The cold handcuffs grip your wrists like ice rings, only these rings won’t melt away on their own. Considering that you’ve just been taken into custody for drug trafficking, you need the help of a drug lawyer to save your reputation and your future.
Facing a drug trafficking charge can understandably be unsettling. After all, a drug conviction means time behind bars plus fines.
However, a drug lawyer can help you to defend your rights if you’ve been charged with trafficking or even if you’ve already been convicted but wish to appeal the conviction. We’ve compiled a guide on how a criminal lawyer can defend you in your drug trafficking case.
Let’s get started.
What is Drug Trafficking?
Laws on drug trafficking penalize the sale, transportation and import of illegal drugs, including methamphetamine, heroin, cocaine and marijuana. Prescription drugs, including sleeping pills or painkillers, are also covered under these laws.
Trafficking drugs is a felony crime, so it’s more serious than mere drug possession is.
Unfortunately, if police reportedly found you to be in possession of drugs, you may end up with a drug trafficking charge — not just a possession charge — if authorities believe that your intent was to sell these drugs.
Consequences of Drug Trafficking in North Carolina
Sentences for the trafficking of drugs in North Carolina vary depending on the drug and on the amount of drugs trafficked.
For example, in the case of cocaine, you may find yourself in prison for anywhere from around 35 months to around 18 years depending on how many grams of the drug you are found to have trafficked. In addition, your fine will range from $50,000 to $250,000.
In the case of a heroin conviction, your time behind bars may stretch from around six years to around 23 years depending on the trafficked gram amount. In addition, your fine amount may range from $50,000 to $500,000.
Meanwhile, if you are convicted on a marijuana trafficking charge, you can expect to spend around 25 months to around 18 years in prison depending on how many pounds you trafficked. In addition, your fine may range from $5,000 to $200,000.
Drug Lawyer Can Claim Insufficient Evidence
If you’ve been accused of drug trafficking, your best defense is to claim that the state’s evidence is insufficient.
After all, the state has the burden of proof in a drug trafficking case. In other words, the prosecutor has to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you trafficked drugs.
Because the burden of proof on the state is so high, a qualified drug lawyer can easily explore, exploit and focus on certain elements of the trafficking crime that the state cannot prove.
If the prosecution doesn’t have evidence for particular elements of the criminal activity, the lawyer can attack this, bringing it to the attention of the state.
The result? You may end up receiving a sentence reduction or even a complete dismissal in such a case.
Try to “Burn” the Confidential Informant
During the past decade, police officers have increasingly relied on confidential informants.
These are essentially snitches who work with authorities to help them to collect evidence against someone arrested on drug trafficking charges.
Police generally strive to keep these informants’ identities private. After all, that’s the only way they’ll be able to keep using them.
However, it is within your rights under the U.S. Constitution’s Sixth Amendment to confront your accuser.
What does that mean in your drug trafficking case?
It means your drug lawyer may be able to identify the informant, thus possibly “burning” the informant’s undercover nature. In this case, the attorney can perhaps leverage the situation to your benefit.
Who knows — the prosecutor might like his or her attorney so much that he or she will offer you a more personally favorable deal if you agree not to burn the confidential informant.
In some situations, juries are often aghast and offended at how unfair and horrible situations are when confidential informants are involved.
If this happens in your case, your drug lawyer can utilize this to generate sympathy for your case.
Challenge State’s Process for Procuring Evidence
Another way to defend yourself against a drug trafficking accusation is to take a close look at the state’s evidence-gathering process.
Maybe a law enforcement officer collected evidence by illegally or unreasonably searching your home without proper permission.
For instance, the officer had no probable cause to conduct the search. Or the officer failed to obtain a search warrant before searching your property.
Good news: Your criminal lawyer can challenge this evidence’s admissibility under the Constitution’s Fourth Amendment. If your lawyer is successful, the evidence will immediately be thrown out.
You can’t beat that.
Request a Change in Your Charge
With the right attorney, and if the situation is right, the state may decide to amend your drug trafficking charge.
If the state changes your charge to a lesser one before your case is resolved, then the lesser charge is the one that carries the penalties you must face.
For instance, maybe you have been charged with trafficking drugs when your charge should really be for possessing drugs.
With proper negotiation, a lawyer can get the prosecutor to reduce your trafficking charge to a charge of simple possession. And that’s a big deal.
After all, with the latter, you may end up with nothing more than probation versus a minimum prison sentence of three years. That means you get to keep your freedom and protect your ability to claim jobs in the future.
This is exactly why plea negotiations can be so invaluable.
Choose a drug lawyer who has solid experience with both negotiation and trial. This will ensure that you can receive the best defense in your drug trafficking case.
How We Can Help
We are your premier criminal law firm, with more than 25 years’ worth of experience defending individuals in North Carolina.
If you are facing drug trafficking charges, we will fight for the best outcome for you considering the facts of your case.
Contact us to find out how we can help you to preserve your rights and your freedom.