North Carolina enforces notoriously strict penalties for those charged and convicted for trafficking controlled substances. In the event that a person is charged with selling, distributing or transporting drugs, he or she will face a mandatory prison sentence and hefty fines, even for a first offense.

North Carolina Drug Trafficking Laws

Drug trafficking laws in North Carolina are somewhat distinguished from federal trafficking laws and regulations in other states. Unlike many other trafficking laws, the underlying offense in North Carolina drug trafficking crimes is possession. The quantity of drugs possessed by a suspect will determine whether a possession charge will become a charge for trafficking.

One of the most jarring aspects of North Carolina's legislation is that prosecutors don't have the obligation to prove that an alleged perpetrator had an intent to sell, distribute or transport a drug to convict him or her of this crime. A person with no prior history of trafficking a drug could be charged with this crime for having an illegal quantity of drugs that they intended to consume for personal use.

Drug Trafficking Penalties

The penalties for drug trafficking in North Carolina are strictly based on the type of drug that was discovered and the quantity of that drug that was possessed by an alleged perpetrator. The most common drug trafficking offenses that are charged in the state often involve marijuana, heroin, and cocaine. Below are examples of the mandatory minimums that the state enforces for possessing substantial quantities of these substances.

Trafficking Marijuana

In order to be charged with trafficking marijuana, a person has to possess at least 10 pounds of marijuana. The possession of 10 to 49 pounds of marijuana carries penalties of 25 to 30 months of imprisonment and a $5,000 fine. The possession of 50 to 1,999 pounds of marijuana carries penalties of 35 to 42 months in prison and a $25,000 fine. The maximum penalty for a marijuana trafficking offense carries penalties of up to 219 months in prison and a $200,000 fine.

Trafficking Heroin

A person can be convicted of this offense if he or she possesses at least 4 grams of heroin. This could result in up to 74 months in prison and a $500,000 fine. The maximum penalty for this offense carries penalties of 279 months in prison and a $250,000 fine. Heroine has the highest penalty range within the realm of drug trafficking charges.

Trafficking Cocaine

A defendant will face a trafficking conviction if he or she possesses a minimum of 28 grams of cocaine. Larger quantities could lead to a penalty of 222 months in a state prison and a fine of $250,000.

It's important to note that In North Carolina, the possibility of drugs being mixed with other substances is not considered when determining the quantity of drugs possessed by a defendant. Therefore, if for example, a person has 28 grams of heroin including filler, a person will still be convicted of this offense and face the stringent repercussions associated with this charge.

Experienced North Carolina Drug Trafficking Attorneys

If you have been charged with a drug trafficking offense, it is imperative that you immediately consult with a skilled attorney. Contact the attorneys at Caulder & Valentine Law Firm today for a consultation.