If you are facing NC drug charges, you may be feeling overwhelmed and unsure of how to proceed with the situation. For example, drug trafficking is one of the more serious drug offenses in the state of North Carolina, and being charged with such an offense can have a lasting impact on your life. Facing federal drug crime charges can implicate long sentences in jail, heavy-duty fines, and a permanent criminal record. Therefore, it is critical to have an experienced and knowledgeable criminal defense attorney who can develop a reliable drug crime defense for your case.
At Edwards Law, PLLC, we have years of experience working on various drug cases, from simple possession to felony drug charges. We will work tirelessly with you to understand the specifics of your drug case, listen to your concerns, and answer any questions that you may have regarding the offense charges against you. Finally, we will come up with a plan to work towards getting your federal drug crime charges either dropped or minimized so that you can move on with your life.
In addition to the financial costs that are associated with being charged with a federal drug crime, there are emotional costs as well. Having to cope with being accused of such a serious crime can take a toll on your emotions and mental well-being. Our drug defense lawyer is here to provide you with the support you need and an optimized defense strategy to give you peace of mind.
In the state of North Carolina, when you are arrested for drug charges, the charges can be on the federal or state level. There are no specific rules stating whether or not a crime should be prosecuted as federal or not. Prosecutions on a state level usually result from breaking state laws, and federal prosecutions happen when federal crimes are committed.
Federal drug charges typically have more to do with crossing interstate lines or involving drug trafficking on a grand scale. Such crimes are charged using the Controlled Substances Act. If a drug crime happened on federal land, was prosecuted by a federal agency such as the Drug Enforcement Agency, involved a significantly large quantity of drugs or a lethal weapon, or was part of a large-scale network of organized crime, then it is more likely to be prosecuted on a federal level.
The local police forces in North Carolina, as well as the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation (SBI), are the organizational bodies responsible for prosecuting state drug crimes. Usually, the presiding prosecutor will be the DA presiding over the county where the offense took place, and the case will be discussed and decided upon in a North Carolina state court. When it comes to state drug crimes in North Carolina, they are usually more related to the possession and distribution or sale of drugs. State drug prosecutions can also occur in instances of drug production that are not prosecuted by federal law.
If you are facing a federal drug charge, it is important to be aware of the significance of drug schedules and the implications that they can have on sentencing and penalties. Because drugs in the United States are considered ‘controlled substances,’ or substances that cannot be freely used and distributed, they are categorized based on their level of restriction.
These categories have supposedly been decided based on the severity of side effects and the danger posed to the user, as well as the potential for addiction. However, this has not always turned out to be the case in reality. Therefore, it’s important to know the schedule of drug that you have been charged with possessing, selling, distributing, manufacturing, or trafficking because this will impact the severity of your drug charges.
Schedule V drugs are the least restricted in terms of regulation, while Schedule I drugs are the most restricted. The penalties associated with each drug crime increase as the drug schedule changes from V to I.
Some examples of Schedule V drugs include Lomotil, Robitussin AC, and other cough syrups. Schedule IV drugs include benzodiazepines like Klonopin and Xanax, as well as strong sleep aids like Ambien. Codeine, ketamine, and steroids are considered to be Schedule III drugs. Some Schedule II drugs are cocaine, crystal meth, methylphenidates like Concerta and Ritalin, as well as oxycodone. Schedule I drugs, the most serious schedule of drugs, are mushrooms, MDMA, LSD, and heroin.
For federal drug crimes, possessing most Schedule I drugs will result in a Class 1 felony. On the other hand, if you are found to be possessing a Schedule V drug, the charge will be a misdemeanor. It’s important to remember that the trafficking of any kind of drug is a felony.
It’s important to keep in mind that federal crimes usually have more intense penalties than state crimes. This is because these crimes are usually larger-scale and can involve other forms of organized crime, as well as huge quantities of drugs.
On the state level, the North Carolina general statutes are used to determine what the penalties for a drug crime will be, based on the level of offense. In North Carolina, the sentencing process is generally standardized, and the judge’s decision can vary based on whether someone has an existing criminal history and how severe the crime was.
State penalties result in paying fines, serving time in prison, and probation. As mentioned earlier, federal penalties are more severe, and guidelines are stricter in order to standardize sentencing schemes across the country. This means that federal judges do not have the bandwidth to be as flexible as judges deciding on state-level cases.
In North Carolina, if you are a first-time drug offender, your chances of going to jail depend on the severity of your drug charges. While it is possible that you can serve jail time for more severe charges, such as drug trafficking, you will likely not go to jail for simple possession. There are also other options instead of jail, such as probation. To understand the probable sentencing associated with your case, it is recommended to speak with a lawyer.
If you have never been charged with a drug offense until now, then the drug charge is considered to be first time. Depending on the number of drugs you were found with, what your intentions were with them — such as consumption or sale, and the type of the drugs, the severity of your charges will vary. In North Carolina, the number of drug offenses that you have been charged with can increase the severity of the penalty. If you are unsure about the charges you are facing related to your first-time drug offense, then you should speak with a knowledgeable attorney.
In North Carolina, the cost of a criminal defense lawyer can depend on the experience of the lawyer, the location, how severe the case is, and other details related to the case. However, on average, you can expect to pay an hourly rate of $100 to $800. Some lawyers will request a flat fee that can range from hundreds to thousands of dollars instead of charging hourly. It is important to speak with your lawyer at the outset about costs associated with your case so that you know what to expect.
In North Carolina, the penalties issued by the court for your drug charges, if proven guilty, will vary based on the details of your case and whether you have committed an offense before. The class of drug and the amount you had on you will impact the penalty outcome as well. The penalties can range from short to long-term jail sentences, small or large fines, and carrying the burden of a criminal record.
If you are facing federal drug charges, don’t wait to get the representation that you need. The NC drug defense attorney at Edwards Law, PLLC, can help you design a strong defense against your federal drug crime charges before it’s too late. Our law firm will thoroughly review the details of your case and determine where the weaknesses lie in the prosecution to help you optimize your case outcome.
Being prosecuted and charged for a federal crime can have devastating consequences on your life for years to come. With a federal criminal record, you can lose your personal freedoms, including the right to vote and apply for certain jobs. In addition to this, the charges can have an impact on your ability to secure housing and pursue educational opportunities. Don’t let a drug-related mistake leave a mark on the rest of your life. Contact our team today for a free consultation.