A Raleigh Drug Lawyer can Help with Misdemeanor and Felony Drug Charges
The potential punishment a person faces for drug crimes in North Carolina depends on the type and amount of drug involved in the arrest. Drug crimes under North Carolina law range from misdemeanor possession of drug paraphernalia or possession of marijuana to felony possession of “hard” drugs, possession with intent to sell and deliver (PWISD), and trafficking in illicit drugs like heroin or cocaine.
Regardless of the drug charge you face, a conviction would be costly and can hold you back in life for years to come. It is a mistake to plead guilty to even a misdemeanor drug offense without first talking to a lawyer, and it is a bigger mistake to face drug charges on your own.
Raleigh Drug Crime Defense Lawyers
At Kurtz & Blum, PLLC, our Raleigh drug crime defense lawyers will sit down with you to review the charges against you and candidly explain what to expect in your case. Our collaborative team of highly skilled attorneys will discuss your case together to develop defense strategies that have considered every angle.
If you or a loved one has been arrested and accused of drug possession, distribution, or trafficking in Raleigh, Wake County, or elsewhere in North Carolina, contact us today to learn how we can help. Our law firm provides free initial consultations in which we can answer all your questions and talk through your options.
Potential Defenses Against Drug Crimes in North Carolina
Regardless of the charges against you, the state must prove each element of the crime(s) it alleges to win a conviction. Our seasoned Raleigh drug crime defense attorneys will thoroughly examine and challenge the state’s evidence and theory of the case.
In some cases, drug charges are dropped or dismissed due to improper arrest, such as a lack of probable cause to stop you or your vehicle, illegal search and seizure, or failure to advise of Miranda rights after you were detained.
If a case goes forward, a few of the facts we may dispute include:
- Possession of the drugs in question. Were they found on you? Were they found on or in property (a home, vehicle, or public place) that belonged to someone else? Were the alleged drugs in your control when found?
- Intent to sell and deliver. Was a more serious charge applied incorrectly because a large amount of cash, sandwich bags, a household scale, or other common household items were present where you were arrested?
- The authenticity of the alleged drugs and/or their amount. We may be able to challenge testing equipment or personnel used to authenticate the substances or their weight/amount used to charge you.
- The chain of custody for the drugs and/or paraphernalia presented as evidence. Can the state show that the evidence being presented is what was actually confiscated at the time of your arrest? Has the prosecution documented a proper chain of custody from police through testing, storage, and presentation in court?
- The reliability of witnesses. Are there problems with how you were initially identified to police? If by informant, is that witness reliable? If in a suspect lineup, were proper protocols followed?
As your attorneys, we will likely have several opportunities to fight for drug charges against you to be reduced or dropped. When appropriate, we will discuss with you whether accepting a plea deal or going to trial would be in your best interest. Regardless of the circumstances of your case, our Raleigh drug crime defense lawyers will fight aggressively for the most favorable outcome possible for you.
Types of Drug Crime Cases We Handle
At Kurtz & Blum, our drug crime defense attorneys have successfully fought all types of charges in North Carolina, including cases involving marijuana, cocaine, heroin, ecstasy, methamphetamine, etc.
North Carolina law makes it illegal to possess, manufacture, sell or deliver, or possess with intent to manufacture, sell or deliver, a “controlled substance” or counterfeit controlled substance. As such, there are several types of drug crimes a person may be charged with.
Our law firm has extensive experience handling cases involving charges of:
- Drug possession
- Intent to sell/distribute controlled substances
- Sale and delivery of narcotics/drugs
- Manufacturing controlled substances
You have the right to be presumed innocent of any drug crime unless the state can prove its charges. Our legal team can thoroughly investigate and challenge the charges you face and the evidence against you. If the state has a strong case, we will work hard to either prevent a drug crime conviction or, if need be, prevent the more serious consequences of jail or prison time.
Being arrested on drug charges is for most an intimidating, if not terrifying, situation. It requires prompt and qualified legal assistance from a knowledgeable criminal defense attorney. Our team can thoroughly explain the charges you face and the potential consequences in a free initial consultation with you. We can also advise you of a potential defense against the charges you face. Contact us today.
Schedules of Drugs in North Carolina
“Controlled substance” is the legal term for numerous illicit drugs, which North Carolina categorizes in a system of schedules according to their danger and/or addictive qualities and potential for abuse:
- Schedule I — heroin, LSD, ecstasy, GHB, methaqualone, peyote, opiates, etc.
- Schedule II — cocaine, raw opium, opium extracts, codeine, hydrocodone, morphine, methadone, methamphetamine, Ritalin, etc.
- Schedule III — ketamine, anabolic steroids, some barbiturates, etc.
