Waxhaw Drug Crimes Defense Lawyer

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Waxhaw Drug Crimes Attorney

Proven Firm Serves Clients In Waxhaw North, Carolina

When you are facing a drug-related charge in Waxhaw North Carolina, time is not on your side. State and federal governments devote many resources to identifying drug activities and trafficking. Naturally, they also devote many resources to securing a prosecution against anyone they arrest. Since drug crimes are some of the most common in North Carolina, the prosecutors already have an advantage in preparing their case against you.

The exact charge and consequences of your conviction depend on the type and quantity of drugs in your possession. Even outside of jail or prison time, drug-related convictions can have lifelong effects, impacting your ability to find housing, go to school, or get a job. As soon as you are able, your first step following a drug-related arrest should be to contact an experienced defense attorney.

Attacking Drug Charges

When facing drug charges, your best chance to have the charges reduced or dismissed is an aggressive defense strategy. Drug offenses are very rarely dismissed or won because the accused is innocent. Rather, mistakes made by the state and federal governments are the primary means of preserving your liberty. Choosing an attorney deeply acquainted with the laws surrounding drug crimes can ensure every possible avenue for charge reduction or dismissal is explored. If you or a loved one is facing drug charges, the Law Offices of Huffman & Kendrick can provide the most effective defense strategy, regardless of your charges.

Drug Possession Charge Types

There are two main forms of drug possession charges in North Carolina: possession with intent to manufacture, sell, or deliver and simple possession. Possession with intent to manufacture, sell, or deliver is classified as a felony. Simple possession of most substance types is classified as a misdemeanor.

Possession of illegal substances in North Carolina can be filed as actual or constructive. Actual possession is when illegal substances are found on your body or clothing. Constructive possession occurs when controlled substances are discovered in close proximity to you or somewhere you can easily access them, but not on you.

North Carolina Controlled Substances Act

The drug laws and penalties in North Carolina are centered around the North Carolina Controlled Substances Act, the statute that describes drugs as substances that are recognized by the U.S. Pharmacopoeia and intended to affect the functions of the body. This law also classifies the six controlled substances into schedules, categorized by characteristics like the potential for abuse, the fact that they are not used medicinally, and the risk to public health. The following are descriptions of each schedule and examples of drugs within the schedules:

  • Schedule IDrugs at this level are highly addictive, have a high potential for abuse, and have no medical use. They are potently mind-altering and not considered safe for the public. Substances within this level include heroin, GHB, ecstasy, and opiates.
  • Schedule IIThis level is made up of drugs with a high potential for abuse and can cause psychological or physical dependence. In some instances, and with severe restrictions, they can have medicinal uses. Substances within this level include codeine, methadone, Ritalin, and hydrocodone.
  • Schedule IIIDrugs in this level have a potential for abuse, but noticeably less than Schedule I and II substances. These drugs have medicinal uses, but abuse can lead to limited dependence. Substances within this level include ketamine, some barbiturates, and steroids.
  • Schedule IVThis substance level is comprised of drugs that have a low potential for abuse, accepted medical uses, and may only lead to limited dependence. Substances within this level include Valium, Xanax, Rohypnol, and barbital.
  • Schedule VThis level is made up of drugs that have a low potential for abuse and could lead to limited dependence. It is made up of over-the-counter medicines in high quantities. Substances within this level include medications you can purchase in retail stores, including those that contain small amounts of codeine.
  • Schedule VIDrugs in this category have a low potential for abuse, but abuse may lead to limited dependence. They do not have an accepted medical use. Substances within this level include marijuana, hashish, and hashish oil.

