Drug-related charges are a serious threat to the freedom, finances, and quality of life of anyone in North Carolina. The sentences one risks depend not only on the severity of the accusations (possession vs. traffic) but also on the quantity and type of drugs (marijuana vs. cocaine, a couple of grams vs. 1lb.). The best way to assess one’s situation and defense options is to review the laws in force and enlist the help of an experienced Charlotte drug defense attorney from Remington & Dixon. Based on the details of the case, the your attorney can propose and implement various defense strategies.
The First Step of Charlotte Drug Defense – North Carolina Cocaine Laws Overview
Cocaine possession, sale, or trafficking qualifies as a felony crime in most states, including North Carolina. Here, cocaine laws are part of the state’s General Statutes, namely Chapter 90, concerning Medicine and Allied Occupations, starting from section § 90- 86.
These laws sanction and punish cocaine-related crimes differently, depending on whether the charges refer to possession, sale, or trafficking, and, in case of the last two charges, on the receiver of the sold or trafficked cocaine. A separate review of each crime can help one figure out what charges and sentences you may be at risk for.
1. Cocaine Possession
The possessor of only a small amount of cocaine faces Class I felony charges and risks spending between 6 months and one year in jail. The higher the amount of cocaine is, the more serious the charges the possessor will face.
The NC cocaine laws referring to possession resemble those enforced in other states, except that no drug abatement programs are available for cocaine here, so the defendant cannot receive drug treatment instead of spending time in jail.
2. Cocaine Sale
North Carolina has strict laws when it comes to cocaine sales, so it takes an experienced and skilled Charlotte drug defense attorney to fight such charges. Selling only a small amount of cocaine qualifies as Class G felony. It can qualify as Class E felony if the buyer is under 16 years of age or a pregnant woman, or if the transaction takes place within 300 feet of school property.
3. Cocaine Traffic
Drug traffic charges in North Carolina involve the manufacturing or import and transportation of drugs, in this case, cocaine. The penalties one risks depend on the quantity of drugs:
- Trafficking quantities between 28 and 200g qualify as Class G felony and bring about penalties ranging between 35 and 51 months of jail time, as well as a fine of $50,000.
- Quantities from 200 to 400g lead to Class F felony, penalties between 70 and 93 months of jail time, and a fine of $100,000.
- Quantities exceeding 400g qualify as Class D felony, and bring about penalties of 175-222 months of jail time, and a fine of $250,000.
Preparing the Best Charlotte Drug Defense Strategy
The most important step of developing one’s defense strategy is consulting an experienced drug defense attorney. The experienced North Carolina drug defense attorneys at Remington & Dixon provide free case reviews, giving potential clients a chance to lay out their case and find out their options with no strings attached.
Honesty is key to the client-attorney relationship. The client should give the attorney all the case details to enable them to prepare their defense strategy. If the client lies, those lies may come out during the trial and cost both the defendant and the attorney their credibility.
Since the client-attorney relationship relies on confidentiality, there are no risk of your attorney to revealing your secrets, even if their collaboration ends prematurely. Moreover, knowing exactly how things occurred will help a license defense attorney find a way to present them in a better light.
The defense strategy usually depends on the specifics of the case and the strategy of the criminal prosecutor. Here are some of the tactics Charlotte drug defense attorneys employ:
- Proving that the defendant was not present at the scene of the crime by providing an alibi
- Suggesting that someone forced the defendant to commit the alleged crimes by threats or blackmailing
- Bringing witnesses to testify to the defendant’s goodwill and morals
- Proving that the cocaine found in possession of the defendant belonged to someone else
- Creating doubt by showing that someone else had more motives and the opportunity to commit the crimes the defendant is on trial for
- Gaining the court’s sympathy by showing regret and commitment to change for the better
- Showing that the defendant tried to avoid committing the crime and was victim of unfavorable circumstances
- Bringing the defendant on stand and letting one tell one’s side of the story
- Proving that the defendant was not fully aware of and responsible for one’s actions, as one was under the influence of drugs or alcohol, acted in a moment of craziness, or suffers from a condition that makes one incapable of distinguishing between right and wrong
- Admitting to some of the charges in exchange for a favorable deal with the prosecution (lesser sentence).
The list could continue, but the strategies do not apply to all cases. Even when they are suitable for a particular case, they require adaptation. The best solution to ensure an infallible defense strategy is to work with a seasoned attorney who can develop one starting from the particularities of your case.
Consult with a Charlotte Drug Defense Lawyer About Your Case
No matter the strategy adopted, any lawyer will confirm that it has to rely on the truth, on real, verifiable data. Its success will also depend on how well prepared the defendant is when appearing in court. It is up to the attorney to prepare the defendant for the trial, and identify and eliminate any inconsistencies in one’s testimony.
If you face cocaine possession, sale, or traffic charges in North Carolina, your best chance to fight them is to hire an experienced Remington & Dixon Charlotte, drug defense attorney. Contact us now by calling (704) 247-7110 or using the online form and let’s put together the defense strategy for your interests.
Brandon double-majored in Political Science and Criminal Justice at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. He earned his Juris Doctor from Barry University School of Law in Orlando, Florida. Throughout his career, Brandon has received numerous awards and recognition from his peers and agencies that rate attorneys. A few of these awards are from The National Trial Lawyers: Top 100 Trial Lawyer in 2014, The National Trial Lawyers: Top 40 Under 40 in 2014, Nation’s Top One Percent: National Association of Distinguished Counsel in 2015, Super Lawyers: Rising Stars in 2018 and 2019, and North Carolina Business Magazine: Legal Elite in 2019, among others.