The possession of a controlled substance with the intent to manufacture, sell or distribute is a felony in North Carolina. This means that if found guilty of this crime, a person could face years behind bars. If you have been charged with this offense, it is important you understand North Carolina's laws and the potential penalties you could face if convicted.
North Carolina Controlled Substance Classifications
A “controlled substance” refers to a chemical or a drug that's manufacturing, possession, and use is regulated by the federal government. The state of North Carolina categorizes controlled substances according to a schedule; the schedule organizes the drugs according to how hazardous or harmless they are upon consumption. Schedule I controlled substances are deemed the most dangerous and Schedule VI drugs are considered the least dangerous. A drug's classification plays a pivotal role in the severity of the potential legal ramifications an alleged perpetrator will face if convicted of a drug crime. Below is a detailed list of North Carolina's controlled substance drug schedule:
Schedule I: These types of drugs have a very high potential for abuse. Some of the controlled substances in this schedule are suitable for medical use, but with very harsh restrictions. The abuse of Schedule I drugs will likely lead to physical and psychological dependence. Some examples of these substances are heroine, ecstasy, methaqualone, opiates, peyote and GHB.
Schedule II: These types of controlled substances have a pretty high potential for abuse, however, not as high as Schedule I drugs. Some of these substances are used for medical purposes, but under extreme restrictions. Users who abuse these drugs will likely become physically and psychologically dependent on them. Some examples of Schedule II drugs are raw opium, cocaine, hydrocodone, morphine, methamphetamine, ritalin and methadone.
Schedule III: These types of controlled substances have a relatively high potential for abuse, but less than the drugs in Schedules I and II. These substances are widely accepted for medical uses and drug users who abuse them are expected to have low physical dependence but high psychological dependence. A few examples of Schedule III drugs are anabolic steroids, ketamine and some types of barbiturates.
Schedule IV: These types of controlled substances have a low potential for abuse but widespread accepted medical use and the abuse of these drugs may lead to limited physical and psychological dependence. Some well-known Schedule IV drugs are barbital, Darvon, Xanax, valium, clonazepam, and Rohypnol.
Schedule V: These types of drugs have a lower potential for abuse than Schedule IV drugs and also have widespread accepted medical purposes with little to no restrictions. Drug users may experience limited psychological and physical dependence on these drugs. An example of a Schedule V drug is over-the-counter medicines that contain codeine.
Schedule VI: These types of controlled substances have an incredibly low potential for abuse, but have no accepted medical use. Users who attempt to abuse these drugs will experience very limited physical or psychological dependence. Some examples of Schedule VI drugs are marijuana (hotly debated), hashish and hashish oil.
North Carolina Felony Drug Offense Elements
According to North Carolina statute (N.C.G.S 90-95(a)(1)), it is a felony drug offense if an individual knowingly possesses a controlled substance with the intent to manufacture, sell, or deliver it. Although this crime seems simple, there are multiple elements that a prosecutor must prove in order for an alleged perpetrator to be found guilty. For the purposes of this article, we'll examine the terms mentioned in this statutory law.
When an individual “knowingly” does something, it means that the person is aware of his or her actions. In cases involving felony drug crimes, this means that a person charged knew that they were going to partake in either the manufacturing, selling or delivering of a controlled substance. This element is proven by witness accounts, things said by a defendant or even the behaviors exhibited by a defendant prior to his or her arrest.
Unknown to many, there are actually two ways to possess an illegal drug. A person may have an actual possession or a constructive possession of a controlled substance. Proof of either of these possessions can cause a defendant to be convicted.
Actual possession: A person has an actual possession of a drug when he or she (1) has the drug physically on his or her person; and (2) is aware of the presence of the drug. An example of an actual possession would be if a bag of cocaine was found in the pocket of a suspect, and there was evidence proving that the individual was on the way to make a sale.
Constructive possession: This type of possession is more difficult to prove. A person is in constructive possession of a drug when he or she has the intent to maintain control over a drug even though it is not physically located on him or her. Therefore, factors like a drug's proximity and location are considered when determining if a person constructively possessed a controlled substance.
Penalties for the Possession of a Controlled Substance with Intent to Manufacture, Sell, or Deliver
The penalties for this offense vary depending on the classification of the drug.
According to North Carolina statutes, the possession with the intent to manufacture, sell or deliver a controlled substance that falls under Schedules I and II is a class H felony. This offense is punishable by up to 39 months in prison.
The possession with the intent to manufacture, sell, or deliver a drug that falls under Schedule III, IV, V, or VI is a Class I felony. This crime carries penalties of up to 24 months in prison.
Experienced Criminal Defense Attorneys
If you have been charged with a felony drug offense, it may seem like the odds are stacked against you. With the help of skilled legal professionals, the chances of reducing and even dismissing these drug charges are maximized. Contact the attorneys at Caulder & Valentine Law Firm today for a consultation.