Drug addiction is a public health crisis in the United States, including here in Wake County, North Carolina. Unfortunately, our state and federal governments too often fail to treat it as one. Instead, governments criminalize even the mere possession of drugs designated as “controlled substances,” with far harsher penalties for the distribution or manufacture of such substances.
The consequences of a drug conviction can be far-reaching. Promising students at Research Triangle schools may see their futures adversely affected. If you or a loved one faces narcotics charges, you should immediately seek experienced legal counsel who will challenge the state’s evidence and fight to have the charges reduced or dismissed, or in the alternative seek other options, such as a drug diversion program, that will ultimately lead to a favorable
Raleigh Drug Defense Lawyer
For any offense relating to controlled substances, from misdemeanor possession to felony drug trafficking, your first step should be to contact an experienced Raleigh drug defense lawyer who will fight for the best possible result given your individual circumstances. At Coolidge Law Firm, we are courtroom trial attorneys who defend the rights and seek freedom for people charged in state and federal courts in Wake County.
Our clients come from throughout the county and surrounding areas, including Raleigh, Cary, Apex, Holly Springs, Fuquay-Varina, Zebulon, Rolesville, and Garner. They include lifelong residents and students at the region’s highly regarded schools, including North Carolina State University (NCSU), Wake Technical Community College (Wake Tech), Meredith College, William Peace University, Shaw University, Duke University, and UNC – Chapel Hill. Contact us today at (919) 239-8448 to set up a free consultation.
Overview of Narcotics Crime in North Carolina
- Types of Drug Charges
- Federal vs. North Carolina Controlled Substance Laws
- Consequences of a Drug Arrest for Research Triangle Residents and Students
“Controlled substances” cover a wide range of narcotics. These substances include:
- Cocaine / Crack
- Methamphetamine (“Meth”)
- Lysergic Acid Diethylamide (LSD or “Acid)
- MDMA (“Ecstasy”)
- Anabolic Steroids
- Prescription Painkillers, including:
- Diazepam (Valium)
- Barbiturates (“Downers”)
- Amphetamines (“Uppers”)
- Synthetic Drugs, including Spice, Bath Salts, N-Bomb and K2
Our state and federal laws group these substances into “schedules,” The punishment for violations involving these substances, whether possession, or the selling of these substances, will be affected by the schedule to which the substance has been assigned.
Charges can include:
- Possession of a Controlled Substance
- Possession With Intent to Sell or Deliver
- Drug Manufacturing
- Drug Trafficking
If something is a controlled substance, virtually any actions taken with this substance may be illegal without sufficient legal permission such as a valid prescription from a licensed medical professional. Falsification of a prescription can lead to forgery or fraud charges.
Both the state and federal government regulate the possession, manufacturing, distribution and trafficking of controlled substances. . North Carolina’s drug laws closely mimic federal law. However, while the majority of federal drug crimes involve the trafficking of controlled substances, the majority of the drug crimes here in North Carolina involved the possession of drugs. A more important difference between the federal and state drug laws involves the consequences of a conviction. Federal drug convictions lead to substantially longer sentences.
Most drug charges result from violations of state law. The North Carolina Controlled Substances Act is found in Chapter 90, Article 5 of the North Carolina General Statues. If you are arrested by the Raleigh Police Department, Wake County Sheriff’s Deputies, the State Highway Patrol or any other state or local agency, you will most likely face state charges. Your case will be prosecuted by the Wake County District Attorney’s Office in the Wake County Justice Center in downtown Raleigh. All misdemeanor drug charges will be heard in District Court while felony drug charges will start in District Court but depending on the severity of the case and your criminal background may transfer to Superior Court.
Federal Law also criminalizes certain actions involving controlled substances including even simple possession. If you are caught in possession of a controlled substance while on federal property, you could face federal criminal drug charges. Absent drug violations on federal property, federal officials tend to focus their investigations on drug violations involving large quantities or those that cross state lines.
If arrested by the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA), the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) or another federal agency, you can expect to face federal charges. Federal charges stemming from violations in Wake County will be prosecuted by an Assistant US Attorney from the Eastern District of North Carolina US Attorney’s Office and heard by a Federal District Court Judge in either Raleigh, Elizabeth City, New Bern, Greenville, or Wilmington.
As a member of the Federal Bar, Attorney David Coolidge zealously defends those charged with federal drugs.
If convicted of a state offense, you could face prison time and fines as determined by North Carolina’s complicated structured sentencing guidelines. The range of time spent in prison will depend on the offense, the number of prior convictions on your record and whether there were aggravating factors (for example, manufacturing meth in an apartment building or when a person younger than 18 is present) or mitigating factors (like reasonably believing your actions were legal).
If convicted in federal court, you could face even harsher penalties. Federal drug convictions often carry mandatory minimum punishments. Depending on the drug quantity, the possible sentencing ranges include 0 to 20 years, 5 to 40 years, and 10 years to life. You could do substantial federal time, none of which will in a “country club,” despite the pop culture myth. Federal prisons are dangerous places where your liberty is completely stripped from you.
Potential consequences go beyond prison time and fines. If convicted, you will have a permanent criminal record, available to any potential employer, loan officer, school admissions officer or landlord who runs a background check.
Drug convictions have a particularly negative effect on students. When complete the FAFSA, you must answer the question about whether you’ve been convicted of a drug-related offense. If you answer “Yes,” you will be ineligible for federal financial aid unless you complete a certain program. Current federal financial aid recipients may be required to pay a portion back.
Colleges such as North Carolina State University (NCSU), Wake Technical Community College (Wake Tech), Meredith College, William Peace University, Shaw University, Duke University, and UNC – Chapel Hill have conduct review boards who can suspend you from campus for drug charges and/or convictions.
Finding the Best Narcotics Defense Attorney in Wake County
Drug charges, both state and federal, have serious consequences in North Carolina. If you are facing an offense relating to a controlled substance, a Raleigh drug defense lawyer from Coolidge Law Firm can help you obtain the best results. Our experienced criminal drug defense attorney will develop a strategy that will make the prosecutors do their job and prove their case before ever negotiating a plea bargain. Contact us today at (919) 239-8448 for a free consultation.
We represent clients in state and federal court throughout Wake County, including Raleigh, Wake Forest, Morrisville, Knightdale and Wendell.