I Have Been Arrested on a Cocaine Charge in North Carolina: How Serious is it?
Being arrested for any drug-related crime can be terrifying. If you are convicted, it could negatively impact the rest of your life. In addition to facing legal consequences, such as jail time and a criminal record, you may face personal hardships. You may have difficulting finding a job, renting or buying a home, holding professional licenses, pursuing higher education, or keeping valuable personal relationships intact.
Cocaine Charges Come With Harsh Penalties
Arrests involving drugs like cocaine carry harsh consequences, especially if you are convicted. North Carolina prosecutors and law enforcement officers take drug charges extremely seriously. Prosecutors fight aggressively to obtain a conviction for cocaine-related charges. Some of the most severe penalties for cocaine conviction include the following:
Possession of any amount of cocaine is considered a Class I felony that carries a jail term of six months to a year if convicted.
Even if you are charged with a small amount of cocaine (under 200g), you could still face a Class G felony, which carries a prison sentence of 35 to 51 months, if you are convicted.
Trafficking larger amounts of cocaine is also a felony that carries various penalties, depending on the circumstances involved. Trafficking large amounts of cocaine can result in penalties of up to 20 years or more in prison. When a defendant is charged with additional crimes, they could face life in prison.
Selling or trafficking cocaine to a pregnant woman, a minor, or a pregnant woman is considered a Class E felony and treated more seriously by North Carolina prosecutors.
What Should I Do if I Have Been Charged With a Cocaine-Related Crime?
If you have been charged with a cocaine-related crime, it is crucial that you reach out to an attorney as soon as possible. There are multiple legal defenses you may be able to use. The best legal strategy will depend on the facts and circumstances of your case. For example, suppose the prosecution does not have enough evidence to prove you had the intent or ability to possess the illegal substance or drug. In that case, you may pursue a “lack of possession” defense to avoid a conviction.
If you were not in actual or constructive possession, you could not be convicted of cocaine possession. Additionally, if the police officers did not follow strict protocols and procedures when making arrests for drug possession. Suppose the police conducted unlawful search and seizure procedures before the arrest, and your attorney can prove that your Fourth Amendment rights have been violated. In that case, the charges against you may be dismissed. Finally, you cannot be convicted of drug possession if the drug or substance is not considered a controlled substance.
Discuss Your Case with a Skilled Criminal Defense Attorney in North Carolina
Have you been charged with a crime in North Carolina? You need to hire an experienced attorney who can provide you with an effective legal defense. Contact the criminal defense attorneys at Coastal South Law to schedule a free evaluation and learn more.