Facing drug charges in North Carolina?
Curious to understand what legal consequences you could face in the future?
Being arrested with controlled substances in the state of North Carolina can be very serious and can impact your future in many ways.
If you are facing drug charges, it is important that you know your rights and what to expect!
What Determines the Severity of Drug Charges?
One of the main things that will determine the severity of your charges is the type of controlled substance you were found in possession of. A controlled substance is any drug which has been scheduled under the law.
The specific schedules associated with various drugs determine how severe the charges are for being caught with them. For any type of drug crimes, from simple possession to manufacture, intent to distribute or trafficking, your punishment will be determined according to the schedule of the drug involved.
For instance, a Schedule I drug is considered the most severe. A Schedule VI is considered the least severe. It is important to remember that there are many factors that can impact the severity of your charges.
Having a large quantity of a given drug could increase the severity of your charges significantly.
The following table provides insight into how drugs are scheduled in North Carolina and what kinds of charges they can bring:
Schedule I drugs are considered the most dangerous in the eyes of the law. They are considered to have the greatest likelihood of abuse.
Heroin, LSD, Crack Cocaine, MDMA are some examples of Schedule I drugs. These are considered Class I felony charges and can carry mandatory sentences of 3-8 months in state prison in addition to hefty fines.
Schedule II drugs are considered less dangerous in the eyes of the law due to the fact that they carry some medical benefit.
Nonetheless, they are highly addictive if abused. When used unlawfully, possession of Methamphetamine, Cocaine, Opium is against the law. These are considered a Class I Misdemeanor and can carry sentences of 6-12 months in jail in addition to hefty fines.
Schedule III drugs are less dangerous in the eyes of the law because they carry some medical benefit and are potentially addictive.
Substances like anabolic steroids, ketamine or barbiturates can fall into this category. These are also considered a Class I Misdemeanor and can carry sentences of 6-12 months in jail in addition to hefty fines.
Schedule IV drugs have a lower potential for abuse and clear medical uses. Dependency is very possible. Some types of these drugs include Xanax, Valium, and Rohypnol.
These are also considered a Class I Misdemeanor and can carry sentences of 6-12 months in jail in addition to hefty fines.
Schedule V drugs have less potential for addiction and abuse than Schedule VI drugs. They have clearly established medical uses. Dependency is not likely. Codeine cough syrup is an example of this type of controlled substance. Possession is considered a Class II Misdemeanor and can lead to 30 days to 6 months in jail in addition to fines
Schedule VI drugs are considered to have low danger though no accepted medical use. This classification is becoming challenging given the rise of medical marijuana.
Typically, marijuana products such as hash and hash oil would fall under this classification though increasingly they are being viewed as having medical benefit. Nonetheless, at this time, marijuana and all associated Schedule VI drugs are considered in the eyes of the law of North Carolina, to have no established medical value.
Marijuana drug charges in North Carolina can still be serious. Possession is considered a Class III Misdemeanor and can result in up to 30 days in jail.
Important Terms Related to Drug Charges
- Knowingly: The state makes a distinction between individuals who are aware that they are wrongfully in possession of drugs and those who may have been coerced or otherwise mislead.
- Possession: When Felony charges are rendered, an individual may be charged with actual or constructive possession of a controlled substance.
- Actual Possession: If an individual knowingly has drugs on their person or on their property, they may be charged with actual possession.
- Constructive Possession: This charge is more complicated but refers to situations when individuals may have control or interest in drugs but are not actually caught with them in their possession. This charge is harder to prove in court.
- Sale: A drug charge may be related to sales even if money is not exchanged. As long as there is an exchange of a controlled substance for something else of value, a sale has taken place.
- Delivery: Delivery may actually occur or it may be a constructive charge similar in scope to constructive possession.
- Manufacture: This charge is used if an individual is involved in creating or packaging drugs for the purpose of selling them.
- Transport: If someone is found to have moved a controlled substance any distance they may be charged with transport.
Types of Drug Charges in North Carolina
Drug charges in North Carolina depend on the Schedule of the drug involved as well as the specifics of what the law interprets the intent of the individual to be. Some of the important terms related to drug crimes are used to apply actual charges.
Some of the common controlled substance misdemeanors in North Carolina are:
Some of the most common controlled substance felonies in North Carolina are:
- Manufacturing Schedule I or II CDS – class H felony
- Manufacturing Methamphetamine – class C felony
- Distributing Schedule I or II CDS – class G felony
- Manufacturing Schedule III, IV, or V CDS – Class I felony
- Distributing Schedule III, IV, or V CDS – Class H felony
Facing a Drug Charge?
There is no reason to delay!
If you are planning for a criminal court case, it is essential that you secure a qualified attorney to take up your defense. Every day that passes is lost time towards finding the perfect defense strategy for your situation.
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