Understanding Drug Charges in North Carolina

Concept of legislation drug charges with gavel

North Carolina prosecutors take drug charges seriously. If you are convicted of a drug crime, you face hefty fines, prison time, and other penalties that could have a long-term effect on your life.

To defend yourself against drug crime charges in North Carolina, you need an experienced drug charges lawyer who will thoroughly investigate the case against you, challenge the evidence, and defend you in court.

The Stowe Law Firm, PLLC, defends people against state and federal drug charges. Ryan Stowe is a North Carolina lawyer who knows how to get possession charges dropped. To put his experience to work for you, contact the Stowe Law Firm today to schedule a confidential consultation to discuss your situation and how he can help.

North Carolina Drug Charges Vary Based on the Type and Quantity of Drugs in Your Possession

There are two basic types of drug charges in North Carolina: simple possession and possession with intent to manufacture, sell, or deliver (PWIMSD). The penalties for a North Carolina drug charge conviction will vary based on the quantity and type of drugs you are accused of possessing.

Illegal drugs, formally known as controlled substances, are classified into five different categories, called schedules, based on the likelihood of abuse of the drug and whether the drugs have an accepted medical use.

  • Schedule I drugs have no accepted medical use, are unsafe, and have a high potential for abuse. Controlled substances in this category include heroin, GHB, LSD, marijuana, peyote, and ecstasy.
  • Schedule II drugs include narcotics and stimulants with a high potential for abuse and cause severe psychological or physical dependence. Examples include cocaine, opium, codeine, morphine, methadone, Demerol, OxyContin, Percocet, amphetamine (Dexedrine, Adderall, and Ritalin), and methamphetamine.
  • Schedule III controlled substances have a lower potential for abuse, but that can still lead to moderate or low physical dependence and high psychological dependence. Vicodin, Tylenol/Codeine, Suboxone, ketamine, and anabolic steroids all fall into this category.
  • Schedule IV drugs have a lower potential for abuse than Schedule III and include substances like Valium, Xanax, Soma, Klonopin, Valium, Ativan, Restoril, Rohypnol, and clonazepam.
  • Schedule V substances contain limited quantities of narcotics. A cough syrup containing codeine is an example.

Federal Drug Charges

Depending on your circumstances, you could also face federal charges. Federal drug charges carry penalties that are even more severe. They are almost always charged as felonies.

The most common federal drug crime is trafficking across state borders. Other federal charges include distribution, manufacturing, or cultivating drugs in violation of federal law. This is where having an experienced lawyer by your side is the best avenue of defense toward these charges.

How to Get Drug Possession Charges Dropped

Every case involving drug charges is unique, and your circumstances will dictate the specific defense strategy. However, there are common defenses for these types of charges.

Not a Drug

Just because something looks like a drug does not mean it is a drug. To secure a conviction, the prosecutor must prove that the substance you were accused of possessing is actually a drug. This is usually done by calling a crime lab technician to testify about the results of the crime lab analysis.

But if there are problems with the chain of custody or how the test was performed, lab analysis evidence could be excluded from trial, leading to drug charges being reduced or dropped.

Not Your Drugs

In a drug charges prosecution, the government must prove that you had access to or control over the drugs. But if your criminal defense lawyer can show that there is reasonable doubt about who the drugs belonged to, you could have charges reduced, or the case dismissed.

Illegal Search

The Fourth Amendment requires that government officials have probable cause to believe a crime has been committed before searching your home, vehicle, person, or property. If the drugs were discovered in violation of your constitutional rights, evidence of any illegal activity will be excluded from consideration at trial and cannot be used to convict you.

No Miranda Warnings

If the police did not follow procedures and failed to advise you of your rights, did not allow you to speak to an attorney, or questioned you after you told them you wish to remain silent, some evidence could be excluded from consideration at trial, which could lead to a reduction in charges or dismissal of your case.

The Stowe Law Firm: Aggressive Defense Against North Carolina Drug Charges

A drug conviction can carry harsh penalties. For a successful defense, you need an experienced North Carolina drug charges lawyer on your side. Ryan Stowe will evaluate your situation, offer legal counsel and advice, and aggressively defend you against the drug charges. After careful analysis of your situation, he will craft a customized defense that identifies inconsistencies in the prosecution’s case. He will call and question witnesses on your behalf and argue for a reduction in charges, a reduced sentence, or dismissal of the charges.

To learn more about the Stowe Law Firm and how we can help, contact us today to schedule a confidential consultation to discuss your situation.

The Stowe Law Firm is based in Salisbury, North Carolina, and proudly represents people in Rowan County, Mecklenburg County, Davidson County, Cabarrus County, and Stanly County.

Categories: Drug Charges