(Raleigh, NC)

20 years to life in prison.

That’s what our client faced if he had been convicted of conspiracy to distribute crack cocaine. That’s how long he would have spent locked in a small room in prison, because he had a previous felony drug conviction.

Like the majority of cases, this one settled before it reached trial. And because most cases settle before they reach trial, much of the art and skill of lawyering at the federal level is at the negotiation stage. Here, everything depends on the defense lawyer’s ability to get the best results possible for his or her client given the facts of the case.

This means a thorough understanding of the law, a thorough knowledge of the facts of the case, and – paradoxically, given how most cases never go to trial – a demonstrated track record of taking past cases to trial.

Actual Outcome

Even though our client faced 20 to life, the ultimate outcome was 66 months*; we shaved roughly 15 years off the potential minimum penalty that the prosecution likely would have asked for had it won a conviction.

This was a concrete win for our client and for Roberts Marcilliat & Mills PLLC.

How We Made a Difference

One of the major challenges in this case was our client’s prior felony conviction involving drugs. The judge could have “enhanced” the potential sentence, or made it worse, but we persuaded the prosecution to agree not to enhance our client’s potential sentence. Ultimately, the judge allowed our client considerable leniency.

This kind of result does not come easily.

Conspiracy to distribute crack cocaine is a serious federal charge. It’s one thing to be accused of possession, which is bad enough. It’s quite another to be accused of sale or distribution.

Cocaine is a Schedule I substance, meaning that the government believes cocaine has no valid medical purpose and has a high potential for abuse. Because of this (especially when it comes to crack, which has historically been punished more harshly than powder), federal sentencing law is designed to keep drug offenders locked away for long periods of time, even for crimes that are nonviolent in nature.

If you face state or federal drug charges, the North Carolina attorneys of Roberts Marcilliat & Mills PLLC offer a free consultation to those who need legal representation. Contact us online at or call 919-838-6643.

*DISCLAIMER: The cases, facts and outcomes discussed in this press release are illustrative of the matters handled by the firm. Actual case results depend on a variety of factors unique to each case. Not all of the firm’s case results are included on this site. The outcome of a particular case cannot be predicated upon a lawyer’s or law firm’s past results because prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome.

North Carolina v. J.S.
Indecent Exposure
Potentially Facing: 30 days in Jail
Result: Case Dismissed

Roberts Marcilliat & Mills PLLC acted quickly, meeting with the DA’s office to mitigate on behalf of their client, who had no prior criminal history. The Defendant had cooperated fully with the officer. At defense counsel’s prompting, the ADA spoke with his Law Enforcement Officers and determined that Defendant had been through enough already. Dismissed on the first court date.