified as a misdemeanor instead of a felony.

However, if it is likely that the drugs were for distribution, the charge is more likely to be classified as a felony as the sale or distribution affects more people. However, drug sale crimes are not considered possession crimes and are instead classified as sale crimes. Drug sale crimes are almost always felonies.

As previously stated, if there are aggravating factors present, this increases the chances of the drug possession charge being classified as a felony. These aggravating factors usually make the crime more serious or dangerous than if the possession had not occurred under these circumstances, such as possessing drugs around small children. Aggravating factors include the following:

  • The defendant is a repeat offender with previous drug-related convictions.
  • The possession was found on or near places where school-related business is conducted, such as a school or school bus.
  • The possession was discovered on public grounds or in a public building, such as a swimming pool, public transportation, or a park.
  • The possession was discovered near a drug treatment facility.
  • The possession occurred near someone who was a minor at the time of discovery.

Penalties for Drug Possession

In North Carolina, the penalty a person receives for a drug possession crime depends on a number of factors. These include which schedule the possession falls under, the criminal history of the person charged, and the circumstances surrounding the charge. If the person is a repeat offender, they are likely to receive a higher charge with stiffer penalties.

Penalties are determined first by the schedule in which the drug falls under. Schedule I possessions typically face a Class I felony. Class I felonies are the lowest classification for felonies. If convicted, a person can face incarceration between three and 24 months.

The exception to this rule is if someone was found with a small amount of MDPV. In this case, the person would be charged with a Class 1 misdemeanor and can face up to 120 days in jail if convicted.

When it comes to Schedule II, III, and IV, certain drugs carry a Class I felony charge, while others carry a Class 1 misdemeanor charge. Drugs in the schedules that result in a Class I felony charge are:

  • Methamphetamine
  • Fentanyl
  • Amphetamine
  • Cocaine
  • Carfentanil
  • Phencyclidine
  • Four or more doses of hydromorphone

All other drugs found in these schedules are considered a Class 1 misdemeanor. If a person has more than 100 doses of any drugs in Schedules II, III, or IV, it is considered a Class I felony. If someone is found with illegal possession of a Schedule V drug, possession will face a Class 2 misdemeanor if convicted. This carries a penalty of up to 60 days in jail.

In North Carolina, illegal possession of marijuana (Class VI) carries its own set of penalties, depending on the circumstances. A convicted person can receive a Class I felony, receiving a penalty of three to 24 months in jail or prison if they illegally possess more than 1.5 ounces of marijuana, more than 3/20 ounces of hashish, or any amount of THC. This includes synthetic THC.

A person can face a Class 1 misdemeanor with penalties of up to 120 days in jail if they illegally have between 0.5 and 1.5 ounces of marijuana or between 1/20 and 3/20 ounces of hashish.

A person can face a Class 3 misdemeanor with penalties of fines or a suspended jail sentence if they illegally possess 0.5 ounce or less of marijuana or 1/20 ounce or less of hashish.

If a person is a repeat drug offender, meaning they have prior drug convictions on their record, the penalties are typically harsher. If a person is charged with a misdemeanor drug possession charge in North Carolina with a prior offense, the charge will be upgraded to the next class.

This means that a charge that would normally be a class 1 misdemeanor will be upgraded to a class I felony, charges that would normally be a class 2 misdemeanor will be charged as a class 1 misdemeanor, and charges that would normally be a class 3 misdemeanor will be charged as a class 2 misdemeanor for repeat offenders.

In addition to all this, if a person is found with large amounts of drugs, they are at risk of their possession charge being classified as a drug trafficking charge. Penalties for this range from a Class H to a Class C felony. Those penalties are as follows:

  • Class C felonies typically carry a penalty of 5-12 years in prison, but depending on the circumstances, it can go up to 19 years.
  • Class D felonies typically carry a penalty of 4-10 years in prison, but depending on the circumstances, it can go up to 17 years.
  • Class E felonies typically carry a penalty of 2-4 years in prison, but depending on the circumstances, it can go up to seven years.
  • Class F felonies have a typical penalty of 1-3 years in prison but can go all the way up to five years, depending on the circumstances.
  • Class G felonies typically carry a penalty of 10 months to two years, but depending on the circumstances, it can be up to four years.
  • Class H felonies typically carry a penalty of five to 20 months in jail or prison. However, depending on the circumstances, the penalty can go up to three years in prison.

A person can be charged with drug trafficking if, for example, they have 30 grams of cocaine, as it is reasonable to believe that the offender did not carry this large amount for personal use only. A drug trafficking conviction will almost certainly face jail or prison time. Probation is not given in these types of offenses.