- Schedule IV — Valium, Xanax, Rohypnol, Darvon, clonazepam, barbital, etc.
- Schedule V — over-the-counter cough medicines with codeine, and similar products
- Schedule VI — marijuana, hashish, hashish oil
It is also illegal to possess an “immediate precursor chemical” used to manufacture drugs, such as methamphetamine (“meth”).
Punishments for Drug Crime Convictions in North Carolina
Generally, North Carolina law provides for the following charges and punishment on a first offense for possession and distribution (sale) of controlled substances:
- Misdemeanor Possession of Marijuana (Schedule VI Drugs). This is a Class 3 misdemeanor or, if the amount of marijuana exceeds half an ounce but is less than 1.5 ounces, a Class 1 misdemeanor. A Class 3 misdemeanor is punishable by up to 30 days in jail. A Class 1 misdemeanor is punishable by 6 months to 2 years in jail.
- Misdemeanor Possession of Drug Paraphernalia. This can be anything used to grow, make, use, test, sell, or transport illegal drugs. Typically, it refers to smoking pipes (“bowls,” “bongs,” hookahs), scales, syringes, large quantities of baggies or pill bottles, grow lights, etc. It is a Class 1 misdemeanor punishable by 6 months to 2 years in jail.
- Misdemeanor Possession of Schedule V Drugs. This is a Class 2 misdemeanor punishable by more than 30 days and up to 6 months in jail.
- Misdemeanor Possession of Schedule II, Schedule III, or Schedule IV Drugs. This is a Class 1 misdemeanor punishable by 6 months to 2 years in jail.
- Felony Possession of Marijuana. Possession of 1.5 ounces or more of marijuana is a Class I felony punishable by a presumptive sentence of 4 to 6 months in jail.
- Possession of a Schedule I Drug. This is a Class I felony punishable by a presumptive sentence of 4 to 6 months in jail.
- Sale of Schedule I or Schedule II Drugs.This is a Class G felony punishable by a presumptive sentence of 10 to 13 months in jail.
- Sale of Schedule III, Schedule IV, Schedule V, or Schedule VI Drugs. This is a Class H felony punishable by a presumptive sentence of 5 to 6 months in jail.
- Possession with Intent to Sell and Deliver (PWISD) Schedule III through Schedule VI drugs. This is a Class I felony punishable by a presumptive sentence of 4 to 6 months in jail.
- Possession with Intent to Sell and Deliver (PWISD) or Sale of a Counterfeit Drug. This is a Class I felony punishable by a presumptive sentence of 4 to 6 months in jail.
- Manufacture of Methamphetamine (meth). This is a Class C felony punishable by a presumptive sentence of 58 to 73 months (4.8 to 6 years) in prison, unless the manufacture of meth merely involved packaging or labeling, which is a Class H felony punishable by a presumptive sentence of 5 to 6 months in jail.
Punishments for Drug Trafficking in North Carolina
Drug trafficking, which may be charged for large-scale possession, transportation, or sale of a controlled substance, is punished more harshly. North Carolina law provides for mandatory minimum jail sentences for drug trafficking, with three or four levels of punishment for individual drugs, which increase according to the amount (by weight or dosage units) cited in the charges.
Minimum amounts required for a drug trafficking charge and the punishment available include:
- Marijuana: 10 to 50 pounds = 25 to 30 months in prison
- Methaqualone: 1,000 to 5,000 doses = 35 to 42 months in prison
- Cocaine (Crack or Powder): 28 grams (28.349 grams in an ounce) to 200 grams = 35 to 42 months in prison
- Heroin or Opium: 4 to 14 grams = 70 to 84 months in prison
- LSD: 100 to 500 doses = 35 to 42 months in prison
- MDMA: 100 to 500 doses = 35 to 42 months in prison
After an arrest on charges of drug crimes in North Carolina, what happens next can have a serious impact on your future. You should face drug charges of any kind with the assistance of a knowledgeable and understanding criminal defense lawyer who can walk you through what to expect and fight fiercely for you.
Contact Our Raleigh Drug Crime Defense Attorneys Now
The experienced legal team at Kurtz & Blum can answer any questions you have about building a strong defense against drug charges. Schedule a free, no-obligation initial consultation today. Call (919) 832-7700 for an honest assessment of your case.
Our North Carolina criminal defense law firm serves clients throughout Wake County, North Carolina. We frequently work with clients in Apex, Wake Forest, Raleigh, Rolesville, New Hope, Cary, Holly Springs, Garner, Zebulon, Knightdale, Wendell, Morrisville, and Fuquay-Varina. Our team will also travel anywhere in the state to help clients who are facing serious felony charges.