If you were caught with marijuana in North Carolina, you might be considering whether or not to plead guilty. You might accept that you broke the law, and you may believe that the most responsible thing to do is simply accept the consequences. Or perhaps you assume that with the convincing evidence laid against you, there is really no point in attempting to dodge charges. But is pleading guilty really the right choice after facing marijuana charges in North Carolina?
Guilty Pleas Explained
When you plead guilty to marijuana possession, you are accepting full responsibility for your alleged crimes. These guilty pleas are often made by defendants who expect some form of leniency from the criminal courts. Prosecutors may also negotiate with defendants for “plea deals” – which represent guarantees of reduced penalties in exchange for admitting guilt.
It is worth noting that if you obtain the services of a public defender, you will likely be steered in the direction of a plea deal – whether it is in your best interests or not. This is because public defenders often have very close relationships with prosecutors, and they have a track record of negotiating plea deals amongst each other instead of going to court.
That being said, sometimes plea deals are truly the best option. Sometimes, District Attorneys will offer to voluntarily dismiss drug charges if the defendant agrees to take certain actions. These voluntary dismissals or “VDs” usually involve community service or rehab courses, and they are almost exclusively offered to those with no prior offenses or history of drug use.
The Danger of Entering a Guilty Plea
You must consider the full range of future consequences before you plead guilty to marijuana charges. Even a misdemeanor charge on your record could affect your life in many ways. For example, you might not get accepted into certain post-secondary educational institutions. You may struggle to find high-paying jobs after a misdemeanor conviction. You might even find it difficult to put a roof over your head, as landlords can conduct criminal background checks on prospective tenants.
If you choose to plead “not guilty,” you must work with a qualified, experienced criminal defense attorney who knows how to fight for your rights. These lawyers will need to present their own evidence while calling into question the evidence brought forward by prosecutors. This might involve questioning police reports, cross-examining witnesses, and so on.
Find a Qualified Defense Attorney in North Carolina
If you have been searching for a qualified defense attorney in North Carolina, look no further than Coastal South Law. We understand that many recreational marijuana users face excessive penalties for victimless crimes. With our help, you can determine the most appropriate defense strategy based on your unique situation. While pleading guilty could be the right choice, it is not the only option. Book your consultation today to learn more.