You may use recreational drugs occasionally, know that you have a problem with drug abuse, or may simply have been mistakenly accused of illegal drug possession or another drug crime that you did not commit. Regardless of your personal situation, being arrested for drug crimes is distressing, and in many cases frightening, particularly if you are aware of all the possible consequences of a conviction.
If you are charged with a drug crime, even a fairly minor one, you may pay a high price in terms of your future. This is why it’s so important, as soon as you find yourself in legal jeopardy, to contact an aggressive, experienced criminal defense attorney to protect your rights. If you live in Carteret County or adjacent areas of eastern North Carolina, Hancock Law Firm is the place to call. Thousands of clients have benefited from heeding our advice: “Call Hancock.”
It’s necessary to differentiate types of drugs as they are classified by the government so that you understand why the penalties for possessing, using, or distributing some drugs are so much harsher than others. The medical profession distinguishes drugs on the basis of their effects on the body — stimulants, depressants, hallucinogens, antidepressants, and opioids. The state, however, classifies drugs relative to acceptable medical use, how easily an individual can become physically addicted or emotionally dependent on them, and how likely they are to be abused. The categories established by the legal system are known as “Schedules,” and range from Schedule I (the most dangerous) to Schedule VI (the least risky).
- Schedule I — including heroin, ecstasy, peyote and opiates
- Schedule II — including cocaine, opium, morphine, codeine and methadone
- Schedule III — including ketamine, anabolic steroids, and barbiturates
- Schedule IV — including valium, Xanax, darvon, barbital
- Schedule V — including over-the-counter cough medicine with codeine
- Schedule VI — including marijuana, hashish, hashish oil
Possession of illegal drugs or controlled substances for any use (except when medically prescribed) is a crime in North Carolina. The charges against you will depend on the type of drug in your possession as well as the quantity of that drug you possess. For example, possessing any quantity of heroin is considered a felony, but possessing under 1.5 ounces of marijuana is considered a misdemeanor.
You should note that law enforcement can assume “constructive possession” even if the drug is found not on your person but in a place you own or to which you have easy access, such as under the seat of your car, in your dresser drawer or in your laundry basket. If you possess drug paraphernalia, depending on the particular circumstances and the combination of items you possess, you may also be charged with a crime.
Items That May Be Considered Drug Paraphernalia
A great many items may make police suspicious of drug use, distribution, or trafficking, even though some may be in your possession for a legitimate reason. These items include:
- Rolling papers
- Pill bottles
- Bowls and bongs
- Roach clips
- Marijuana plants and cultivation equipment
In many cases, it is the combination of drug-related items that will precipitate charges against you. Large amounts of cash may also make law enforcers suspect drug sales.
When Drug Possession Becomes More Serious
The law assumes that if you possess over a certain amount of an illegal substance you intend to distribute and probably sell it and charges you accordingly. Drug trafficking often involves a higher volume of drugs and carries very serious penalties. Drug trafficking is typically investigated through surveillance and undercover operations with confidential informants.
Drug Arrests and Their Consequences
Don’t make the dangerous mistake of believing that minor drug charges can be handled without a skilled attorney. Even misdemeanor drug crimes are frequently punished with jail time or intensive probation which significantly interrupts your freedom and can derail your life. Drugs that may be legally possessed with a valid prescription can, when illegally possessed, lead to felony convictions punishable by expensive fines and years in prison. If you are charged with drug possession, drug distribution. possessing drug paraphernalia, drug trafficking, drug cultivating or drug manufacturing, you need the help of a skilled and experienced local criminal defense attorney like Joel Hancock.
What May Make Your Situation Worse
There are a number of circumstances that may exacerbate your case and make extricating you from your legal problems all the more difficult. These include:
- Distribution of illegal drugs to minors (or in the vicinity of a school)
- Bringing illegal drugs into the country
- Possessing paraphernalia for large scale cultivation or manufacture of illegal drugs
If any of these circumstances pertain to you, your need for a sharp, knowledgeable drug defense attorney is even more critical. Remember, depending on the specific charges made against you, your potential punishment may range from probation to a mandatory prison sentence of nearly 20 years, even if you are a first-time offender. Joel Hancock is here to protect you from serious legal peril.
Possible Defenses for Drug Crimes
Joel Hancock is well-prepared to extricate you from your legal troubles. His track record of success means that he will provide you the best possible chance of either a dismissal of all charges, a negotiated plea bargain to lesser charges, or a not guilty verdict at trial. By listening carefully to the details of your case, examining all police records and interviewing witnesses, he will arrive at the best tactical defense which may be that you were:
- Under the age of 16 and thus too young to be considered criminally liable
- Unaware that you were in possession of illegal drugs (perhaps they were planted on you)
- Illegally targeted (profiled) because of your race, sexual orientation, religion or ethnicity
- Arrested and questioned with procedural errors (e.g. without being Mirandized)
- Victimized by unlawful search and seizure
- Victimized by police brutality
- In possession of a harmless substance that police mistook for an illegal substance
- In possession a legally prescribed medication
- Arrested but the police have lost, mislabeled or contaminated the confiscated evidence
Contact Our Carteret County Drug Crimes Attorney!
Joel Hancock knows the drug crime law and will get to know your case inside and out in order to work up a strategy that will protect your finances, your freedom, and your future.
Being convicted, or even accused, of a drug crime can be a slippery slope with unexpectedly serious consequences. On top of the potential for heavy fines and long-term incarceration you face at present, you and your family may be at risk down the line. Your future employment and educational opportunities may be restricted; you may be ineligible for licenses you need; you may even find your conviction affecting your family relationships, especially if you are divorced. This is why it is crucial to avail yourself of the services of the experienced drug crimes defense attorney at Hancock Law Firm. Don’t wait to Call Hancock. Be proactive. Get the help you need now. Contact us today for a FREE consultation!