Whether you are charged with marijuana possession or drug trafficking, you do not want a conviction on your record. Even minor drug crimes are taken seriously by employers, colleges, and financial institutions. You do not want a mistake to follow you for the rest of your life.
If you or a loved one has been charged with a drug crime, speak with a criminal defense lawyer at Christina Rivenbark & Associates. We provide aggressive, strategic defense against North Carolina drug charges. For a free consultation with a Wilmington drug crime lawyer, please call 910-251-8080, or contact us online.
You might think you can handle representing yourself in a criminal case or that if you have been wrongfully accused, you can explain the situation and avoid prosecution. However, the reality is that you likely face a much more challenging case than you may initially realize. North Carolina prosecutors tend to pursue a conviction in drug cases quite aggressively, and you may be unprepared for the level of evidence the prosecutor brings against you.
Every American has the right to criminal defense counsel when accused of a crime. However, if a defendant does not wish to pay private attorneys’ fees or cannot do so, they can secure defense representation from a public defender at no cost. The court appoints these defense attorneys to represent defendants as needed. While sticking with a public defender could seem like an excellent way to save money on your legal costs, it’s essential to realize that you can expect a much higher level of defense representation when you have an experienced private Wilmington drug crimes defense attorney representing you.
Even the best public defenders must handle several cases at a time, and you probably won’t be able to expect much personal attention from your public defender. By comparison, a private defense attorney can offer more client-focused legal counsel. Christina Rivenbark & Associates maintains a balanced caseload to ensure every client receives the full scope of our attention and resources. We’ll carefully review the details of your case and help you make more informed choices about your legal options.
We can defend you against charges involving illegal substances such as marijuana, synthetic marijuana, cocaine, methamphetamines (meth and crystal meth), heroin, LSD, prescription drugs and bath salts, including:
It is important to challenge the evidence and police procedure in all drug cases. Did law enforcement search your home or vehicle without a warrant and without probable cause? Was a confidential informant used to make the arrest? Many times, we find issues of illegal search and seizure in drug cases.
North Carolina law uses a Scheduling system to determine the severity of a drug offense. A drug’s “Schedule” refers to its level of illegality. Offenses involving Schedule I drugs carry the harshest penalties, while offenses pertaining to Schedule V drugs carry the least severe penalties. Schedule I drugs include substances believed to hold no medical value and a high potential for abuse, such as most synthetic opioids, LSD, and ecstasy. Schedule II drugs include those that carry a high potential for abuse but are not considered as dangerous as Schedule I drugs, such as cocaine and crystal methamphetamine. Every illicit drug has a Schedule, and the penalties possible in a drug crime case hinge on the quantity of the substance in question and its schedule.
Penalties for conviction of a drug offense in North Carolina can include fines, jail time, and a loss of constitutional rights. A convicted defendant may be forbidden to own guns and have their firearms confiscated. While a misdemeanor drug possession offense may only lead to a few months in jail and a fine, a felony possession charge could lead to several years in prison. Drug trafficking charges can potentially qualify for prosecution in federal court if the defendant crossed state lines, and the penalties possible in federal drug cases are quite severe.
Judges that handle sentencing for drug offenses in North Carolina will weigh several factors when determining an appropriate penalty for a defendant, which may include diversionary sentencing. For example, if a defendant has a substance abuse disorder and no criminal history, the judge may compel them to attend a substance abuse treatment and rehabilitation program instead of jail. Most defendants convicted of drug offenses in North Carolina will also qualify for probation, during which they must not commit any criminal offenses, or they risk being sent to jail.
You can rely on your defense counsel for several valuable legal services throughout your case. First, they can assist you in determining whether due process has been followed through every phase of your case. If not, or if the police or prosecutors violated your civil or constitutional rights in any way, this can be sufficient to have your case dropped. Your defense attorney will also determine whether the police followed appropriate protocols in establishing probable cause to conduct the search that led to your arrest.
Your defense attorney will help you formulate the most viable defense available to you based on the details of your situation. For example, perhaps you were arrested at a traffic stop because the police noticed a bag of drugs on the floor of your vehicle that you didn’t know was there. If you recently gave a friend a ride and they left the drugs in your car, your attorney can help you prove they did not belong to you. Ultimately, every drug case is unique, and you need a Wilmington drug crimes defense attorney who can help you explore all your available options for defending yourself against conviction.
A “drug lawyer” would be a criminal defense attorney who handles drug offense cases. If you have been charged with any type of drug offense in North Carolina, you need a criminal defense attorney on your side. Criminal defense attorneys specialize in protecting their clients from unjust penalties and wrongful convictions. They also ensure due process is followed and that prosecutors satisfy all procedural obligations regarding admissible evidence and meeting their burden of proof.
The four most commonly prosecuted drug crimes in North Carolina include illegal possession, possession with intent to sell, drug manufacturing/cultivation, and drug trafficking. The penalties for these offenses fluctuate significantly depending on the substance involved, the quantity of the substance in question, and the defendant’s prior criminal history.
In every criminal case, the prosecution faces the burden of proving the defendant is guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. It’s the defense attorney’s job to prevent this from happening. They may offer contradictory evidence or cite missteps in the prosecution’s handling of their case to prevent them from meeting their burden of proof. A defense lawyer may also cite civil and constitutional rights violations their client experienced from police or prosecutors involved in the case.
Before agreeing to any attorney’s representation, make sure the attorney has significant experience handling cases like yours. Ask the potential attorney about their track record of drug cases, their typical strategies for handling these cases, and whether they notice any unique details about your case.
At Christina Rivenbark & Associates, we will carefully examine the police procedure used during your arrest. If your constitutional rights were violated, we can argue for the suppression of evidence and/or the reduction or dismissal of the charges.