Being caught with an illegal substance in your possession or even the tools to use or manufacture such a substance can result in a drug charge against you. This has the potential to impact your life in many ways if you are convicted.
How Charges Impact You
How you are charged and sentenced depends on several factors. One of them is what kind of drug is in your possession. Drugs are labeled by schedules based on how addictive they are.
- Schedule I – drugs that are deemed to be the most addictive and dangerous. They often have no medical use and may include substances such as heroin and LSD.
- Schedule II – drugs with a high risk of addiction, but they may have medical use like opium and amphetamines
- Schedule III – less dangerous but have a risk of abuse and include some depressants and steroids
- Schedule IV – slight risk of dependency and are usually prescribed for medical conditions, includes Xanax, sedatives and more
- Schedule V – low risk for addiction and include medications like Tylenol
- Schedule VI – almost no recognized medical use and low risk for dependency, includes marijuana
A person with a Schedule I drug will usually receive a harsher punishment than someone with a Schedule III drug. It’s important to note that someone possessing a Schedule III drug with no prescription can be charged with a drug offense.
In addition to possession of an illegal substance, a person can be charged with one or more other offenses related to drugs.
- Possession with Intent to Distribute
- Drug Trafficking
- Possession of Precursor Chemicals (or the chemicals used to make the drug)
- Possession of Drug Paraphernalia
- Manufacturing Marijuana or other controlled or illegal substance
- Maintaining a Dwelling or Vehicle (for the purpose of manufacturing or distributing controlled substances)
These charges can range from a misdemeanor to a felony with major consequences.
Penalties for Drug Offenses
Possession of a Schedule I substance can be either a misdemeanor or a felony based on the amount in possession. Even a first offense can result in jail time of up to one year in jail. North Carolina has some of the toughest laws in the country against drug possession. While Schedule II – IV are usually misdemeanors, they may also carry jail time up to 30 days or even longer, depending on the schedule and amount.
For other drug-related charges, the penalties can be even steeper. The person convicted may face years in prison or steep fines – or both.
The Impact of a Drug-related Conviction
If convicted for a drug offense, it can impact your life in many ways. First, you will have to face the penalty the court chooses to hand down. This may include jail time, which means you will likely lose your job and maybe even your place of residence. Your family will be impacted as well because you will no longer be able to earn money to pay the bills.
You will also have a criminal charge on your record that future employers and landlords can find out about, making it more difficult to find a job or place to live. You may be excluded from various other situations based on your record, including volunteering with organizations.
If you are charged and convicted for a more serious drug offense, you can spend years in prison, losing valuable time in your life. You may lose out on the chance to watch your kids grow up and have a normal life. Even lesser drug charges can affect your life in negative ways. Never take a drug offense lightly or think you can handle it on your own.
Getting Legal Help
If you have been charged with a drug offense in North Carolina, you need to find an experienced attorney with a record of handling these types of charges. An attorney will review your case to determine if any evidence was obtained illegally or if any other laws were broken. They will fight to prove your innocence as hard as they can.
In other situations, an attorney may advise you to ask for a deal. They will negotiate on your behalf to obtain a lesser charge, which carries less jail time or possibly, none at all. You may be fortunate enough to obtain probation so that you can go on with your life.
First-time offenders can often receive reduced sentences or lesser penalties, especially if you are able to prove that you have learned your lesson. For instance, a judge may agree to drug rehabilitation treatment instead of jail time.
Choosing the Right Attorney
The Fanney Law Office, PLLC provides defense services for anyone with a drug offense. John has handled nearly every form of a misdemeanor and felony drug offense in his over twenty years of practice. He has represented and counseled numerous clients who have been charged with Possession of Drugs, PWISD Drugs, Drug Trafficking, Possession of Precursor Chemicals, Maintaining a Dwelling or Vehicle, Possession of Drug Paraphernalia, Manufacturing Marijuana or other Controlled Substances.
John is familiar with the law and procedure surrounding these cases. He will investigate issues such as how the authorities came to find the drugs for which you have been charged and, if available, will employ a strong, legal defense to your charges. John will evaluate all of the potential issues in your case and give you a straightforward analysis of your options.
Many drug offenses are resolved by substance abuse treatment or other options which could lead to a dismissal of your charges. Every case is different and outcomes can vary, but you can depend on John’s efforts to help you make the best decision for the outcome of your legal problem. Whether you agree with current drug laws or not, our federal, state and local governments invest tremendous amounts of resources to prosecute all types of drug offenses. You need to make an investment in a lawyer like John who will care about your situation and employ his significant experience to best help you.
When you are charged with one of these offenses, contact John and let him put his experience to work for you in defending you against these charges.