Controlled Substances - Don't Let Drug Charges Destroy Your Life
So your friends are all together, and everyone piles into your car to hit one last stand before the night is over. A routine traffic stop, and the next thing you know, you are charged with possession of controlled substances and paraphernalia. Whether or not they're your drugs or paraphernalia, it makes no difference to the officer charging you; he'll let the courts sort it out. Charges like these can impact your life for years. A conviction can affect job opportunities, housing, and federal assistance. It doesn't have to end badly. A charge for possessing controlled substances doesn't have to ruin your life. Sawyer Law PA can help you through the maze of complicated drug laws to reach a favorable outcome.
Sawyer Law Can Help You Through This
Sawyer Law can keep your life on track and headed toward your goals. There are many ways that you can be charged with the possession of controlled substances. Depending on the substance, the amount, and other surrounding circumstances you may be charged with a misdemeanor or a felony. There are six classifications, and many of these charges carry hefty penalties. Don't take a chance with your future. Call Sawyer Law at 336-274-5552 for a FREE consultation. You have nothing to lose and everything to gain. Whether you consult with an experienced defense attorney over the phone, online, or at our law office in Greensboro, NC, it is up to you.
We Have Flat Attorney Fees at Sawyer Law
Once you hear your options during a FREE consultation with us, we'll immediately let you know what the attorney fee will be. If you think of something else we should know about your case, we don't want you to worry that your cost will increase if you call us. At this point in your life, you don't need any more unpleasant surprises. Our rates are very reasonable, and payment plans are available.
Sawyer Law Offers Easy Access and Convenience
We know that you have a busy life and little time. You can call us anytime at 336-274-5552. During the week we answer calls or check messages until 9 P.M. On weekends, leave a message and your call will be promptly returned. If you need a consultation outside of regular office hours, we can arrange it. In many cases, you will not need to appear in court or our office.
Hiring a Lawyer is an Important Decision
Charges like these that carry weighty penalties and can affect your future require the help of a professional. Hiring a lawyer for your case is an important decision. Wendell H. Sawyer, the source and inspiration of Sawyer Law, was first recognized as an outstanding attorney by Martindale-Hubbell in 1995. He had a special way of dealing with each case. He took the time to listen and really consider the best course for every case entrusted to him. We continue to follow "Wendell's Way" with the help of local, experienced attorneys at Sawyer Law. Call us today at 336-274-5552 for your FREE consultation.
How Does a Routine Traffic Stop Result in a Drug Charge?
Often, police officers find drugs during a routine traffic stop. Yet, under the Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, you are free from unreasonable searches and seizures by the government. When a police officer stops you for a traffic violation, he cannot routinely search your car or you. An officer must have probable cause to conduct a search. Thus, if he asks for permission, you may refuse the officer without any fear of penalty.
However, if the officer has probable cause that you committed a crime, he can legally search your vehicle. Hence, the officer must observe something tangible that you broke the law. He cannot search your vehicle based merely on suspicion. Tangible observations may include seeing drug paraphernalia, a weapon, or smelling alcohol or marijuana.
Additionally, an officer may conduct a thorough and extensive examination of you if he has probable cause. More meticulous than frisking, the police may seize any illegal items uncovered during either scenario. However, police only need reasonable suspicion to conduct a frisking.
Sometimes, these searches are illegal and unconstitutional. Our priority is to safeguard your constitutional rights. We will scrutinize warrantless searches and search warrants holding the state to the standards afforded to us by the Constitution. Every person deserves protection from unreasonable searches and seizures.
Which Charge Will I Face: a Misdemeanor or a Felony?
A drug charge can be a misdemeanor or a felony. Generally, misdemeanors are less serious charges involving more lenient penalties. Your charge depends on the type of drug, the amount in your possession, and your intent.
The state classifies drugs into six schedules, ranking them according to specific characteristics:
Potential for abuse
Evidence of a pharmacological effect
History and pattern of abuse
Risk to the public health
Precursor to another controlled substance
Schedule VI drugs are the least dangerous with minimal potential for abuse. They have no medical use and lower penalties. Schedule I drugs are the most perilous with the greatest potential for abuse. These drugs have no medical use and carry the most severe penalties.
Although in some states, the legislature has legalized marijuana, here in North Carolina, it is still a controlled substance. If the police catch you with less than 1.5 ounces, you will face a misdemeanor charge. However, if there is evidence of distribution, the charge becomes a felony.
Moreover, North Carolina has some of the harshest penalties in the nation for drug possession. You may be facing jail time with a permanent criminal record. Sawyer Law will develop an aggressive defense for your best possible outcome. We’ll help to protect your rights and minimize the penalties.
You May Face a Drug Paraphernalia Charge
It’s also possible that you can face a criminal charge without ever possessing any drugs. If the police find paraphernalia, you will face a misdemeanor charge. A conviction may result in a punishment of a jail term of 120 days.
The NC Assembly defines drug paraphernalia as equipment, products, and materials used to facilitate violations of the Controlled Substances Act. Arresting officers may consider ordinary products such as spoons, plastic food bags, and other containers as drug paraphernalia. Thus, if the police suspect you of drug use and find paraphernalia, the officer will arrest you.
Moreover, drug paraphernalia charges correspond to the controlled substance schedule. Accordingly, if you’re caught with paraphernalia associated with a Schedule I, you’ll be facing harsh penalties. In comparison, a charge of marijuana paraphernalia will result in lesser charges.
Is the NC 90-96 Program in My Best Interest?
If you are a first-time offender, you may benefit from North Carolina’s 90-96 program. Authorized by the General Assembly, completing this program allows for the dismissal of your charges. Additionally, if you were under the age of 22 at the time of the offense, you may apply for an expungement of your record.
You must not have any prior drug or paraphernalia charges to participate in the program. You need to enroll and complete North Carolina’s Drug Education School Program. Additionally, you must plead guilty to your drug charge.
Is the 90-96 program right for you? A criminal justice lawyer from Sawyer Law will review your case and find the best course of action. We work tirelessly to find a favorable outcome for you. From our first interaction to the court decision, we’re with you every step of the way, fighting for your rights.
The Long-Term Consequences of a Controlled Substance Conviction
The effects of a controlled substance conviction are far-reaching. A drug conviction results in a criminal record. Thus, every time you apply for a job, your record will show up, hindering your efforts to find employment. Additionally, a felony may disqualify you from federal assistance programs such as food stamps, Medicaid, or student loans. Furthermore, as a convicted felon, you’ll lose certain rights, like the right to vote and bear arms.
You will most likely have to spend some time in jail, from a few days to years. If you’re currently employed, you’ll have to explain your absence to your employer. Your employer may even fire you. Moreover, you may have to submit to random drug testing.
Sawyer Law can help mitigate the consequences of your punishment. We’ve helped many people just like you receive an agreeable outcome. First-time offender, misdemeanor, or felony charge, we have many years of experience in defending against drug charges. Call our law firm today at 336-274-5552 for your free consultation with a criminal defense lawyer. Don’t let your mistakes dictate your life. Let’s work together for your future.