Defenses to Drug Possession Charges
It was in late September when a man from Rowan County was sentenced to almost eight years in federal prison after pleading guilty to multiple drug charges. The charges included possession, possession with intent to sell, and a number of weapon charges. He was also a known gang member to police. Although this specific case had multiple factors, many people face charges for simple drug possession every day in North Carolina and along with them, harsh penalties if they are convicted. These individuals often wonder if there are any defenses to drug charges in the state and fortunately, there are several.
Drug Possession Laws in North Carolina
In North Carolina, it is illegal to possess any substance considered a controlled substance in the state. Controlled substances include heroin, cocaine, MDMA, and more.
Medicinal and recreational marijuana is still illegal in the state, with very few exceptions as allowed by the Epilepsy Alternative Treatment Act. However, marijuana specifically has been decriminalized when the accused has a very small amount. In this instance, a person will face fines and no jail time. A person in possession of large amounts of marijuana will still face harsh penalties. Under the federal Controlled Substances Act, a person may also face harsher penalties if they are charged with possessing or consuming marijuana on federal property, or using federal property in the commission of a crime, such as a post office box.
As with any other type of drug possession case, the prosecution must prove that the accused:
- Knowingly possessed or controlled the substance,
- Knew the drug was a controlled substance, and
- Did not obtain the drug through a valid prescription
Facing drug charges often seems like a hopeless situation, but it is not. A knowledgeable criminal defense attorney can provide many defenses to these charges.
Defenses to Drug Possession Charges in North Carolina
The most common defenses used in drug crime cases are as follows:
- A lack of reasonable suspicion, particularly when law enforcement seized drugs through an improper vehicle stop,
- Illegal search and seizure of a vehicle, residence, or person,
- Deferral or deferred disposition,
- Inability of the prosecution to prove the defendant actually possessed or controlled the drug,
- Inability to prove the substance the defendant possessed was a controlled substance,
- Chain of custody and evidence issues
Many defenses involve challenging the arguments of the prosecution, which is sometimes difficult for people unfamiliar with the law. A skilled criminal defense lawyer will understand the potential defenses available in a specific case, and how to use them effectively.
Our North Carolina Criminal Defense Lawyer is Here to Help
If you have been charged with possession of any drug in North Carolina, our North Carolina criminal lawyer at Hauter Law Firm, PC, can advise on your case. Attorney Hauter has the necessary experience to defend against your charges and give you the best chance of getting them reduced or dismissed. Call us today at 252-226-6878 or contact us online to schedule a free confidential consultation and to learn more about how we can help with your case.