Man with handcuffs, being arrested for drug trafficking

Drug Trafficking in North Carolina

When you have been charged with the trafficking of drugs, it can feel hopeless and terrifying. You may feel that there is nothing you can do. However, that is not necessarily the case. 

Those who possess a scheduled controlled substance or a narcotic could find themselves up against a drug trafficking charge. However, it is the amount of the drug that determines whether your possession of the drug can be considered trafficking. 

Intention is Irrelevant

What is important to keep in mind is that your intention is irrelevant. It does not matter if you obtained a large amount of drugs to use by yourself. If you have over a certain amount of drugs in your possession you can still be charged with drug trafficking.

You may be charged with drug trafficking if you possess:

  • 10 lbs. of marijuana
  • 100 pills of LSD or Ecstasy
  • 4 gm of morphine, opioids, or heroin
  • 28 gm of powder or crack cocaine

Harsh Consequences

If you are found guilty of drug trafficking, you may face a variety of serious consequences such as long jail sentences (beginning at 25-30 months), hefty fines, or the forfeiture of assets. If you are accused of violating federal drug trafficking laws, you may invoke federal sentencing guidelines. 

When you have been charged with drug trafficking you may also find yourself charged with other crimes as well. If the drugs in your possession are found packaged in a way that lends itself to looking like they are being sold, someone may also be charged with possession with intent to distribute or intent to sell or deliver. 

This can be extremely serious, as when you are being accused and assessed for multiple charges, it may increase the likelihood that you will be convicted. The circumstances often dictate whether you should obtain a plea bargain or take the case to trial. An attorney can help you to weigh these options. 

Hancock Law Firm, PLLC Helps Those in North Carolina Who Have Been Charged with a Crime

A conviction for drug trafficking can have a severe and long-lasting impact on your life. From finding a place to live to securing a job position, it can prove difficult with such a conviction on your record. It can also impact your ability to get to and from work and make money. That is why it is in your best interest to consult with a knowledgeable and experienced criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. 

A qualified criminal defense attorney has experience with fighting these types of charges and can help you to navigate the criminal justice system. 

At Hancock Law Firm, PLLC, we fully understand what is at stake and will do everything that we can to help you fight these charges. To learn more or to schedule a free consultation, contact us today!

Female being tested with a breathalyzer for drugs or alcohol.

Breathalyzer Test Can Detect Levels of Marijuana

More and more states have begun legalizing the use of both medical and recreational marijuana. Subsequently, law enforcement has increasingly concerned itself with discovering new ways to identify any drivers who may be under the influence of and impaired by marijuana and specifically the psychoactive ingredient in it, tetrahydrocannabinol (THC).

Detecting THC in the Body

While several tests have been implemented to discover the level of an individual’s intoxication, THC has only been able to be detected through a sample of someone’s blood or urine. Luckily, researchers at The University of Pittsburgh are now in the process of developing a new way to detect THC on a driver’s breath. 

This new THC Breathalyzer, though still in its developmental phase, brings much hope to law enforcement and prosecutors that they will soon be able to identify those driving under the influence of marijuana and THC products. 

How Does the THC Breathalyzer Work?

The marijuana Breathalyzer uses microscopic carbon nanotubes in order to measure the number of THC molecules in the breath. When a driver breathes into the Breathalyzer, the THC molecules, which change their electrical properties, bind to the surface of the nanotubes. This changes how quickly the electrical currents are able to determine whether there is THC present in the individual’s breath. 

The Concern of Accuracy 

Since these devices are brand new, there is concern regarding the accuracy of this testing and therefore how it could result in issues for law enforcement officers administrating them. 

Since marijuana stays in an individual’s system much longer than alcohol, it can prove very difficult to determine whether or not someone is showing THC from the time that they were behind the wheel, or whether they were under the influence up to a month ago. 

Additionally, since THC is stored in fat cells and people have a variety of body types and compositions, it can make it more difficult for states to determine what is considered the legal limit for it and thus what constitutes impairment under the law. 

Joel Hancock at Hancock Law Firm, PLLC Helps Those in North Carolina Who Have Been Charged with Driving Under the Influence

A conviction for driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol can have a severe and long-lasting impact on your life. From finding a place to live to securing a job position, it can prove difficult with such a conviction on your record. It can also impact your right to drive, and subsequently your ability to get to and from work and make money. That’s why it is in your best interest to consult with a knowledgeable and experienced criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. 

At Hancock Law Firm, PLLC, we fully understand what is at stake and will do everything that we can to help you fight these charges. To learn more or to schedule a free consultation, contact us today!

Opioid pill bottles, often a catalyst for drug addiction

Addiction Proves Serious Problem for North Carolina Residents

Unfortunately, addiction is a reality for millions across the United States, with varying drugs gaining popularity. Recently, opioids are greatly impacting many residents of North Carolina. 

Opioids differ from a lot of drugs in that unlike others that are illegal, opioid addiction usually begins because a doctor prescribes an opium-based medication. Although there are now less addictive options, many of those who have been prescribed them already are fighting a big battle. 

