State v. J.A. – First Degree Rape
A web of highways and interstates criss-cross North Carolina, connecting major cities like Charlotte and Raleigh, Wilmington and Greensboro, as well as other areas throughout the state. Both I-85 and I-77 pass right through Charlotte, creating thoroughfares for travelers up and down the East Coast.
This area is also considered a High-Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA) and is targeted by local, state, and federal authorities as a hub spot for the transport of illegal drugs in and out of North Carolina. Geographically targeted policing often means that innocent people are swept up in a large net that was cast with the intent of stopping actual drug traffickers. It also means that those who may commit a drug offense will find themselves charged with trafficking when simple possession or possession with intent to sell or deliver was the appropriate charge.
Manufacturing, selling, distributing, transporting, or simply possessing a large quantity of a controlled substance can be prosecuted as a drug trafficking crime. In addition, if you are believed to be working with another person or people in doing any of these things, you may face charges of conspiracy to traffic drugs.
Possession of the following minimum quantities of drugs will likely result in a drug trafficking charge:
Drug trafficking in North Carolina is a felony drug offense and will trigger the application of mandatory minimum sentencing. If you are convicted of drug trafficking in North Carolina, you will spend time in prison, even if this is your first offense. The circumstances that lead to a drug trafficking charge or a conspiracy to traffic drugs can also lead to federal drug charges. Trafficking is a serious criminal offense.
North Carolina has adopted a structured sentencing system. A criminal offense is classed at a specific level by statute; upon conviction, an individual’s criminal sentence will be based on this structured system and any prior criminal history. Mandatory minimum sentences imposed on drug trafficking convictions are substantially higher than those called for under the structured sentencing system.
For example, a drug trafficking conviction involving 10-50 pounds of marijuana is a Class H felony. Under the structured sentencing guidelines, this would mean a possible sentence of 5-6 months. It does not. The mandatory minimum sentence for trafficking at least 10 pounds of marijuana but less than 50 is 25-39 months.
The minimum sentences that can be expected for a trafficking conviction are as follows:
Each mandatory minimum drug trafficking sentence also includes a mandatory minimum fine.
Prison time for trafficking drugs can quickly add up. A drug trafficking sentence must be served consecutively (or one right after another) rather than concurrently (at the same time) with any other existing sentence for a separate offense. You should also expect to spend several months under post-release supervision (PRS) after completing a drug trafficking prison sentence.
A conviction for conspiracy to traffic, rather than for actual trafficking, will be sentenced at the same mandatory minimum level as the underlying crime. However, attempted drug trafficking is sentenced using the structured sentencing grid rather than mandatory minimums. A conviction for attempted drug trafficking should mean a substantially lesser sentence than that for the completed crime.
The best drug trafficking defense strategy forces the state or federal prosecutor to prove every element of a drug trafficking defense. If the prosecutor cannot do so, an experienced defense lawyer should be able to argue for dismissal, negotiate a favorable plea for reduced charges or fight the drug trafficking charges at trial, depending on the circumstances of the case.
Issues that your drug trafficking defense attorney should examine when evaluating your options to create your best trafficking defense strategy should include:
Choosing the right defense lawyer is extremely important in any drug trafficking case. You should consider whether the attorney has experience handling drug trafficking cases and whether he or she is licensed to practice in both state and federal courts. Often, drug trafficking crimes may be charged as either a North Carolina drug offense or as a federal drug offense – your attorney should be prepared for either scenario.
This informational article is provided by the drug trafficking defense attorneys of Roberts Marcilliat & Mills PLLC, a law firm dedicated to protecting the rights of the accused throughout North Carolina. To learn more about the firm, please visit our family of criminal defense websites. Like us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, or +1 us on Google+ to get the latest updates on safety and criminal defense matters in North Carolina.
State v. B.S.: Not Guilty Verdict in First Degree Murder Case.
In this case, our client was charged with First Degree Murder in connection with a “drive-by” shooting that occurred in Charlotte, NC. The State’s evidence included GPS ankle monitoring data linking our client was at the scene of the crime and evidence that our client confessed to an inmate while in jail. Nonetheless, we convinced a jury to unanimously find our client Not Guilty. He was released from jail the same day.
State v. S.G.: First Degree Murder Charge Dismissed.
Our client was charged with First Degree for the shooting death related to alleged breaking and entering. The State’s evidence included a co-defendant alleging that our client was the shooter. After conducting a thorough investigation with the use of a private investigator, we persuaded the State to dismiss entirely the case against our client.
State v. B.D.: First Degree Murder Charged Dismissed.
After conducting an investigation and communicating with the prosecutor about the facts and circumstances indicating that our client acted in self-defense, the case was dismissed and deemed a justifiable homicide.
State v. I.R.: Reduction from First Degree Murder to Involuntary Manslaughter and Concealment of Death..
Our client was charged with the First Degree Murder of a young lady by drug overdose. After investigating the decedent’s background and hiring a preeminent expert toxicologist to fight the State’s theory of death, we were able to negotiate this case down from Life in prison to 5 years in prison, with credit for time served.
State v. J.G.:
Our client was charged with First Degree Murder related to a “drug deal gone bad.” After engaging the services of a private investigator and noting issues with the State’s case, we were able to negotiate a plea for our client that avoided a Life sentence and required him to serve only 12 years.
State v. J.A. – First Degree Rape
State v. B.S. – First Degree Murder
State v. E.D. – Identity Theft
State v. J.A. – First Degree Rape
Each case is different and must be evaluated on its individual facts. We work hard to assess each case individually. Prior results do not guarantee any future outcome.
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