North Carolina hasn’t been spared. Drug-related offenses, from minor misdemeanor possession charges to possession of drug paraphernalia and drug trafficking, are on the rise in most Charlotte metro towns.
Cocaine Laws in Charlotte, North Carolina
North Carolina’s Schedule of Controlled Substances lists drugs as Schedule I (most dangerous) to Schedule VI (least risky). Cocaine is listed as a Schedule II drug under the federal drug code, which means that:
- It has some accepted medical uses, although with extreme restrictions
- It has a high potential for abuse
- Cocaine abuse may lead to psychological or physical dependence
Cocaine-related crimes are always classified as felonies. The degree of felony you are charged with depends on your alleged conduct with the drug (possession, trafficking, importation, manufacturing, or sales) and the amount of the drug.
- Class I Felony for Possession of cocaine: You can be arrested for being in possession of cocaine on your person. An offense for possession of Schedule II drugs is a Class I felony, warranting 6-12 months in jail
- Class H Felony for Delivery of cocaine: A conviction for delivery of Schedule II drugs is punishable by up to 25 months. Manufacturing of cocaine is also a Class H felony, punishable by up to 39 months.
- Class G Felony for Sale of cocaine: A sentence for selling cocaine is punishable by up to 31 months.
- Depending on the amount of the drug, trafficking of cocaine warrants varying jail time and/or fines:
- 28 – 199 grams — Class G Felony — 35 to 42 Months and/or $50,000 Fine
- 200 – 399 grams — Class F Felony — 70 to 87 Months and/or $100,000 Fine
- 400 grams or more — Class D Felony — 175 to 219 Months and/or $250,000 Fine
The team at King Law has your best interests in mind throughout the court procedures. If you are facing cocaine charges in Charlotte, King Law can offer you the best defense in North Carolina.
The Difference Between Actual Possession and Constructive Possession
Actual possession is more straightforward and meets the following criteria:
- The drugs were found on your person
- You had the intent to possess the type of drug you are accused of possessing
- No one else had equal access to the drugs found
There are situations, however, that are not so cut and dry. Someone may have slipped the drugs into your purse or jacket pocket.
Alternatively, constructive possession means:
- The drugs were not found on your person, however, they were found in your vicinity, where you had the ability to access the drugs (to dispose of or to use)
- The drugs were found in a place with multiple people having knowledge of this location and access to the drugs, for example, in a car with multiple passengers
In a constructive possession case, the argument is stronger if you are the sole user of the car or house occupant. For example, you are in the passenger seat of your friend’s car, and an officer pulls your friend over. After the officer arrests your friend for driving while intoxicated, they find a small bag of cocaine in the center console, and both deny ownership. You will both be arrested for constructive possession, in which case your Charlotte cocaine defense lawyer may argue that you were unaware of the drugs.
Drug Possession at Traffic Stops
Tackling drug possessions at traffic stops considers the following:
- Who owns the car?
- Who often drives the car?
- Where were the drugs found?
- Who has access to the car when you are away?
- Who were the recent passengers in the car?
- How many people were in the car?
- Were the drugs found due to an illegal search and/or seizure?
This case becomes more difficult when you are the driver. The prosecution has a stronger connection between you and the drugs. However, if you are not the sole user of the car, you stand a chance of weakening the prosecution’s argument.
Consequences of Cocaine Convictions in North Carolina
Apart from facing jail time and fines, a cocaine conviction may have some unintended consequences. Because arrest records are available online, some collateral consequences that a felony conviction may have include the following:
- You may have limited future employment opportunities
- You may lose your job or a professional license
- Your criminal history will be reviewed every time you request a loan, apply for college, deal with child custody issues, or seek financial aid
Simply being accused of drug possession can affect your job, your reputation in the community, or even your well-being.
Why You Need to Hire a Charlotte Cocaine Defense Lawyer
An arrest does not translate to a conviction. Law enforcement requires probable cause to charge you. The defense strategy for cocaine charges depends on the specific facts of your case. The defense may rely on the search tactics used by the police and the weight of drugs found in your possession. If the amount of cocaine in your possession is under 28 grams, you may have the cocaine-related charges reduced.
Your Charlotte defense lawyer can also have evidence gathered in an unlawful search and seizure thrown out for violating your constitutional rights. Because the prosecution needs to prove that you are guilty beyond any reasonable doubt, it becomes difficult to prove possession or sale of cocaine without any evidence.
Expectedly, police and prosecutors will pursue charges against you relentlessly. Your best defense becomes retaining the best Charlotte cocaine defense lawyer as soon as you can. Your lawyer can also help you pursue a cocaine trafficking sentence reduction. At King Law, we will intervene and challenge actions by prosecutors that seek to pry into our client’s personal and financial activities when there is no hard evidence to support these actions.
Reach Out to a Charlotte Cocaine Defense Lawyer for Help
A cocaine-related charge is a serious charge that should not be taken lightly. If you are facing any cocaine-related charges in Charlotte, it’s prudent to hire an experienced drug possession lawyer to represent you. It is normal to feel overwhelmed and stressed when facing such serious charges.
The team of criminal defense lawyers at King Law has years of experience serving our North Carolina and South Carolina clients. Our cocaine defense lawyers aim to achieve favorable outcomes for all our cases and have a proven track record of success. You can feel confident with King Law by your side protecting your rights. Please call (888) 748-5464 or (888) 748-KING. You can also fill out our contact form.