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Drug charges pile up in North Carolina traffic stop

Drug paraphernalia charges are the highest-level misdemeanors in North Carolina. Often, though, the charge is added on when a person is facing a list of other misdemeanor charges, such as drug possession. The reason that police officers file several charges when drugs are involved is so that it increases the probability that a person will plead guilty to at least one of them.

For example, during the course of one traffic stop, a person can end up facing a long list of charges if drugs or paraphernalia are found. It may not seem fair that charges can be stacked up like this, but it happens all the time.

Commonly, a speeding violation or other minor offense leads police officers to discover criminal behavior. Recently, a Statesville man was stopped for an unspecified traffic violation. When the officer checked his license, he discovered that he had an Ohio driver's license. Because he has lived in North Carolina for more than 60 days, he should have had a North Carolina state license.

It only got worse from there. The man had an outstanding warrant and officers proceeded to search his vehicle. Through the course of the search, officers found large amounts of money, heroin, 22 grams of marijuana, and drug paraphernalia.

From one traffic stop, the man ended up with a host of charges. He now faces penalties for possession of methamphetamines and marijuana, intent to sell and deliver marijuana, possession of drug paraphernalia, owning a vehicle for the possession of a controlled substance, and not having an operator's license.

Each of the Class 1 misdemeanors that he was charged with, including drug paraphernalia possession, comes with a maximum sentence of 6 months in jail.

In situations where a person faces a long list of charges, it is certainly possible to have some of them dismissed. A person can also choose to fight the charges or identify a plea bargain that reduces or minimizes the penalties that a person may face. In some cases, there is the possibility that a sentence may be deferred or suspended. Working with an attorney may increase the likelihood that this can happen.

Source: WBTV, "Traffic stop leads to arrest, drug charges," Nick Needham, April 4, 2012

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