Asheville Drug Defense Attorney

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Asheville Drug Defense Lawyer

Have you been charged with a drug-related crime? If so, every second matters as a drug conviction can lead to life-changing ramifications. Drug crimes are taken very seriously in North Carolina and if you are convicted, you could face prison time and steep fines.

You shouldn’t face drug charges alone. If you’ve been arrested or suspect you’re being investigated over any drug violation, you need to consult with a criminal defense lawyer in Asheville, NC right away to protect your rights and freedom.

At Doug Edwards Law, our Asheville drug defense attorneys are well-versed in laws pertaining to controlled substances in North Carolina and will vigorously fight for your freedom. We will evaluate the charges brought against you and give you an honest opinion on the possible case outcome. Our skilled legal team will develop a unique and aggressive defense strategy that takes every angle of the case into account.

If you, or somebody close to you, have been apprehended and are being charged with drug trafficking, distribution, or possession in Asheville, NC, please call us at (828) 702-8743 today to book an appointment to find out how we can assist. We offer a free, no-obligation initial consultation where we discuss all your viable options.

Table of Contents

Types of Drug Crimes

Although any drug crime can put your future at risk, there are different kinds of drug offenses an individual can be charged with in North Carolina. Our Asheville drug defense attorneys at Doug Edwards Law have expansive experience dealing with the following types of drug charges.

  • Possession
  • Possession with Intent to Distribute
  • Drug Trafficking
  • Prescription Fraud
  • Cultivation / Manufacturing
  • Transportation
  • Sales

Non-compliance with these laws can result in considerable jail time and fines, which can rise, depending on the quantity you’ve been caught with and other extenuating factors. Remember the Constitution awards you the right to be presumed innocent of any drug offense until the state proves its charges.

Even when the drug offense is a misdemeanor, you will be doing yourself a tremendous injustice by pleading guilty without speaking to a lawyer.

If the case against you is weak or evidence was improperly obtained, we will fight for a dismissal or a not guilty verdict. If the state has a strong case against you, we can work closely with the prosecutor and District Attorney’s office to secure a plea bargain that may reduce the penalties.

For many people, being charged with a drug offense is a daunting and scary situation. You need and deserve responsive and effective legal aid from a skilled criminal defense lawyer. Our legal team at Doug Edwards Law can comprehensively clarify the charges brought against you and the likely ramifications in the initial consultation.

Drugs & DUI

North Carolina is among the many states that have put a strict emphasis on assertively implementing drug DWI laws by levying stringent penalties for drivers found guilty of this crime. Even 1st-time offenders in North Carolina face significant penalties if convicted.

Getting behind the wheel while under the influence of an intoxicating (impairing) substance is illegal. Drug impairment is dissimilar to alcohol impairment because it can’t be easily detected using a breathalyzer or roadside examinations.

Thus, establishing impairment is possible using chemical testing, and exams conducted by a Drug Recognition Expert (DRE). If the results show that these controlled substances impaired the ability of the motorist to drive, a person may be sentenced for DWI. Common substances that are often at the center of drug DWI cases include marijuana, cocaine, methamphetamine, heroin, and LSD.

State statutes expansively define impairing substances, such that several medications and prescription drugs have their own definition. Nevertheless, particular prescription drugs can be classified as impairing substances and are entirely contingent on the effect on an individual.

In order to prove that someone is driving under the influence of an impairing substance other than alcohol, the State must prove that the driver was “appreciably impaired.” North Carolina case law has defined “appreciable” as, noticeable, recognizable, or capable of being perceived.

Law enforcement officers and prosecutors will attempt to prove that a driver is appreciably impaired by putting on evidence that the driver was noticeably impaired, to the degree that they could not safely operate a vehicle.

Drug DWI Penalties

Depending on the setting of the arrest, a drug DWI can be categorized as either a felony or misdemeanor. Misdemeanors are classified by ‘levels’ that the presiding judge will establish depending on variables such as previous offenses, chemical test results, driving record, and other pertinent information affiliated with your DWI.

The lowest level DWI charge, which is categorized as a level 5 misdemeanor, is penalized by a fine of up to $200 and at least 24 hours of jail time. The highest-level misdemeanor DWI charge, level A1 misdemeanor, is penalized by a fine of up to $10,000 and at least a 120 -day jail sentence

Felony DWIs have much harsher penalties. Individuals who pick up this status are habitual offenders and motorists who’ve accrued 3 previous alcohol or drug DWI convictions within the past 10 years.

