In 2020, Mecklenburg County announced the D.A.'s office would stop prosecuting most simple drug possession cases, including some felonies. While pandemic-related issues and an upsurge in violent crime are partly to blame, but it appears that the widespread decriminalization of some drugs may be the primary reason. The county's decision came along at about the same time as the North Carolina First Step Act, and the two processes formed a two-pronged approach to drug charge reform.
While the decision didn't get a lot of attention when announced, it wasn't widely accepted within the law enforcement community or without controversy. The announcement was made to the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department in November, but the CMPD has continued to make arrests for nonviolent drug possession. They might not get prosecuted, but they're still getting arrested, and that alone can hurt a criminal record.
Laws are laws, but specific D.A. practices aren't always the same as the police department, and they don't necessarily have to follow one another's lead. Officers continue to have discretion regarding the specifics of a drug arrest and haven't officially changed their drug enforcement strategy. So it's important to remember:
Just because low-level drug cases aren’t being prosecuted by the current D.A.'s office doesn’t mean they won’t be in the future. So, yes, you still need a drug charge lawyer.
Will You Get Prosecuted for Drugs in North Carolina or Not?
When people are arrested for low-level drug possession, the consequences can linger for years—even when the DA won’t prosecute. Being arrested for drug-related charges alone can tarnish your record and affect your chance for jobs, better housing, and other basic needs. Because every drug charge and how North Carolina drug laws treat them is different, there is a lot of grey area, so it's always best to retain a drug charge lawyer in Charlotte who knows the ropes.
There isn't so much grey area when it comes to drug charges that don't fall under the low-level moniker, and prosecutors are gun-ho to prosecute them. Mecklenburg County prosecutors will continue to prosecute the following to the full extent of North Carolina drug laws:
Defendants who are arrested while dealing drugs
Defendants arrested for drug activity that included a weapon
Arrests for drug-related charges that involve violence
Defendants arrested multiple times for drug-related activities within a certain time period
Don't Face North Carolina Drug Charges Alone
Have you or someone you know been convicted of drug charges in North Carolina or is facing sentencing? Let one of the most respected drug charge lawyers in Charlotte, North Carolina, ensure a fair and just process. Call The Law Offices of Jason H. Reece in Charlotte at 704-714-8888 or fill out this contact form for a free consultation.