During an arrest or hearing, you may hear the term “aggravated drug possession,” but may not understand what it means as it applies to your case.
A prosecutor must prove that there was “possession” beyond a reasonable doubt that a defendant knowingly had possession of the drug and knew it was a controlled substance. Any additional factors can turn a simple misdemeanor drug possession into something more serious.
Types Of Possession
As we’ve mentioned previously, North Carolina has two types of possession:
- Actual possession, where the drug is on your person and within your reach, and you’re aware of it
- Constructive possession, where the drug is available to you but you don’t have actual possession, such as riding in a car but unaware that the drugs are available.
The level of drug possession in North Carolina depends on how much you were carrying at the time of arrest. Higher amounts of nearly any type of drug (including marijuana) or a combination of drugs and fillers can escalate charges to drug trafficking, a much more serious charge.
The Aggravating Factor
In the case of drug crimes, “aggravated drug possession” means that there are additional mitigating factors in the case (“aggravating factors”) that make the crime worse. Punishments such as jail time are increased with the “aggravating” aspects of the arrest.
There are multiple factors that may accompany a North Carolina drug charge that can elevate it to “aggravated drug possession” meaning more serious than it would be otherwise. Aggravating factors for drug cases in North Carolina include:
- Sale or delivery of a controlled substance to a minor
- Previous drug convictions
- Manufacturing methamphetamine in the presence of someone under 18, where the minor lives, or exposing the minor to meth, its ingredients or byproducts
- Manufacturing meth in a dwelling that is part of more than 4 contiguous dwellings (such as an apartment or condominium complex)
- A minor who has a previous arrest and/or conviction for an offense that would be a Class A, B1, B2, C, D, or E felony if committed by an adult.
Any aggravating factors can also bring additional charges, such as child endangerment if arrested with drugs near a school.
What an Aggravated Drug Possession Charge Can Mean In Court
Aggravating factors can turn a misdemeanor into a felony, especially increase your jail sentence as well as other penalties, such as fines. Instead of the standard time periods for jail time, the “aggravated range” is longer than standard range for the crime and conviction.
Prior drug convictions may also be considered “aggravating factors,” increasing penalties and jail time. This will depend on how many prior convictions you may have, and what type of convictions.
Aggravated Drug Possession Defense In Raleigh, NC
In his previous role as a Wake County prosecutor, Dewey P. Brinkley oversaw the conviction of individuals accused of criminal charges including aggravated drug possession. Now as an experienced Raleigh criminal defense attorney, he can aggressively defend you in court and fight for a better outcome. He can defend you against North Carolina drug charges, fight any wrongful charges and work for a more reasonable sentence if convicted. Call the law offices of Dewey P. Brinkley today for a free initial consultation to discuss your case at (919) 832-0307 (or use our online contact form.)