As you can see, drug DWI charges in North Carolina are taken very seriously. That’s why you should act fast and hire a qualified Asheville drug defense attorney proficient in the North Carolina DWI laws and regulations.

Call us now at (828) 622-5147 for a free consultation.

Penalties for Drug Crimes in NC

Federal and State regulations govern the manufacture, supply, and possession of controlled drugs. They include both prescription drugs and illegal substances (like marijuana, methamphetamine, cocaine, and heroin). In North Carolina, these controlled substances are typically classified into six schedules.

Here are the punishments and charges for the possession or sale of controlled substances in North Carolina:

Drug Trafficking in North Carolina

Drug trafficking in North Carolina is the most serious drug offense under North Carolina law. North Carolina drug trafficking laws prohibit the sale, manufacture, transport, delivery, or possession of certain amounts of controlled substances. These substances include cocaine, heroin, fentanyl, methamphetamine, and marijuana.

In order to prove drug trafficking by sale, delivery and/or transport the State must be able to prove the following:

  • That the defendant knowingly sold or delivered the substance at issue, including marijuana, cocaine, amphetamine or any mixture containing amphetamine, methamphetamine, or any mixture containing methamphetamine, opium, heroin, or others.
  • That the defendant knowingly transported one or more of the substances listed above.
  • That the amount of the specific controlled substance which the defendant sold, delivered, or transported was at or above the statutorily prohibited amount.

Drug Trafficking convictions carry mandatory minimum punishments. These punishments can range from 25 months mandatory to 282 months in prison.

Possession of Marijuana

The charges you are facing as a result of possessing marijuana are determined by the quantity possessed. Possession of 0.5 ounces or less is a Class 3 misdemeanor. This offense is punishable by up to 20 days in jail, and a $200 fine. It is rare that a conviction for this offense be punished by jail time.

Possession of any amount between more than 0.5 but less than 1.5 ounces, you may be charged with a Class 1 misdemeanor. A Class 1 misdemeanor can carry a maximum punishment of 120 days in jail and fines of up to $1,000.

If you are found to be in possession of more than 1.5 ounces of marijuana, you may face a felony charge. This is a Class I felony, which carries a maximum of 12 months in prison.

Misdemeanor Possession of Drug Paraphernalia

Drug paraphernalia refers to any apparatus that can be utilized to transport, sell, test, use, make, or grow illegal drugs. It generally encompasses smoking pipes (hookahs, bongs, bowls) syringes, scales, grow lighting, pill bottles, etc.

If the paraphernalia is used for purposes of consuming marijuana, it is a Class 3 misdemeanor and carries 20 days in jail, and a fine of up to $200. If the paraphernalia is used for any other substance it is categorized as a Class 1 misdemeanor, and the punishment is up to 120 days behind bars.

Misdemeanor Possession of Schedule V Drugs

This misdemeanor is Class II and serves a jail term of up to 60 days.

Misdemeanor Possession of Schedule IV, Schedule III, or Schedule II Drugs

This misdemeanor is Class 1 and carries a jail term of up to 120 days.

Possession of a Schedule I Drug

This is categorized as a Class I felony and carries a maximum sentence of up to 24 months in prison.

Sale of Schedule I or Schedule II Drugs

This felony is categorized as Class G and carries a maximum sentence of up to 47 months in prison.

Distribution of Schedule III, IV, V, or VI Drugs

This felony is categorized as Class H and is punishable by up to 39 months behind bars.

Manufacture of Methamphetamine (Meth)

Manufacturing methamphetamine is a felony and is classified as a Class C felony offense. This offense carries a maximum prison term of up to 231 months. If the production of meth entailed labeling or packaging, the offense is a Class H felony and carries a maximum prison term of up to 39 months.

Possession With Intent to Sell or Deliver or Distribution of a Counterfeit Drug

This felony is Class I and serves a punishment period of up to 24 months behind bars.

Possession With Intent to Sell or Deliver Schedule III through Schedule VI drugs

This felony is Class I and carries a maximum possible punishment of up to 24 months behind bars.

Misdemeanor vs. Felony Drug Charge in North Carolina

There are several factors that determine whether a drug offense is a misdemeanor or felony in North Carolina. These factors include what type of substance is at issue, the amount of the substance, how the substances are packaged, and what the intentions of the person found with the substances are.

Possession of controlled substances may be either a misdemeanor or a felony. However, if you possess with intent to sell or distribute, or are accused of trafficking in controlled substances, you will face felony charges.

