Any drug possession arrest, no matter the severity of the charges, is a scary experience. If your arrest involves a felony charge, it could mean a lifetime of repercussions. What you do in the hours and days following your arrest are some of the most important decisions you will ever make. You must understand how serious your situation is and do whatever you can to protect your rights and reduce the impact of your circumstances.
A felony drug conviction will bring about a lifetime of change. Unfortunately, too many people assume a drug arrest is no big deal. They fail to take their situation seriously, maybe because a friend had a drug charge that seemed minor or because they know laws and attitudes toward drugs are changing.
In some cases, minor drug infractions might not be a big deal, but if a crime qualifies as a felony, it’s a whole new ballgame. Felony drug charges often mean prison time, hefty fines, and a change in how you are viewed in the community.
What Should I Know If I’m Facing Felony Drug Charges?
If you were caught in possession of drugs or law enforcement has any reason to believe you were involved in a drug crime, your life is about to change forever. You’ll have multiple court appearances and face a variety of tough decisions. It’s easy to get overwhelmed and wonder how you’ll ever get back on track.
Working with an attorney who is familiar with drug possession charges is one of the most important decisions you can make. You need someone who not only understands the law, but who is willing to thoroughly investigate your arrest and help you build the strongest case in your favor. Often the best defense is to have the charges against you reduced – a strategy that can be especially beneficial when you’re facing felony criminal charges. Working with someone who can help you develop a strong defense can mean the difference between significant time in jail and a life that is fairly similar to the one you have been living up to this point.
Understanding North Carolina Drug Laws
Drug laws vary from state to state, and these laws affect how you are charged after your arrest. Much of it depends on the drug found in your possession and the amount of that drug you have. North Carolina’s laws are built on the federal government’s classification of drug schedules, which are as follows:
- Schedule I drugs include the most dangerous drugs. They carry a high risk for addiction and include drugs such as ecstasy, mescaline, heroin, and LSD.
- Schedule II drugs are still high risk, but might also have medical uses. For instance, cocaine, opium, methadone, methamphetamines, and amphetamines are included in this category.
- Schedule III drugs are slightly less dangerous, but carry an abuse risk. This category includes testosterone, anabolic steroids, ketamine, and some depressants.
- Schedule IV drugs have a slight risk for addiction and include a majority or prescription drugs such as sedatives and tranquilizers, as well as drugs like valium and Xanax.
- Schedule V drugs have only a very low risk of addiction and include things like Tylenol with Codeine.
- Schedule VI drugs have a low risk for addiction, but also have no medical use.
What Penalties Could I Face for Drug Possession?
Penalties for drug possession charge vary based on the schedule of drugs listed above. First-time offenders could spend up to a year in prison, as well as hefty fines and required attendance in a drug treatment program.
If law enforcement finds you with enough drugs to charge you with more than just possession you can face additional penalties. And if you are a not a first-time offender, you will likely face stiffer penalties. The bottom line is you need an attorney who can help you determine your best course of action based on your specific circumstances.
Is It Possible to Beat a Felony Drug Possession Charge?
Some people reason they will hire an attorney to help them if it’s possible to beat their charges completely. Otherwise, they’ll just “pay the piper” for what they’ve done. Whether or not you think it’s possible to have the charges against you dropped, it’s important to hire an experienced lawyer.
In some cases, it is possible to beat a drug possession charge. An attorney can file motions to suppress evidence against you if they believe it was recovered illegally or tainted in some other way. If law enforcement’s search was illegal, anything found could not be used in the case against you. Whenever there are errors in police procedure, an attorney can argue in your favor and potentially have the charges dropped altogether.
If the search conducted by law enforcement was illegal and there is a solid case against you, it might be possible for your attorney to negotiate a deal. There are instances in which charges against you can be reduced, which means you will face lesser penalties and whatever crime you committed will have less of an impact on your life. Only an experienced attorney will be able to use these strategies in your favor and make a bad situation a bit better for you.
Despite the fear and concern you have over a felony drug possession charge, the judicial system is often willing to negotiate with you. Negotiation is especially possible when you are working with an attorney who understands the system and stands ready to work on your behalf to ensure you are treated fairly and that your rights are not violated. The only way to ensure you get the best possible outcome in this difficult situation is to hire an experienced drug crimes lawyer.
If you would like more information about dealing with a felony drug charge or you need to schedule a consultation with an attorney who understands the legal system and can help you navigate through it, contact Remington & Dixon, PLLC, at 704.247.7110.
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.