It is possible that someone who is a first-time offender for drug possession will not have to serve jail time, depending on the charge. In North Carolina, there is the option for a conditional discharge. In a conditional charge, the offender is placed on probation for a minimum of one year, and they must complete a drug treatment program. If the defendant completes this requirement, they will not have a conviction on their record. Generally speaking, an offender is only allowed this option one time.

A person may also be allowed to have their charge processed in drug court. This option is typically reserved for those who have a drug addiction and whose charge is considered a misdemeanor or Class I felony. Drug treatment courts offer programs to help the offender overcome their addiction.

The treatment programs are usually intense and extensive and require supervision approved and appointed by the court. If a person completes the requirements in this program, they may be able to have their charges dismissed.

Juvenile Drug Possession

When a person knowingly possesses drugs in an illegal manner, and they are under the age of 18, juvenile drug possession has occurred. Even though the offender is a juvenile, they can still face their own set of harsh penalties. Juvenile drug possession charges are handled in juvenile court and penalties are typically present to rehabilitate the behavior.

A juvenile drug possession charge carries similarities to a regular drug possession charge in that the charges are based on offense level and the circumstances surrounding the charge. The prosecutor must also prove that the juvenile knowingly had drugs in their possession.

This is proven by evidence found at the scene. A juvenile simply saying they didn’t know the drugs were there is not enough to prove innocence, especially if the circumstances point to the juvenile knowing the drugs were in their possession, such as finding them in his or her pocket.

Drugs also do not have to be found in the juvenile’s hand or on their person. Just like with adult drug possession offenses, a juvenile can be charged if drugs were found in a space that they had authority and control over, such as their car or school locker.

Juveniles can also face charges for illegally possessing prescription drugs. If they have a prescription from a medical professional for a drug, they are not committing a crime. However, if their friend were to take those same drugs, they would be committing a crime as the drugs were not prescribed to them.

Even though many states allow marijuana for recreational use, a person must be 21 years or older to do so. Therefore, minors are not permitted by law to be in possession of marijuana.

Penalties for Juvenile Drug Possession

Like with adult penalties, juvenile penalties will be based on the circumstances surrounding the charge. For instance, a drug possession charge, including a Schedule I drug, will carry harsher penalties than a drug possession charge involving marijuana. The juvenile’s record will also be taken into consideration when determining penalties.

While the methods for considering a penalty are similar, the actual penalties are different for juveniles than they are for adults. Because juvenile courts are focused on rehabilitation rather than punishment, there are more options available for juveniles if convicted. These options include:

  • Counseling – This also includes drug counseling. An offender may also be ordered to attend a drug treatment program. There is a wide range of counseling options a judge may order the juvenile and/or their family to attend, including mental health or family counseling.
  • Financial penalties – A juvenile can be ordered to pay different fees and fines. If the juvenile damaged another person’s property during, or as a result of, the drug possession, they may be ordered to pay restitution to the person, people, or entity whose property they damaged.
  • Classes – A juvenile may be ordered to either take or teach classes on the dangers of drug possession. If the minor is no longer in school, particularly if they quit, a judge can order them to return to school. They can also be ordered to perform community service.
  • Driver’s license restrictions – A judge can order the minor’s driver’s license to be suspended, in some cases, until they are 18. While this is a typical penalty if a car was involved, a judge can order the suspension even if one wasn’t.
  • Probation – A juvenile can be sentenced to probation, which will have certain terms and conditions to be met, such as completing a certain amount of community service hours. If an offender does not fulfill or violates their probation, they could be subject to additional penalties.
  • Detention – It is uncommon, but a juvenile can be sentenced to detention. Detention could include being confined to their home, being placed in a separate home, or being placed in a detention center. This option is usually only used in extreme circumstances, like if the defendant used violence when the crime occurred.

Defenses to Drug Possession Charges

In North Carolina, if you are charged with drug possession, there are a number of defenses available to you. Some of these include:

  • Innocence – A defendant can claim that they are actually innocent in the crime they are being charged with. If the defendant has an alibi, they can prove it in court. Other forms of innocence include mistaken identity and incorrect facts surrounding the case.
  • Lack of knowledge – Drug possession charges rely heavily on proving that the defendant knowingly possessed illegal drugs. An example would be if a person borrowed a friend’s car and there were drugs hidden in the glove compartment. The defendant can claim they did not know the drugs were in their possession.
  • Illegal Search – A defense can sometimes request that evidence not be allowed during a trial because the way in which law enforcement obtained the evidence was unlawful. This is typically through an illegal search and seizure. Because cases rely heavily on evidence, if evidence is thrown out for this reason, a case is likely to either be dismissed or reduced to a lesser charge.
  • Immunity – In some cases, North Carolina provides immunity in drug possession. Immunity may be given to someone who is experiencing an overdose or to someone who is assisting another person going through an overdose. Immunity is given only for misdemeanor charges. Immunity can also be given in felony charges if the defendant had less than one gram of heroin or cocaine.