In fact, since 1997, more than 400,000 people have died in the U.S. due to opioids. According to the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (NCDHHS), from 1999 to 2016, more than 12,000 North Carolina residents died from opioid-related overdoses. 

The NIH’s National Institute on Drug Abuse has reported that the greatest increase in deaths were those involving synthetic opioids besides methadone (mostly fentanyl).

In 2017 (the most recent data available), there were 1,953 overdose deaths, an average of 19.8 deaths per 100,000 people in the state of North Carolina. This may not seem like a lot, but when you consider the fact that the national average is 14.6 deaths per 100,000 people it is quite substantial. However, this isn’t too surprising considering that in 2017 opioids in North Carolina were prescribed at a rate of almost 13 percent higher than that of the national average. 

Investigations Help to Hold Large Corporations Accountable

Now that it has been brought to light, these higher rates of opioid prescriptions are considered a red flag for regulators when it comes to looking at big pharma companies and their abuses. As a means for keeping things in check, under the Controlled Substances Act companies are obligated to report any unusually large shipments of opioid medications. 

These investigations have proven effective. For example, some previous investigations found numerous unreported shipments of opioid medications. In West Virginia, a town of just 400 people was shipped 3,7 million hydrocodone pills over the course of only three years. 

By conducting these investigations, it is helping to hold companies accountable for their part in the opioid crisis. Unfortunately, addiction is often the catalyst for criminal drug charges – even those unrelated to drugs. Although addiction is a very serious disease, there is help available to anyone who is struggling if they seek help. 

The Attorneys at Hancock Law Firm, PLLC Help Those in North Carolina Who Have Been Charged with a Crime

Drug addiction is a serious problem, but one that is still criminalized. A drug conviction can have severe and long-lasting effects on your life. That’s why it is in your best interest to consult with a knowledgeable and experienced criminal defense attorney. At Hancock Law Firm, PLLC, we fully understand what is at stake and will do everything that we can to help you fight your charge. To learn more or to schedule a free consultation, contact us today!

Hancock Law Firm discusses how the opioid epidemic is affecting North Carolina

What to Know About North Carolina’s Opioid Epidemic

Over the past decade, residents of North Carolina have experienced opioid misuse, addiction, and ultimately double the number of overdoses. Opioids, also known as opiates, include not only illicit drugs such as heroin and fentanyl, but also prescription pain medication including things like morphine, Vicodin, oxycodone, and Tylenol with codeine. Regardless of the drug’s legal status, all opioids affect the brain and the body the same way and are turning too many lives upside down. 

How Do Opioids Work?

Opioids work by targeting nerve cells in the brain and body and activating their receptors. Opioids can serve to reduce pain, but can also become addictive and lead to accidental overdose and death. As many as one in four patients receiving long-term opioid therapy in a primary care setting is struggling with opioid addiction. People often turn to opioids to deal with various emotional issues. They can provide a feeling of euphoria, which keeps people taking more. 

After using opioids over a long period, people can develop a level of tolerance for them and will, therefore, require a larger quantity of opioids to achieve the same feeling. Additionally, the symptoms of withdrawal can be too much to bear, so people continue taking the drug to avoid them. 

Since people will eventually require more and more drugs to achieve the same effects, they will often turn to illicit street drugs such as heroin, as they are much cheaper than prescription medication, and do not require sign off of a doctor (as they are illegal). 

A Harsh Reality

Sadly, as of 2014, two million Americans either used more opioids than prescribed or were dependent upon them and from 2002 to 2017, the number of opioid overdoses quadrupled. In 2017, 66 percent of overdose deaths occurred with males. Unfortunately, many opioid deaths are now caused by heroin that is laced with fentanyl, a synthetic opioid. Not only is heroin cheaper to produce, but also it is 50 to 100 times stronger than morphine. 

What Can You Do?

It is important to be aware of the risk factors for prescription opioid abuse and addiction. They include:

  • Taking high dosages 
  • Having a mental illness
  • Having a history of alcohol or other substance abuse
  • Obtaining more than one prescription from more than one provider or pharmacy

Also remember that prescription opioid overdose deaths often result when used in tandem with alcohol and benzodiazepines, so avoiding both while taking prescription opioids is best practice. 

The Attorneys at Hancock Law, PLLC Help Those in NC Who Have Been Charged with a Felony

Opioid addiction can be extremely serious and requires medical help. If you or a loved one is suffering from opioid addiction, there are many resources to which you can turn. You can leverage SAMHSA’s National Helpline (1-800-662-HELP (4357)) or the National Drug Helpline at 1-888-633-3239. Be sure to get the help you need and deserve.

At the Hancock Law Firm, PLLC, we understand the severity of addiction and wish to help our clients get better. That is why if you or a loved one has been charged with a drug crime, we can help. To learn more or to schedule a free consultation, call Hancock Law Firm, PLLC at 262-221-3047 today!