Being charged with a crime is one of the scariest situations someone can be in. When that crime is a high-level felony, like Drug Trafficking, the stakes become high, and the consequences become severe. What should someone do when they are charged with Drug Trafficking? In this blog we will discuss it. Like all our blogs, this is intended for general informational purposes only and not intended as substitute for the advice and counsel of a criminal defense attorney.
What does it mean to be charged with Drug Trafficking?
In North Carolina, Drug Trafficking is defined under the General Statutes 90-95. These laws define Drug Trafficking regarding cocaine, heroin, marijuana, and other substances. Contrary to what people assume, the difference between trafficking and other drug related charges is based on the amount of drugs in question, not movement of those drugs.
The consequences of being charged with Drug Trafficking
In North Carolina when someone is charged with Drug Trafficking, they are being accused of a felony. While most will be sentenced according to the North Carolina Sentencing Guidelines, Drug Trafficking has its own sentencing, which includes mandatory minimum prison sentences. Additionally, all the collateral consequences of any felony conviction apply to drug trafficking.
Defense when charged with Drug Trafficking
When charged with Drug Trafficking, the defendant should seek immediate legal representation. Like all other criminal cases there is only three ways this can end; a dismissal, a guilty plea, or a trial. When defending someone charged with Drug Trafficking, the defense attorney must focus on the allegations and facts that are present in the discovery.
For the government to obtain a conviction every element of the crime must be proven beyond a reasonable doubt. In a trial setting the arguments from the defense can include but are not limited to the following:
- Making sure the government can prove that the defendant was in possession of the amount of the controlled substance in question
- Showing the jury that there was not enough physical or testimonial evidence to substantiate the allegations
- Arguing against the presumption that the activities alleged were knowing and voluntary.
Like all criminal matters, in a drug trafficking case, the defendant has the presumption of innocence and he is innocent until proven guilty.