The punishment for drug-related offenses in North Carolina is contingent on the quantity and schedule of the illegal substance.

Even a misdemeanor drug offense in North Carolina could have significant repercussions on your life and that of your loved ones. The penalties are even more serious if the drug offense is classified as a felony. It is important that you get proper legal advice no matter the drug charge you may be facing. Whether or not you seek legal counsel for the drug charge you’re facing could directly affect the results of the case.

Possession: Actual vs Constructive

In order to be convicted of a crime involving the possession of drugs, the State must prove that you possessed the substance. Possession of a controlled drug substance in North Carolina can either be constructive or actual.

Actual possession applies when a drug is found on the person, typically either in their clothing or on the body of a person. Constructive possessions apply when the controlled substances are located near the person or in a place that’s easily accessible. Possession is one of the elements of these types of charges, so it is imperative that the facts are closely reviewed to determine defense strategies.

North Carolina courts have stated that a defendant has actual possession of contraband if it is on his or her person, the defendant is aware of its presence, and either alone or with others has the power to control its disposition or use.

Constructive possession exists when the defendant, while not having actual possession, has the intent and capability to maintain control and dominion over the contraband. The defendant may have the power to control the substance either alone or jointly with others.

In many cases, the defendant does not have exclusive control or possession of where the contraband was found. If this is the case, the State must show other incriminating circumstances that are sufficient to show constructive possession. This may include documents, paraphernalia, or other evidence that links the defendant to the location where the contraband was found.

Possession, whether actual or constructive, is one fact that needs to be closely examined in every drug case.

Can I Have a Drug Conviction Expunged in North Carolina?

Depending on the specific circumstances and time that has passed since your conviction, you may be eligible to have a drug conviction expunged in North Carolina. You may also be mandated to undertake and successfully finish the NCGS 90-96 program. If you complete the 90-96 program, the case will be dismissed, and you will be eligible to have the charges expunged from your record.

Possible Defenses in Drug Crimes Cases

The following are some possible defenses against drug crime charges.

Defendant Can Show That Police Didn’t Have Probable Cause or Consent to Search Your Home, Vehicle, or Person

We will review whether your 4th amendment rights were infringed at the time of the search. If the police did not have probable cause, consent, or an exception to the search warrant requirement, then the search may be unconstitutional. If a search is determined to be unconstitutional after a hearing before a judge, the evidence obtained will be suppressed, and will severely limit the evidence available to the State.

Defendant Not Aware of the Presence of the Controlled Substances

The State is required to prove that the defendant knew that the controlled substances were either being possessed by, or transported by the defendant. We will examine the facts and circumstances of the case to determine what the best course of action is in your case.

Defendant Can Prove That the Amount of Substance is Less than Statutory Amount for Trafficking

If the defendant can show that the amount the State has seized is less than what is required under the statute, the offense may not meet the requirements to proceed on drug trafficking charges.

It is important to remember that each case is fact specific and must be reviewed before forming a viable defense plan.

How Much Will Hiring an Asheville Drug Defense Attorney Cost?

Depending on the intricacies of your drug case, defense lawyers can charge more for felony cases compared to misdemeanors. This is because felonies usually have more serious penalties, need regular court appearances, and require more preparation. How much time and attention is required by your case will largely determine lawyer fees.

At Doug Edwards Law, we know that criminal troubles occur unexpectedly and aren’t something you had accounted for. We will quote a reasonable fee during the initial consultation as we listen to the circumstances of your case.

Why Hire Doug Edwards Law?

You can trust the experience and skills of our legal team at Doug Edwards Law in Asheville, NC to defend your case. We know the exact questions to ask in order to find the truth and build a strong drug case defense.

Doug Edwards has handled many jury trials involving different kinds of drug cases. He knows what to expect from the prosecution and how to navigate the drug crime charge to achieve a favorable result.

Hire a Reliable Drug Defense Attorney in Asheville, NC Today!

If you are looking for a qualified drug defense lawyer in Asheville, NC, we are your go-to law firm to turn to. Our team at Doug Edwards Law will review every avenue of your case as we look for any factual issues or legal avenues that we can use to your advantage.

You want to have a defense attorney who is intimately familiar with laws governing controlled substances in Asheville, NC. We will fight to ensure that your rights are protected and you are treated fairly by the system. We will aggressively defend your case, and work to reach the best possible outcome under the specific circumstances of your case.

Get in touch with us at (828) 702-8743 to book a free case review!

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