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 and other felony or misdemeanor criminal charges in North Carolina. You need the help of a Board Certified Criminal Law Specialist in Raleigh NC and someone experienced handling allegations of criminal charges including:
- Possession Charges
- Sale and Delivery of Controlled Substances
- PWISD Possession with Intent to Sell or Delivery Charges
- Possession of Drug Paraphernalia
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.
What is Drug Trafficking in North Carolina?
The NC Criminal Laws (N.C.G.S. Chapter 14: Criminal 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. Allegations of Drug Trafficking in North Carolina may involve Federal Court or State Court violations. Under the NC drug laws, “drug trafficking” is not predicated on intent. In determining guilt vs. innocence, the “finder of fact” is concerned with the amount of the drugs at issue. That may involve dosage units and weights, determining on the type of controlled substance. That’s true for both lawfully prescribed medications and illegal drugs.
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.
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 been “trafficking in NC.” 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: The Snitch
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 in North Carolina?
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 – Search Warrants in North Carolina
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.
Plea Negotiations and Drug Charges in North Carolina
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.
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 substantial experience with both negotiation and jury trials in North Carolina. Criminal Defense Lawyer John Fanney is available for legal representation for drug trafficking charges.
How We Can Help with Criminal Charges, Felony or Misdemeanor
We are your Raleigh criminal law firm in Wake County NC, with more than 30 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.