How to Beat a Drug Trafficking Charge
Drug trafficking charges depend on the amount of a controlled substance you possess. The amount that brings a trafficking charge varies according to the drug and its ranking in North Carolina drug schedules. Each controlled substance has different amounts that you may possess without fear of a trafficking charge. However, a trafficking charge in NC is always a felony charge with very severe penalties. Let’s look at how to get a drug trafficking charge dismissed in NC.
NC Trafficking Laws
North Carolina organizes controlled substances into a schedule from 1-6. Schedule 6 drugs are considered the least addictive and dangerous. The primary controlled substance on schedule 6 is marijuana and forms of marijuana. However, even though trafficking marijuana does not carry penalties as severe as trafficking other more serious drugs, you can still face imprisonment for trafficking marijuana.
According to North Carolina law G.S. 90-95, to face a trafficking charge, you generally need a large amount of a controlled substance. For a marijuana trafficking charge, law enforcement needs proof you attempted or succeeded in the sale or delivery of:
- 10 pounds to 50+ lbs: with conviction you face 25 months prison (Class H)
- 50 pounds to 2,000+ lbs: with conviction you face 35 months prison (Class G)
- 2,000 pounds to 10,000+ lbs: with conviction you face 70 months in prison (Class F)
- 10,000+ lbs: with conviction you face 175 months prison (Class D)
Even as a first-time offender, marijuana trafficking is a serious charge with prison time and hefty fines. It can be difficult to get a drug trafficking charge dismissed. In addition, trafficking this schedule 6 drug can bring a felony criminal record with future difficulty finding jobs or housing.
Higher Level Drug Trafficking Charges
Because heroin and other narcotics usually rank as schedule 1 drugs with higher addiction potential and present a serious danger to users, penalties for trafficking are much more severe for smaller amounts.
Heroin producers sometimes lace street heroin with Fentanyl or other deadly drugs, so even one pill could cause death in some cases. Because of the danger, criminal trafficking charges for heroin start at minuscule amounts.
If you possess:
- 4+ grams of heroin, is a Class I felony trafficking with 3-12 months prison and fines
- 4-14g is a Class F drug trafficking felony with 5-8 years in prison and a $50,000 fine
- 14-28g heroin trafficking charges bring you 7.5 to 10 years in prison and a $100,000 fine
- 28+g is a class C felony with 18 to 23 years in prison and a penalty fine of $500,000
Understand Police Tactics
Law enforcement officers sometimes engage in tactics that may be unconstitutional. If you face drug trafficking charges in NC, you still have rights. It is possible to give yourself a better chance for dismissal of trafficking charges by looking at rights violations. You have the right to:
- Not give self-incriminating evidence against yourself.
- Be informed of the charges against you.
- Refuse to speak about what happened without an attorney present.
- The right to be free from searches and seizures except when:
- There is a warrant that names you or
- Law enforcement has a limited exception to the warrant requirement
Mandatory Minimum Sentencing
Under NC G.S. 90-95, if a court convicts you of drug trafficking, you may face mandatory minimum sentences ranging from 25 months to 225 months depending on drug type and drug weight.
Mandatory minimum sentences:
- Are not eligible for parole
- Don’t run concurrently with other sentences
- Are ineligible for probation
- Do not qualify for suspension of sentence
If you sell, manufacture, deliver, or possess the specified weight of a drug or law enforcement can prove criminal conspiracy charges, you face mandatory minimum sentences. (2) It is sometimes possible to avoid compulsory sentencing with a criminal defense attorney who fully understands how to investigate and mitigate your case.
Examine Your Rights
According to the FBI, law enforcement officers have “the authority to detain and arrest suspects, search and seize property, bring criminal charges, and use deadly force in certain situations.” However, often police infringe on individual rights during drug investigations.
As law enforcement agencies investigate, monitor, or raid individuals, they sometimes violate or abuse citizens’ constitutional rights. Section 1983 of the Civil Rights Act: allows you to sue the government for civil rights violations committed against you. You can also use rights violations to fight against your drug charges.
Examples of rights violations include:
- Unlawful search and seizure
- Excessive Use of Force
- No Use of Verbal Commands
- Causing Unnecessary Injury
- Hurting Restrained Suspects
- Malicious Prosecution
- False Arrest
Beating Trafficking Charges
Getting a reduced trafficking charge is difficult but possible. Working with the DA for reduced charges can happen if law enforcement violates your constitutional rights. In this case, your attorney can file a variety of pretrial motions.
Finding an attorney who will analyze your case from the moment officers began interacting with you to determine if there is a legal basis for a motion to suppress evidence or dismiss the charges is your best shot.
A successful outcome often depends on reviewing the evidence and considering litigation. An experienced attorney can help you make that decision. The laws surrounding drug use in North Carolina are complex, your best chance to beat or mitigate charges lies with a qualified drug defense attorney.
When we take on your case, we complete a thorough investigation of the circumstances surrounding your arrest. Even a situation that may seem as simple as a vehicle search may not be admissible in court. We often look into government investigations to determine the constitutionality of all warrants, searches, seizures, and arrests.
We Can Help
At Scharff Law, we stand up for your rights while giving you the best possible representation under the law. We bring a formidable defense team who acts to:
- Investigate unlawful search and seizures while uncovering a lack of evidence
- Consider rights violations for motions to suppress
- Bring considerable resources needed to complete thorough analyses
- Apply case law and statutes for a personalized and well-thought-out defense
- Mitigate your charges or challenge them with litigation.
Contact us today and find out how we can help you. Consultations are always free.