If police accuse you of possessing a certain amount of marijuana, methamphetamine or other controlled substances, the chances are good that they will arrest you on drug trafficking charges. The amount you must be allegedly in possession of is relatively small. In North Carolina, all it takes is 10 pounds of marijuana or just four ounces of heroin, to cite two examples, to lead to trafficking charges.
The law has several trafficking-related crimes, and it is common for someone accused of trafficking to be hit with numerous charges at once. With North Carolina’s strict mandatory minimum sentencing laws, you could be facing years in prison for, say, 11 pounds of marijuana.
Medications that are legal when properly prescribed but illegal otherwise can cause similarly serious and complex legal problems. In a recent example, two North Carolinians were arrested on a total of 338 charges related to an alleged opioid scheme.
Hundreds of drug charges against two people
The Moore County Sheriff’s Department accuses the two of illegally obtaining and distributing 1,385 doses of the opioid Oxycodone and 130 doses of Dextroamphetamine, an anti-ADHD drug. Among the charges against the pair, one of whom is a nurse practitioner, there are:
- 44 counts of obtaining a controlled substance through fraud or forgery
- 92 counts of trafficking opium or heroin
- 92 counts of conspiracy to traffic opium or heroin
- 30 counts of possessing a Schedule II controlled substance
- 27 counts of dispensing medication without a license
- 13 counts of a medical practitioner intentionally dispensing a controlled substance diverted for their own use
This dizzying list of drug charges may be intended, in part, to intimidate the defendants. Most criminal cases never go to trial. Prosecutors are often reluctant to risk failing to prove the charges against the defendant beyond a reasonable doubt. So they use their considerable power to charge individuals with multiple crimes as leverage to get them to plead guilty to lesser charges in a plea bargain.
Using every advantage available to help you
This can give you leverage as well if you ever get charged with drug crimes. An experienced defense attorney will be able to apply their knowledge of the law and the realities of the process to the evidence and your situation. Then they can fight for the best possible outcome to your case.