Drug possession is a serious offense in North Carolina. Possession of a Schedule I substance like heroin, opiates, fentanyl, or ecstasy is a felony, while possession of every other schedule is a misdemeanor.
A conviction for drug possession is punishable by a lengthy term of jail or prison, costly fines, and a criminal record. However, an experienced criminal defense attorney can help defendants raise certain legal defenses to challenge the evidence and the prosecution’s argument to either get their sentence reduced or their entire case dismissed.
The following are some of the common defenses to drug possession:
- Illegal search and seizure – Every U.S. citizen has a right to privacy guaranteed by the Fourth Amendment, which protects us against unlawful and unreasonable searches and seizures. If the police fail to establish probable cause to perform a search, have a valid warrant, obtain consent from the person who is subject to a search, then an officer can perform a reasonable search. If an officer fails to find probable cause, obtain a warrant, or get consent prior to a search, then any evidence collected is inadmissible at trial.
- The police failed to read you your Mirand rights – As soon as the police make an arrest, they must read suspects their Miranda rights, which state they have the right to remain silent and anything they say will be used against them in court. If an officer fails to read you your Miranda rights or forces you to talk through intimidation despite the warning, any statements obtained from these violations cannot be used in court.
- The drugs are not yours – Commonly known as the “unwitting possession” defense, which means a person had no idea that he/she was in possession of an illegal substance. For example, if you borrow your friend’s car and you end up getting pulled over by law enforcement officials, who conduct a search and find drugs in the vehicle, they may accuse you of possession.
- The drugs in question are not what they appear to be – A Ziplock bag of flour or a bottle of spices can be mistaken for illegal substances. The harmlessness of the substance can be determined through lab tests to prove that you never had possession of a controlled substance.
If you or a loved one has been accused of drug possession in Charlotte, an arrest does not automatically result in a guilty verdict. Jetton & Meredith, PLLC has a proven track record of successful case results since 2009. Let our legal team with decades of combined legal experience help you avoid serious criminal penalties.
Contact us today at (704) 931-5535 to discuss your case with our legal team.