State and Federal Drug Charges
Attorney Ben Hiltzheimer is an experienced criminal defense attorney with over a decade of experience litigating complex criminal cases on behalf of the accused.
Whether you are charged with simple possession of marijuana, cocaine, heroin, or other controlled substance, or a more serious charge involving sale or distribution (PWISD), your first step should be to contact an experienced drug defense lawyer to fight for you both in and out of court.
First Time Drug-Offenders: N.C.G.S. 90-96
If you’re charged with a first-time drug offense under North Carolina state law, you may be eligible for a “conditional discharge” under N.C.G.S. 90-96, which allows a defendant to enter into a plea agreement without incurring a criminal conviction, if he or she successfully completes probation. In short, any individual with no prior felony convictions and no prior drug or paraphernalia convictions of any kind may plead guilty (or be convicted at trial) of any misdemeanor or felony drug possession charge under N.C.G.S. 90-95(a)(3), and be placed on probation without judgment being entered by the judge. If the defendant successfully completes probation, the court will dismiss the charge and the case will not result in a criminal conviction. If the defendant violates probation or otherwise fails to complete it successfully, on the other hand, a judgment may be entered and a criminal conviction will result.
If you’re not eligible for a conditional discharge or other form of deferred prosecution in your state drug case, you still have options. There may be constitutional challenges available relating to the stop/detention that led to the discovery of the alleged drugs in your case. There may be constitutional issues relating to your arrest, or a search that was executed in your case, either with or without a warrant.
There may be trial defenses available relating to the government’s ability to prove possession, or the act of sale or distribution that is alleged in your case. A skilled trial attorney may be able to develop a creative defense theory in a case that appears hopeless on its face.
Federal Drug Charges: 18 USC 841
If you are charged with a federal drug crime, the stakes are typically higher and the potential penalties far more severe than a state prosecution even for identical alleged conduct. You may face mandatory minimum sentences that take discretion out of the hands of the sentencing judge, which means you need a skilled attorney at your side from day one to advocate on your behalf.
Contact an experienced trial attorney today for a free, confidential consultation on your case at (919) 899-9404.