Drug charges carry serious penalties in North Carolina. If convicted of a drug crime in state or federal court, a person can face steep fines and court costs, forfeiture of personal property, loss of many licenses and privileges in the event of a conviction for a felony and – above all – loss of freedom, i.e., jail or prison.
If you are facing a drug charge in the Outer Banks or elsewhere in northeastern North Carolina, contact the criminal defense lawyers of Glover Law Firm. What occurs in the first hours or days after your arrest can be crucial. We can provide the immediate legal help you need.
You can count on our legal team to:
- Help you seek pre-trial release while your charges are pending
- Review your case with you and explain the process ahead
- Obtain and analyze the evidence against you
- Seek suppression of any evidence that was unlawfully obtained
- Pursue a fair plea arrangement if it would serve your best interests
- Fight for you in court based on a thoroughly prepared strategy
Whether you are facing drug charges in state or federal court, we will work hard to protect your rights and pursue the best possible outcome for you and your family.What You Should Know About Your North Carolina Drug Charge
Several factors will shape what lies ahead after you have been charged with a drug crime in North Carolina. These factors will determine whether you are facing:
- A felony or misdemeanor drug charge
- State or federal prosecution
- Minor or major fines
- Forfeiture of your licenses and/or personal property
- Probation or mandatory prison sentence
- The type of drug involved
Both state and federal law classify drugs by schedule. The drug’s dangerous and addictive qualities – and the penalties that offenses involving the drug carry – range from Schedule I (most severe) to Schedule VI (least severe). The schedules for substances commonly involved in North Carolina drug charges are:
- Marijuana – Schedule VI
- Cocaine (powder or rock ) – Schedule II
- Methamphetamine (crystal meth) – Schedule II
- Heroin – Schedule I
- Lysergic Acid Diethylamide (LSD) and psilocybin (mushrooms) – Schedule I
- MDMA / MDA (Ecstasy) – Schedule I
- Oxycodone / OxyContine – Schedule II
- The alleged amount of the drug
The alleged weight or quantity of the controlled substance in your case plays an important role. It will determine whether you are charged with a misdemeanor or felony possession/sale charge (possibly leading to probation instead of jail) or a drug trafficking charge (involving mandatory sentencing and significant fines). The following are threshold amounts that could elevate your case to the trafficking level under North Carolina law:
- The act you are accused of committing
The drug offense you are charged with will depend on whether you are accused of simple possession, possession with intent to sell or distribute, sale, delivery, cultivation, manufacture or trafficking.
- Your prior record
A first-time offender will have a better chance of receiving probation instead of time in a county jail or state prison. If you have several prior drug or other criminal offenses on your record, it may be impossible to avoid a sentence if you are convicted.
- Who arrested you
If you were arrested by a state law enforcement officer (city police, county sheriff, Highway Patrol, SBI), your case would likely be prosecuted in the First Judicial District, or state court. However, if you are arrested by a federal authority (National Park Service Ranger, FBI or DEA) or charged with a federal drug crime, your case could be prosecuted in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina. A federal crime may carry stiffer penalties than a state charge. Generally, a case is handled in one court system or the other and not both.
- Other factors
Your case could also be shaped by factors such as the involvement of minors, sale or delivery near a church or school and whether you face related charges. For example, drug paraphernalia and weapon possession charges often arise in drug arrests.
At Glover Law Firm, we will get to work on your Outer Banks drug charge case right away. The steps we can take to protect your rights and interests may include:Steps We Can Take to Protect Your Rights
- Advising you during interrogation
Your “Miranda rights” include the right to have a lawyer by your side if you are questioned by officers while in custody. You have the right to remain silent or to provide assistance that may help you down the road.
- Reviewing the evidence against you
We can use a process called “discovery” to find out what evidence state or federal prosecutors plan to use in your case. This evidence will help us to assess your case and advise you on seeking a plea or going to trial.
- Seeking suppression of evidence
If physical evidence, statements or other evidence was obtained in violation of your rights, we can file a motion to have it “suppressed” so it cannot be used by the prosecution. Commonly cited grounds for suppression are:
- A stop and/or search without probable cause or reasonable suspicion
- An invalid search or arrest warrant
- Flawed testing used to determine the substance’s identity and amount
- Faulty out-of-court identification of you
- A statement given without first being advised of your “Miranda rights.”
- Negotiating a plea agreement
You deserve honest and frank representation. Based on our review of the State’s evidence, we may advise you to enter a plea that minimizes the consequences for you. Reduction to a lesser charge, consolidation of offenses and other options may be available. We will provide a full explanation and listen to you.
- North Carolina Controlled Substances Act, N.C. General Statutes