There are many reasons that people in North Carolina may use drugs. It could be because they have a medical condition or suffered an injury and were prescribed medication to help alleviate pain or help heal an illness. When people use drugs in accordance with a prescription it is legal and can be very helpful as well. However, people also use drugs without prescriptions or use drugs that are never prescribed simply to relax or escape reality for a period of time. If people use drugs in this way, it is illegal and people could face drug charges and serious consequences as a result.
These consequences can include jail time, fines, probation and other penalties. In addition to that people will also end up with a drug conviction on their criminal record, which can have serious consequences for people when they try and get a job or an apartment.
Many people who use drugs develop addictions to them and it is not as simple as just deciding they will stop using. They may need additional help quitting and the law recognizes this. Therefore, for certain first time drug possession crimes people may be able to avoid being convicted. People would be placed on probation and if they complete all requirements, the charges could be dismissed. The basic requirements include:
- The person does not have a previous felony conviction of any kind or a previous drug related conviction whether it is a misdemeanor or felony;
- The person was charged with misdemeanor drug possession, drug paraphernalia possession or felony possession without the intent to sell;
- The person must be placed on probation for a minimum of one year and follow all conditions of probation including paying any fines; and
- Complete a drug education course within 150 days of being placed on probation.
A dismissal of the charges means that the person will not have a conviction on their record and it cannot be used against them in the future. People will also retain civil rights that they may lose if they were convicted of a felony. It gives people a chance to learn from their mistake without ruining their future.
Many people are charged with drug crimes in North Carolina each year. When people are charged, they are not automatically guilty though. Even those who may not qualify to be able to avoid a conviction as stated above, may be able to avoid a conviction. There are defenses that may be available such as whether the police stopped and searched people legally. Experienced attorneys understand people’s rights and may be able to help protect them.