Understanding North Carolina’s Drug Crime Penalties

Police officers and prosecutors will frequently charge those accused of drug crimes with the highest possible offense. Working with a determined defense attorney can ensure the charges applied are appropriate for the circumstances. There are major differences between the penalties for different levels of controlled substance possession. Therefore, a reduction or dismissal of charges can have a significant impact on your future. Maximum penalties for possession of the different substance levels include:

  • Schedule I: Class 1 felony charge, punishable by up to 24 months in prison
  • Schedule II, III, or IV: Class 1 misdemeanor, carrying a maximum jail sentence of 120 days in jail. Possession over a certain amount results in a Class 1 felony.
  • Schedule V: Class 2 misdemeanor charge, punishable by a maximum of 60 days in jail
  • Schedule VI: Class 3 misdemeanor, carrying up to 20 days in jail

If you are found to be in possession of large quantities of controlled substances, you can face other, more serious charges like drug trafficking and possession with intent. Possession with the intent to manufacture, sell, or deliver a substance that is on Schedule I or II is a Class H felony. Possession with intent to manufacture, sell, or deliver is a separate crime from the manufacturing, sale, or delivery of controlled substances, a crime with heavier penalties. For example, the delivery of controlled substances can result in the following punishments:

  • Schedule I, II, III, IV, V, or VI: Class H felony, carrying up to 39 months in jail

The sale of controlled substances can result in the following penalties:

  • Schedule I or II: Class G felony charge, punishable by up to 47 months in jail
  • Schedule III, IV, V, or VI: Class H felony, carrying a penalty of up to 39 months in jail

Potential Defenses Against a Drug Case

Regardless of the severity of the charges against you, the burden to prove each element of the alleged crime(s) lies with the state. A seasoned drug crime defense attorney can exhaustively examine each piece of evidence. They can then challenge it and the theory of the case. Potential defenses for these types of cases include:

  • Illegal Search and Seizure The police officers who found the drugs did not do so according to the laws put in place to protect your rights. The evidence is not admissible in court and cannot be used against you. For example, a traffic stop for a moving violation does not give the police the right to search your vehicle. Any evidence collected during that search was found illegally.
  • Authenticity Issues with the Alleged Substances and/or Their Amounts It may be possible to challenge the testing equipment or the staff members who authenticated the substances. Also, when weighing the substances, the substances may not be removed from the bags or containers they are found in. This can increase the weight of the substance and cause an exaggeration of its weight.
  • Prove Possession of the Drugs in Question Depending on exactly where the drugs were found, it is possible to argue that you were not truly in control of the drugs. It could be argued that they were not in your possession if they were discovered in a location that others have access to or that someone else owns.
  • Chain of Custody Concerns The state must be able to show the presented evidence was actually collected at the time of your arrest. The prosecution must also show that police officers and others who came into contact with the evidence followed proper procedures. This includes testing, storage, and presentation during the trial.
  • Inaccurate Intent to Sell and Deliver Charge If a large amount of cash or some common household items, like sandwich bags or a household scale, were present during your arrest, the serious intent to sell and distribute charge can be added to your case. Depending on the circumstances of the case, this charge can be dismissed.
  • Questionable Witness Reliability There could be problems with how the police initially identified you. An untrustworthy witness can cast doubt on your entire case, allowing the charges to be reduced or dismissed. If you were chosen in a police lineup, there are proper protocols that must be followed for the identification to be valid.

At the Law Offices of Huffman & Kendrick, we are skilled at finding the defense that can result in the most favorable outcome for your case. We have defended many clients facing drug charges. We can apply our years of accumulated knowledge to your case.

Defense Attorney for Waxhaw Drug Crimes

A drug possession charge can result in jail or prison time as well as financial penalties. The penalties will be even harsher if you have any prior convictions. A drug conviction on your record can also result in lifelong consequences. These can include a more difficult time finding a job, affordable housing, or post-secondary schooling. A drug-related arrest should not be treated lightly. Your first action should be to find an experienced drug crime defense attorney. The Law Offices of Huffman & Kendrick are passionate about protecting the rights of Waxhaw citizens and supporting them as they fight drug possession charges. Contact us today so we can schedule a consultation.