Drug crimes are some of the most common criminal charges in North Carolina. Some people are arrested and convicted of drug crimes when they have a substance abuse problem and are addicted to controlled substances. Others are falsely charged with drug crimes for being in the wrong place at the wrong time. Anyone arrested and charged with a drug crime has the right to legal representation.
Experienced criminal defense can help individuals in North Carolina to avoid a criminal conviction, stay out of jail, or get a reduced sentence. If you have any questions about drug crimes in North Carolina, contact the Caulder & Valentine Law Firm, PLLC for help.
North Carolina Drug Crimes
Drug crimes in North Carolina are generally based on the specific controlled substance and the use or purpose of drug possession. Even possession or sale of prescription drugs without a license or prescription is illegal. Drug crimes in North Carolina include:
- Drug possession and possession of a controlled substance
- Drug possession with intent to sell or distribute
- Possession of drug paraphernalia
- Drug manufacturing
- Marijuana cultivation
- Drug trafficking
- Driving while intoxicated (DWI) by drugs
- Prescription drug fraud
Controlled substances are classified by schedule. Drug schedules range from Schedule I to Schedule VI, with Schedule I drugs considered to have no medical use and a high potential for abuse. Schedule I drugs include heroin, GHB, LSD, ecstasy/MDMA, and peyote.
Schedule II drugs are considered to have some recognized medical use but still a high potential for abuse. Schedule II drugs include opium, oxycodone, codeine, morphine, cocaine, and fentanyl.
Schedule III drugs have some medical use and a lower potential for abuse than Schedule I or II drugs. Schedule III drugs include barbiturates, and anabolic steroids.
Schedule IV and Schedule V drugs generally have a low potential for abuse. Schedule IV and V drugs include common prescription drugs like Valium, Xanax, Ativan, and Ambien.
Marijuana is classified as a Schedule IV controlled substance, which the law considers to have “no currently accepted medical use in the United States, or a relatively low potential for abuse in terms of risk to public health.”
Drug Crime Penalties in North Carolina
Most drug crimes, apart from possession of a small amount of drugs, are felony offenses. A felony conviction does not just mean more time in jail, a felony criminal record can impact the rest of your life. The collateral consequences of a felony conviction can affect:
- Job opportunities,
- Housing options,
- Professional licensing,
- Gun ownership rights,
- Jury duty, and
- Government jobs.
Marijuana Possession in North Carolina
The majority of states currently allow medical marijuana use. About 20% of states even allow for recreational use of marijuana. In North Carolina, there is only a narrow allowance of medical marijuana use for epilepsy patients. This means that for most people in North Carolina, getting caught with a marijuana can mean an arrest.
Personal possession of marijuana in North Carolina is a misdemeanor offense. Possession of more than 1.5 ounces is a felony, which could result in incarceration for 3 to 8 months and a fine of up to $1,000.
Possession of marijuana with the intent to sell, sale or delivery of marijuana, or marijuana cultivation are felony offenses. The penalties for sale, distribution, or cultivation of marijuana are based on the amount of marijuana involved and the individual's prior criminal history. The penalties may also increase based on sale being near a school, or sale to minor or pregnant women.
Drug Court Alternative in North Carolina
Drug court may be an option for individuals charged with drug crimes in North Carolina. Drug Treatment Court (DTC) can be an alternative to jail for qualified individuals who are addicted to drugs and/or alcohol. DTC involves drug treatment with the goal of reducing recidivism and reducing drug dependency. Drug courts may be available for non-violent offenders who are diagnosed as chemically dependent on drugs and/or alcohol.
Drug court is not a “get out of jail free” card. DTC requires regular drug treatment sessions, group and individual counseling, random drug tests, and a number of other restrictions. Talk to your North Carolina criminal defense attorney about your eligibility for drug court and whether it may be the right option to avoid jail time.
Questions About Drug Charges in Shelby, North Carolina
Drug charges can put a permanent mark on your record. An arrest for drug possession or drug charges does not have to end in a conviction. If you or a family member is facing drug charges, contact the Caulder & Valentine Law Firm, PLLC. Contact us online or by phone at 704-470-2440 today for a consultation.