In other cases, a defendant can claim that the amount of drugs they are being charged for is not the amount they were in possession of. In some cases, a defendant can claim that the drugs were either owned or sold by another person.

What To Do if You’ve Been Arrested for Drug Possession

If you have been charged with drug possession, the first thing you’ll want to do is exercise your right to remain silent, especially without your attorney present. Law enforcement can take any statements you make and use them against you in court. Until you have a lawyer, refrain from making any statements, especially ones that could incriminate you.

Next, you will want to either request or secure legal representation. If you cannot afford an attorney, you can request one from the court. An attorney will advise you on the next steps through the legal process, inform you of your rights, and advocate for you at trial.
Do not consent to a search unless law enforcement has a warrant, whether of yourself, your car, your home, or any other belongings. If an illegal search is made, be sure to inform your attorney. They can challenge it in court.

Follow the legal advice your attorney gives you. As they are well-versed in the law, they can help you with the next steps that will help in the trial and outcome of your case. If you can, consider treatment options, especially if addiction is a part of your case. Examples include counseling or rehabilitation. It’s not guaranteed, but it can help the court consider these options over jail or prison time.

Once you have a court date, be sure to appear in court on time and fulfill any requirements given to you. You should also refrain from discussing your case with anyone other than your attorney. You especially do not want to reveal details about the case publicly, such as on social media.

How a Defense Attorney Can Help You

Drug possession charges can sometimes be difficult to understand. There is a lot of information and classifications that a charge can fall under. Being charged with gun possession can be overwhelming. Having an attorney can help you in this process.

  • An attorney can help you understand the charges against you. They will examine the details of your case and inform you of the charges, the amount of drugs involved, and any other additional charges that may have been brought against you, such as intent to distribute or drug trafficking.
  • An attorney can help you gather evidence. An attorney will analyze all details of the case. If evidence is necessary, they can help you gather it and strengthen your case. Some of this evidence includes witness statements, surveillance, or a legal, valid prescription for the drugs you are being charged for.
  • An attorney can help you explore treatment options. Showing that you are committed to rehabilitation can help your case. Treatment options include counseling, rehabilitation, diversion programs, and other alternative sentencing. An attorney can help you choose one that is most appropriate for your situation.
  • An attorney can build a strong case for you. A part of building a strong defense is knowing the prosecution’s strategy and evaluating it for numerous reasons, including ensuring that the information obtained is accurate and was obtained legally.
  • An attorney will protect your rights. A defense attorney is well-versed in the rights of those who have been charged. They will ensure that you are treated with fairness and in accordance with the law.


Q: How Much Is a Defense Attorney in North Carolina?

A: The cost of a defense attorney in North Carolina varies depending on several factors. These factors include the amount of evidence needed in your case, the length of time the case will take, and the severity of the offense. Each attorney also charges differently. Some charge by the hour, some have flat fees, and others have payment plan options.

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

A: First-time drug offenders may not necessarily go to jail in North Carolina. This is especially the case if the charge against them was nonviolent, contained a small amount of drugs, and was a type of drug that had a low risk for abuse. The court may seek probation, treatment programs, or other forms of penalty instead. These are typically considered misdemeanors. Alternative options may not be available for felony charges.

Q: What Is the Mandatory Minimum Sentence for Drugs in North Carolina?

A: The mandatory minimum sentence for drugs in North Carolina depends on the type of drugs that a person is being charged for. Typically speaking, drugs that have a higher risk of abuse and have no medical usage, such as cocaine, will carry a higher minimum sentence than a charge for a drug that has a low risk for abuse and accepted medical usage, such as Xanax.

Q: What Amount of Drugs Is Considered Trafficking in North Carolina?

A: In North Carolina, the amount of drugs considered trafficking will depend on the type of drug that the person possessed at the time of the arrest. Some common drug trafficking figures are more than ten pounds of marijuana, 28 grams of cocaine, 28 grams of methamphetamine, and four grams of heroin.

Contact the Law Offices of Huffman & Kendrick Today

If you have been charged with drug possession, you do not have to figure out your next steps alone. Carol Huffman Kendrick at The Law Offices of Huffman & Kendrick can help you in your process and advocate for your rights. Contact us today for more information.