The drug war tears apart families, turns young people into criminals, and can ruin lives and the prospect of ever having a productive career. While some states have moved ever so slowly toward legalization of marijuana and other countries have moved toward the legalization or de-criminalization of harder drugs, North Carolina remains a very tough state when it comes to the enforcement of drug laws.
Even small amounts of drugs or drug paraphernalia - pipes, paper, baggies - can result in onerous punishments or even criminal records that are difficult, if not impossible, to erase.
Slightly larger amounts of drugs, depending on the type, can result in felony charges and, if not handled properly, felony convictions that turn people into convicted felons for potentially the rest of their lives.
In addition, North Carolina penalizes the illegal possession of certain amounts of drugs - a fairly small amount of opiate pills (such as oxycontin or oxycodone, for instance) - as drug trafficking offenses.
Trafficking offenses are the most punitive, resulting in mandatory minimum sentences even if the person has an otherwise entirely clean criminal record. A first time offender caught with enough illegal pills containing opiates can face 70 months or more as a minimum punishment.
While there are ways to get below a mandatory minimum sentence, drug charges often require the skilled representation from a dedicated Raleigh drug lawyer.
Drug Diversion and Deferral Programs
In certain circumstances, depending on the quantity of drugs and the conduct involved, a person charged with a drug crime may be eligible for a drug diversion program. These programs involve treatment or education, and can result in a complete dismissal of all charges, and the opportunity for an expungement after the program has been successfully completed.
Sometimes these programs are mandatory - in other words, the prosecutor must offer them. In other circumstances, your Raleigh drug attorney may be able to negotiate with a prosecutor to reduce charges and enroll you into the program.
Raleigh Drug Trial Lawyer
At the end of the day, if you not offered an acceptable resolution to your case, or if you are innocent of the charges, it is your right to demand a jury trial in a felony drug trafficking or drug possession charge. These trials can involve suppression motions that argue that the police officers violated your constitutional rights against improper searches or seizures, or failed to read you Miranda warnings prior to questioning you.
In other cases, a trial may be advisable where a snitch or informant has lied about you to police, claiming you are involved in drugs when you are not.
Trials are high risk, but high reward endeavors. If you win, you can potentially walk away without any criminal consequences from the alleged conduct. However, if you lose, the penalties can be harsh. That's why it's important for you to consider hiring a skilled Raleigh Drug lawyer who is able to effectively try your case before a jury.
Cooperation and Assistance
If trial is not an option, especially in cases where the police have strong evidence against you, you may wish to work with police to reduce the penalties or charges associated with your conduct. This is often called "substantial assistance" or, in the federal system, 5K1.1 assistance.
We can work with you and with police officers or detectives or DEA agents to help you you receive the maximum credit for the information you provide or the assistance you provide. And we will do this with the utmost confidentiality, understanding that you do this as some risk to yourself.