If you’re under investigation or have been arrested for a drug crime in Morehead City, your freedom and future may be jeopardized. North Carolina prosecutors take drug crime charges seriously, and you could be facing prison time, fines, probation, and a permanent criminal record.
Attorney Joel Hancock cares about your rights, freedoms, and future opportunities. He works diligently to build an aggressive drug crime defense for Morehead City and North Carolina clients. Every second you wait to hire a skilled criminal defense attorney, it gives the prosecutor an advantage. When you work with Joel Hancock, he will use his experience and skills to provide you with the comprehensive legal counsel you need.
Types of Morehead City Drug Crimes We Handle
In North Carolina, the penalties for drug crimes vary depending on the quantity and type of substance. Defendants may face multiple charges arising from a single controlled substance-related allegation. However, prosecutors must prove every element of each drug crime beyond a reasonable doubt to obtain a conviction. Depending on your unique circumstances, you could be facing various drug charges, including, but not limited to the following:
- Drug possession charges for synthetic marijuana or spice
- Drug possession charges for common street drugs, such as heroin, marijuana, cocaine, and more
- Manufacturing, sale, trafficking, and delivery of drugs
- Intent to sell and distribute drugs
- Distributing prescription drugs to others
- Writing fraudulent prescriptions
- Conspiracy to commit a drug-related crime
- Distributing drugs to minors
Understanding North Carolina’s Controlled Substance Law
In North Carolina, controlled substances are categorized into six different schedules. The most dangerous and addictive drugs are considered Schedule I drugs. Schedule VI drugs are considered the least addictive while providing the most medicinal benefits. Some of the most common drugs involved in drug crime cases in each schedule include the following:
- Schedule I: ecstasy, heroin, and opiates
- Schedule II: morphine, codeine, cocaine, methadone, and opium
- Schedule III: anabolic steroids, ketamine, and barbiturates
- Schedule IV: sanax, valium, and other stimulants and depressants
- Schedule V: over-the-counter medication that includes codeine
- Schedule VI: THC, hashish, and marijuana
Defending Against Drug Possession Charges in Morehead City
Drug possession charges are the most common type of drug charges pursued by North Carolina prosecutors. When most people think about drug possession charges, they assume that the police officers involved must have found the drugs on the suspect’s person. On the contrary, prosecutors can bring drug possession charges even if the suspect wasn’t in actual possession of the drugs.
Being an actual possession of the drugs means that the police officer who conducted the search found drugs in the suspect’s pockets, hands, purse, backpack, or elsewhere on the person’s physical body. In order to secure a conviction for actual possession, the prosecutor needs to prove that the suspect had actual knowledge that the drugs were in his presence and had the intent to control, use, or dispose of the drugs.
In addition to obtaining a conviction based on actual possession, prosecutors can show that the suspect was in constructive possession. constructive possession means that the defendant had the intent and ability to control the drugs, even if the drugs were not found on his or her person. For example, if the drugs were found in the suspect’s vehicle, office, or home, he or she may be convicted.
Additional Charges for Possession of Drug Paraphernalia
Prosecutors will frequently tack on charges for possession of drug paraphernalia when they are prosecuting a person for drug possession. The addition of drug paraphernalia charges can increase the severity of the penalties if you are convicted. Even if the object in question can be used for a legitimate purpose, a prosecutor may try to charge you with drug paraphernalia possession if they find the following items on your person or in your house, vehicle, or office:
- Pill bottles
- Rolling papers
Drug Trafficking Charges Carry Serious Penalties
Drug trafficking is a more serious charge than drug possession. Under North Carolina laws, it is illegal to transport, distribute, or possess large quantities of controlled substances. Prosecutors don’t always have to prove that you were actively transporting a controlled substance to convict you of drug trafficking. They may be able to convict you of drug trafficking based on the large number of controlled substances in your possession.
If you are convicted of drug trafficking, you face harsh penalties. Judges must impose mandatory minimum prison sentences. Depending on the type of controlled substances involved, you could be facing decades in prison, making drug trafficking one of the most serious types of drug crimes.
Defending First-Time Drug Offenders in Morehead City
If you’ve never been accused of a drug crime before, you may be inclined to ignore the charges against you, especially if they were for simple possession of a controlled substance. If you’ve been charged as a first-time drug offender, it’s essential that you take the charges against you seriously. Working with a skilled attorney can help you pursue probation or diversion programs.
However, these types of alternative programs aren’t always available. Attorney Joel Hancock can answer your questions and help you understand your legal options while pursuing the best outcome possible in your case.
Possible Defenses to Drug Crime Charges
There are several defenses to drug crime charges. When attorney Joel Hancock represents clients, he carefully examines the unique circumstances in each case. He will develop a defense strategy tailored to each client. When a client is charged with possession, he may be able to successfully argue that his client never intended or could possess and control the drugs and question.
When police officers violate a suspect’s Fifth Amendment protections against unlawful searches and seizures, the court cannot use the evidence gathered from the illegal search. In other cases, the crime lab may have made mistakes, or the chain of custody for the controlled substances may have been broken.
Contact Our Experienced Morehead City Drug Crimes Defense Attorney
If you’re facing drug charges in Morehead City, you aren’t alone. You can trust Joel Hancock of Hancock Law Firm to investigate your case and develop a compelling legal defense strategy while protecting your rights as a criminal defendant. Don’t hesitate to contact Hancock Law Firm to schedule a complimentary case evaluation.