Kinston Drug Crime Lawyer
Arrested for a Drug Crime in Kinston, NC?
At Strickland Agner Pittman, our team of experienced criminal defense attorneys is dedicated to providing top-notch legal representation to clients facing drug charges in Kinston and surrounding areas. We understand the serious nature of drug crimes and the potential consequences that come with a conviction.
Our drug crime lawyers are well-versed in the laws and procedures surrounding drug offenses, and we have a proven track record of successfully defending clients in a variety of drug-related cases. Whether you are facing charges for possession, distribution, manufacturing, or trafficking, we have the knowledge and skills to help you navigate the legal system and fight for your rights.
What is a Drug Crime?
In North Carolina, like in many other states, drug crimes involve the illegal possession, distribution, trafficking, manufacturing, or cultivation of controlled substances. These laws are outlined in the North Carolina General Statutes, primarily in Chapter 90, Article 5, titled "Controlled Substances Act."
Common types of drug crimes in North Carolina include:
- Possession: Possessing illegal drugs for personal use or distribution is a common drug crime. The severity of the charge often depends on the type and quantity of the drug involved.
- Possession with Intent to Distribute: This charge is more serious than simple possession and implies that the individual intended to sell or distribute the drugs. The penalties are typically more severe than for possession alone.
- Drug Trafficking: This involves the transportation, distribution, or sale of illegal drugs on a larger scale. Trafficking charges usually apply when a certain quantity of drugs is involved, and the penalties are among the most severe for drug-related offenses.
- Drug Manufacturing and Cultivation: Producing or growing illegal drugs, such as methamphetamine or marijuana, can lead to manufacturing or cultivation charges. These charges also carry significant penalties.
- Drug Paraphernalia Possession or Sale: Possession of items intended for drug use, such as pipes, syringes, or other equipment, can lead to charges. Selling drug paraphernalia is also illegal.
- Prescription Drug Fraud: Illegally obtaining prescription drugs, often through forgery, doctor shopping, or other deceptive means, is considered a drug crime.
- Conspiracy to Commit Drug Crimes: Even if someone hasn't directly committed a drug crime, they can still be charged if they are found to be involved in a conspiracy to commit such crimes.
- Drug-related DUI: Driving under the influence of drugs can result in DUI charges similar to alcohol-related offenses.
- School Zone Drug Crimes: Drug crimes committed within a certain distance of a school or other designated areas can lead to enhanced penalties.
- Maintaining a Dwelling for Controlled Substances: Owning or operating a place where drugs are manufactured, stored, or distributed can lead to charges for maintaining a drug dwelling.
Drug crimes can result in severe penalties, including fines, probation, mandatory drug treatment programs, and imprisonment.
Legal Defenses to Drug Crimes
Defending against drug crime charges involves a variety of legal strategies that aim to challenge the evidence, procedures, or constitutional rights involved in the case, which is why it is imperative to hire a criminal defense attorney who has experience handling a wide range of drug charges.
Here are some common defenses to drug crimes:
- Unlawful Search and Seizure: The Fourth Amendment protects individuals from unreasonable searches and seizures by law enforcement. If evidence is obtained through an illegal search or seizure (without a valid warrant or probable cause), it may be deemed inadmissible in court. A defense attorney can challenge the legality of the search and seek to have the evidence excluded.
- Lack of Probable Cause: Law enforcement must have a reasonable belief that a crime has been committed or is being committed in order to conduct a search or make an arrest. If the police lacked sufficient probable cause to initiate the search or arrest, the evidence collected as a result could be suppressed.
- Chain of Custody Issues: The chain of custody refers to the documented handling of evidence from the time it is collected until it is presented in court. If there are gaps or inconsistencies in the chain of custody, it could raise doubts about the integrity of the evidence and its reliability.
- Miranda Rights Violation: The Miranda rights include the right to remain silent and the right to an attorney. If law enforcement fails to inform a suspect of their Miranda rights during an arrest or interrogation, any statements or admissions made by the suspect might be excluded from trial.
- Entrapment: Entrapment occurs when law enforcement officers induce or coerce an individual into committing a crime they wouldn't have otherwise committed. If a defendant can demonstrate that they were pressured into engaging in illegal activity by law enforcement, it could serve as a defense.
- Medical Necessity: In some cases, defendants may argue that they possessed or used drugs for legitimate medical reasons. This defense may be more applicable in situations where the defendant has a valid prescription for a controlled substance.
- Mistaken Identity: If the prosecution cannot definitively prove that the defendant was in possession of illegal drugs, a defense attorney might argue that the drugs were not actually in the defendant's possession, or that there was a case of mistaken identity.
- Insufficient Evidence: If the prosecution's evidence is weak or lacks credibility, a defense attorney may argue that the case should be dismissed due to insufficient evidence to support a conviction.
- Crime Lab Errors: If the evidence has been tested in a crime lab, the defense might challenge the accuracy and reliability of the lab's procedures and results, potentially leading to the exclusion of certain evidence.
- Pretrial Diversion Programs: Depending on the jurisdiction and the defendant's criminal history, some individuals charged with drug offenses may be eligible for pretrial diversion programs. These programs offer alternatives to traditional prosecution, such as drug rehabilitation or community service, with the goal of avoiding a criminal record.
Don't leave your future to chance. Our legal team will help you understand your legal options and guide you through the entire legal process, working tirelessly to protect your rights and your freedom.
Contact Strickland Agner Pittman today to schedule a free consultation with one of our knowledgeable drug defense attorneys in Kinston.