You may have been relaxing at home when police showed up at your door with a search warrant, then wound up facing arrest after they claimed to have found an illegal substance in your home. Maybe you were pulled over in a traffic stop and were taken into custody for suspected drug crimes. If you have never been arrested before, you might wonder what is going to happen if you go to trial for a felony drug crime?
The penalties for conviction of a felony drug crime in North Carolina can be severe. The more you know ahead of time about the adjudication process, the better equipped you will be to plan a defense strategy and make informed decisions.
You might be eligible for a conditional discharge
In North Carolina, if you are convicted of a first-offense felony drug crime, you may be eligible for a conditional discharge, which means that the judge is able to grant a lighter sentence, such as probation, which, by serving, can lead to a dismissal of your case.
You must not have had any prior felony convictions or conditional discharges. It is a benefit granted at the court’s discretion to those who have, until that point in time, held a clean criminal record.
You are guaranteed an opportunity to refute charges in court
You are presumed innocent of felony drug charges unless proved otherwise in court. You have a right to present a defense. Also, if you believe that a personal rights violation took place leading up to or following your arrest, you can request a case dismissal.
Situations that constitute personal rights violations include unlawful search and seizure, excessive use of force by police and numerous other issues.
You might have to take time off work
If you are facing felony drug crime charges, you will be required to attend an arraignment, which is the first legal proceeding following your arrest. If your case goes to trial, you will no doubt have numerous court dates. Resolving all of the legal issues associated with your arrest and subsequent drug charges may necessitate taking time off work, which may or may not put your job at risk.
You do not have to navigate the criminal justice system alone
When facing a first-offense felony drug crime charge, you might feel anxious and worried about the potential outcome of court proceedings. The good news is that you may seek counsel so that you are not relying on your own instincts or limited knowledge of the legal system to guide you.