Defenses to North Carolina Possession Charges
Being charged with possession of an illegal substance can be one of the most terrifying experiences a person ever has to face. Being convicted of possessing drugs or narcotics can impact the course of a person’s entire life, affecting everything from where they can work and live to whether they can vote. As drug laws are especially strict in North Carolina, it is imperative to consult with an experienced North Carolina criminal defense attorney if you are facing criminal charges of any kind in the state. The sooner you get a lawyer, the sooner we can start helping you and ensuring that your rights are being protected throughout this process.
If you are facing drug possession charges, you may feel overwhelmed or hopeless. However, you do not have to shoulder this burden alone. A criminal defense lawyer can help you navigate this process to the best possible outcome. Just because you are facing charges does not mean you will be convicted. Consulting with a lawyer now can mean the difference between a clear record and a conviction, or probation and jail time. How is that possible? A good defense.
Building a Strong Defense
A lawyer will help you present the strongest possible defense against the charges brought. In criminal court, in order to convict a defendant of the charges brought against them, the prosecution must convince the jury beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant is guilty of the charges. That is a very high bar. It means that if a single juror has a single doubt about whether the defendant is guilty, the defendant should not be convicted. For this reason, a strong defense builds doubt about whether the defendant could have done what the prosecution is alleging. In the case of drug possession charges, some of the most common defenses are outlined below:
No possession. This seems straightforward enough right? If an individual did not actually possess the substance alleged, it was in a shared or public space or was not on the defendant’s person, the substance possessed was not what was charged (i.e. it was cotton candy, not methamphetamine), or the defendant was unaware of the possession (ex. Defendant borrowed a friend’s car not realizing there were drugs in the trunk or glove box), then this can be used as a defense to possession. In order to be convicted of possession the defendant had to have the intent to possess the drugs (even if just temporarily). If the defendant lacked knowledge of the possession, they do not have the mens rea necessary to be convicted of the crime.
Unlawful Search. If the search producing the drugs was unlawful, all evidence of the search (including any drugs) must be thrown out. This will likely result in a dismissal of charges. A search is unlawful if officers lacked a warrant, proper probable cause, or consent, to perform it.
Production of Actual Drugs. If the prosecution is unable to produce the actual drugs seized they do not have the evidence needed to convict and the charges will likely be dismissed.
Talk to a Criminal Defense Lawyer
If you have been charged with drug possession in North Carolina or are facing criminal charges of any kind, it is critical to seek experienced legal representation as quickly as possible. The experienced criminal defense attorneys at Coastal South Law are ready to advocate zealously on your behalf and ensure that your rights are protected. Call today to schedule a consultation.