If you are charged with possession of drugs in North Carolina, there are certain parts of the laws that can impact the consequences. A possession charge attorney can help you navigate the process and minimize that impact. Here's a quick primer on drug possession in North Carolina and how an experienced attorney can help.
In North Carolina, There Are Different Degrees of Drug Possession
A basic tenet of possession charges in North Carolina is that the drugs and/or paraphernalia must be possessed and knowingly possessed. But there's actually a little more to it than that — there's actual drug possession and constructive drug possession.
North Carolina Actual Drug Possession
In North Carolina, actual possession of drugs is when the drugs are found on your person. The assumption by the state is that if you have drugs in your pocket or somewhere else on your person, you must be aware the drugs are there. Those drugs could be in the pocket of a coat you borrowed or because of some other legitimate reason, but the presumption will always be that you were knowingly in possession.
There are a lot of moving parts for mounting a defense against an actual possession drug charge and an experienced North Carolina possession charge lawyer knows how to put them all together. From precisely where the drugs were discovered to why you were searched in the first place, your attorney can find factors that may be in your favor.
North Carolina Constructive Drug Possession
Constructive possession of drugs means you have access to illegal drugs, but may not necessarily have them on your person. Typically, these cases involve drugs found inside a console of a car or some other area. In these cases, law enforcement is tasked with determining who the drugs belong to. To be charged with drug possession under these circumstances typically requires other incriminating evidence before you can be charged with constructive drug possession.
An experienced drug possession attorney in North Carolina would start your defense by looking at two key questions: Were you alone and were you the only person who had sole control over the area where the drugs were found? Does the state have circumstantial evidence that shows you had knowledge of the drugs? The answers to these and additional questions will help determine your best line of defense.
Don't Underestimate the Impact of a Drug Possession Charge
Despite the growing trend toward legalization across the country, marijuana remains a controlled substance in North Carolina. Depending on the quantity involved, you may be looking at charges for misdemeanor simple possession or felony possession or the more serious charge of possession with intent to distribute. Charges involving less than one and a half ounces of marijuana are misdemeanors, provided there is no evidence of manufacturing or intent to sell.
If you are charged with a misdemeanor drug crime in North Carolina, you are likely looking at fines and/or probation, but jail time is a possibility. In addition, having only a minor drug conviction on your record can compound the consequences of the current charges. Even minor drug convictions will show up on background checks conducted by employers, landlords, and others. Getting busted with just a joint could have a drastic impact on your life if you don't have the best defense.
Don't let a drug possession charge impact your future more than it has to. If you or someone you know has been charged with possession in North Carolina, contact the Law Offices of Jason H. Reece to speak with a proven drug possession attorney.