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Just about everyone has heard that terms "drug possession" and "drug trafficking." However, people might not know exactly what those terms mean until they are facing drug charges themselves.

While finding a skilled and experienced criminal defense attorney is an important step that anyone facing drug charges should consider, it's also crucial to understand what got you to this point -- and how you might be able to minimize the consequences. Here are four basic things to know regarding drug laws in the U.S. and North Carolina.

Charges can vary depending on several factors. Depending on how much of a drug is involved, and which drug, a person could be charged with a misdemeanor or a felony. Being charged with having a small amount of drugs that appear to be for personal use is substantially different from having a large amount that prosecutors might suspect is to be sold and/or distributed.

Penalties can increase for past convictions. Depending on the situation, misdemeanor charges might be upgraded to felony charges if the person in question has a previous drug conviction on his or her record.

Ignorance isn't a defense for violating the law. Punishment can be more serious for distributing a controlled substance to a child between the ages of 13 and 16, and even more serious yet for children under age 13. Additionally, punishment can increase for distributing drugs to a pregnant woman or girl. State statutes specifically say that someone who has been charged in this manner can't be excused for not knowing the other person involved was younger than 16 or pregnant.

Minimum sentence laws are very strict. North Carolina laws regarding possession of large amounts of certain drugs indicate minimum prison sentences of more than 18 years and fines of $250,000.

Don't wait until your situation spirals out of control. Contact an experienced Raleigh criminal defense attorney today.

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Hale Law Firm, PC
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