Everybody can use some help now and then. And it’s no different for our boys (and girls) in blue. As capable as they are, even Greensboro police officers can benefit from a little support from the community. And support is exactly what they have been getting from the Crime Stoppers program—the community-based program that enables citizens to report crimes anonymously and receive potential cash rewards if their tips lead to arrests.
In December 2014 alone, the Crime Stoppers program received 62 tips that resulted in 118 charges. Clearly, this program has been making a huge difference.
Crime Stoppers and Drug Crimes
At first glance, the Crime Stoppers program may not seem too significant—after all, people have always been free to call in tips to local police departments. But somehow (maybe with its unique cash incentive), Crime Stoppers has set itself apart from other neighborhood watch-type programs. According to the Crime Stoppers website, the program has “resulted in the recovery of more than $20 million in drugs and property in Guilford County alone” since its inception in 1981.
Clearly, there’s no question that the Crime Stoppers program is making things more dangerous for anyone who may be involved with drug crimes.
Even the News-Record recently reported that Crime Stoppers has been particularly useful in drug cases, since the program reportedly led to six narcotics-related charges in December alone.
The Problem with Putting Power into the Hands of the People
The Crime Stoppers program is like having police officers stationed at every home and on every street corner. It’s no longer just those red and blue flashing lights that you have to look out for—now you also may be facing suspicion from your neighbors, friends, and even the stranger across the street.
While the Crime Stoppers program is a great way to get the community involved and increase crime-fighting effectiveness, it could put a bit too much power in the hands of the people. This can be dangerous in a number of ways:
- Over-eager citizens might let this power get to their heads and could take it upon themselves to act as guardians of the city
- Anyone with a grudge can call in to get you in trouble
- The promise of anonymity may make people feel too powerful
- Someone may call in with a tip that turns out to be based on faulty information that they either misheard or misunderstood
Despite these areas for possible mistakes, the Crime Stoppers program doesn’t seem to be going anywhere. Because the program has already been around for over three decades and has led to so many arrests, it’s likely that it will stick around for many more years to come.
But even if you’re facing a charge as a result of a Crime Stoppers tip, it’s important to remember that it’s not the same thing as a conviction.Click To Tweet The fact that the program has been around for so long also means that smart Greensboro defense lawyers know how to call these tips into question and protect your rights.
North Carolina Drug Laws
If a Crime Stoppers tip has led to your arrest, there are a few things you need to know about North Carolina drug laws.
In our state, drug crimes can be either misdemeanors or felonies, depending on which type of drug was involved, which action was involved (e.g., possession, manufacture, or selling), and your criminal record.
Offenses that are considered drug crimes range from possession of drug paraphernalia to intending to sell drugs like heroin or methamphetamines. But there are other actions that qualify as drug crimes, too, including:
- Violating trafficking laws
- Acting as an accessory to others who are storing or transporting drugs
- Cultivating any number of various drugs
These are only a few of the many drug laws in North Carolina. There are countless reasons you could be nabbed for drug crimes, and the consequences are serious.
Don’t Let a Crime Stoppers Tip Ruin Your Life
Any drug conviction, even if it’s your first one, can be serious and can have a major impact on the rest of your life. In addition to fines, jail time, and possible probation, your good name could be tarnished and your family may wind up suffering beneath the burden of public humiliation following your conviction.
Luckily, a knowledgeable lawyer can help. With so many factors that play in to a drug conviction, there are a number of methods a lawyer can use to clear your name and make sure one mistake does not ruin your life. If your arrest was due to a Crime Stoppers tip, don’t lose hope. Call Schlosser & Pritchett today to discuss ways you may be able to defend yourself.
About the Author
Attorney Mike Schlosser represents victims of personal injury, those charged with a crime, as well as those facing traffic charges. A former Guilford County, North Carolina District Attorney, Schlosser has been in private practice at the Law Firm of Schlosser & Pritchett since 1983 and has been a member of the North Carolina State Bar since 1973.