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Drug Paraphernalia Charges Can Lead to an Arrest
The NC drug laws are written in a way to allow for criminal prosecution for possession of drug paraphernalia for a wide range of different items.
Criminal defense lawyers may comment that the “PDP laws in NC” are broad and inclusive in nature.
Many personal items and household articles can be used for unlawful purposes.
The key is “intent.”
The possession of drug paraphernalia laws in NC require the State to prove, Beyond a Reasonable Doubt, that you possessed certain items or materials for the purpose of violating the NC Controlled Substances Act.
The possession laws allow for criminal prosecution for even slight or “trace amounts” or residue of controlled substances.
That applies to possession of drug paraphernalia charges too.
Police are not necessarily required to arrest you for drug possession in Charlotte, NC or anywhere else in North Carolina for that matter.
North Carolina Controlled Substances Act
Law enforcement officers may instead issue a citation or “criminal summons” to appear in court and answer the criminal charges.
If there are related charges involving possession of controlled substances like cocaine, “meth,” fentanyl or heroin, you may also be facing prosecution for felony criminal drug charges, thus increasingly the likelihood of an arrest.
Indeed, a lot depends on the type of the drugs at issue and how much you allegedly possessed.
There are important differences and distinctions in the NC drug laws, where the possession of some controlled substances is subject to substantial criminal punishments, including long term prison sentences and tens-of-thousands of dollars in fines.
Trafficking charges are one of the most serious types of drug charges in North Carolina that can result in prison, even if you have no prior record.Punishments for PDP Charges
There are different types or “classes” of criminal charges in NC.
The penalties for possession of drug paraphernalia are generally divided into two main categories:
- Possession of Marijuana Drug Paraphernalia – Class 3 Misdemeanor
- PDP charges for all other controlled substances - Class 1 Misdemeanor
The differences between the punishments and penalties for a conviction are substantial.
Possession of Marijuana charges (if misdemeanor charges) and possession of paraphernalia related to using marijuana tend to be less consequential than other controlled substances in North Carolina.
Under the NC Misdemeanor Punishment Chart or “Grid,” the penalties for a conviction of a Class 3 Misdemeanor include a maximum period of incarceration is 20 days.
Court costs, fines, and probation are also options for the Court to consider in imposing a judgment (sentencing).
In jurisdictions like Charlotte, there also may be legal options to get your charges dismissed or lessen the consequences of a possible conviction.
A lot depends on the fact-pattern of your case, whether you have other felony or misdemeanor charges pending, and whether you have a prior criminal history of convictions.
It’s important for your Charlotte criminal lawyer to carefully review all the pending charges and discuss with you your legal options.
It may be possible, through negotiations with the prosecutor (the State or “ADA” - Assistant District Attorney) to work out a deal for a deferral program, drug treatment, 90-96 plea, and/or conditional discharge.
Each case is different. As such, eligibility for a dismissal may depend on several different factors. That’s one reason we recommend you immediately retain an experienced Charlotte criminal defense lawyer to discuss your legal options.
You should not assume every criminal charge is eligible for dismissal or expunction, even if you have a perfectly clean record.
That’s especially true for serious felony drug charges and trafficking charges in North Carolina.Possession of Drug Paraphernalia – Class 1 Misdemeanor
Drug paraphernalia charges in North Carolina, other than for marijuana, remain a relatively serious criminal offense.
If the State can meet its substantial Burden of Proof, a conviction for a Class 1 Misdemeanor carries a maximum period of incarceration of up to 120 days.
Punishments for possession charges in NC, including possession of drug paraphernalia, take into consideration the facts of the case, your prior record of criminal convictions, and the nature and severity of the offense, including other pending charges or related criminal offenses.
The State bears the substantial burden to prove you intentionally and willfully possessed drug paraphernalia.
PDP charges in North Carolina are specific intent crimes.
The intent to violate the Controlled Substances Act of NC is an essential element of the offense.Drug Charges in Charlotte
- What does Simple Possess Sch VI CS M mean?
- What is a True Bill of Indictment?
- Can I handle drug charges in Charlotte by myself?
- Charlotte Criminal Defense Attorney – Bill Powers – Bio
There can be more to a conviction than you might realize.
While most people understand penalties may include things like jail time, probation, costs of court, and fines, there can be other collateral consequences to a conviction, including things like:
- Loss of Scholarships and Education Opportunities
- Loss of Student Financial Aid and Loans
- Loss of Housing and Residence
- Loss of Child Custody
- Loss of Child Visitation
- Immigration and Legal Residency Issues
- Loss of Professional Licenses / Privileges
- Medical Licenses
Legal challenges to criminal charges for possession of drug paraphernalia in Charlotte, NC may focus on answering one of the following questions:
- Can the State prove Beyond a Reasonable Doubt you “possessed” the contraband?
- Can the State prove the materials or items are “Drug Paraphernalia?”
- Can the State prove the type of drug paraphernalia, relative to the type controlled substance
- a. Marijuana vs Other Controlled Substances?
- b. Cocaine?
- c. Heroin?
- d. Methamphetamine?
Our team of criminal defense lawyers in Charlotte, once properly retained for legal representation, will carefully examine the background of how you were arrested or why police chose to charge you with a criminal offense.
If the investigating officer did not have Reasonable Suspicion or Probable Cause, there may be legal grounds to file a Motion to Suppress and/or a Motion to Dismiss.
Each case is different.
Your case deserves the attention of an experienced criminal lawyer.
Call the Powers Law Firm PA today at: 704-342-4357
You may also email Bill Powers at: Bill@CarolinaAttorneys.com
We help people with criminal charges in Mecklenburg County, DWI charges, and other serious felony matters in Charlotte, Monroe, Gastonia, Mooresville, Statesville, and Salisbury NC.