Controlled Substances in North Carolina
Charges for violations of North Carolina’s Controlled Substances Act are very common. However, it is important to remember that an arrest does not mean an inevitable conviction.
If you have been arrested and accused of a drug offense, you need to understand your legal rights. Talk to a North Carolina criminal defense lawyer from Kurtz & Blum now.
What Are Controlled Substances?
The Controlled Substances Act in North Carolina defines a controlled substance as any drug recognized by the U.S. Pharmacopoeia as having an effect on the functions of the body. Essentially, a controlled substance is any drug outlined in state or federal law. Even if a substance is not listed in North Carolina’s laws, it is still banned throughout the state if it is listed as an illicit substance in federal law.
Types or Schedules of Controlled Substances in North Carolina
In North Carolina, there are six schedules of controlled substances. Drugs on the first schedule are considered the most dangerous, and the risk factors decrease in the higher schedules.
- Schedule I: This schedule includes drugs such as heroin, ecstasy, and opiates. Offenses involving mere possession of these substances are considered Class I felonies.
- Schedule II: Drugs on this schedule include cocaine, opium, and morphine. A first offense involving possession of Schedule II drugs is typically considered a Class 1 misdemeanor. Subsequent possession offenses are Class I felonies. There are exceptions to these punishment rules, though. It is a Class I felony to possess any amount of cocaine, amphetamine, methamphetamine, or PCP, more than 4 dosage units of hydromorphone, or more than 100 dosage units of other controlled substances.
- Schedule III: Substances on this schedule are considered to have some medical use with a potential for abuse. Anabolic steroids and some barbiturates are listed within this schedule. The classification of possession offenses in this schedule mimics those in Schedule II.
- Schedule IV: Valium, Xanax, and Barbital are just a few of the drugs listed in this schedule. The classification of possession offenses involving these drugs mimics those in Schedule II and Schedule III.
- Schedule V: These drugs include substances that have an approved medical use, such as cough syrup with codeine. A first offense involving possession is a Class 2 misdemeanor, and a second possession offense is a Class 1 misdemeanor.
- Schedule VI: Drugs such as marijuana and hashish are found within this schedule. First offenses involving mere possession are considered a Class 3 misdemeanor, while a second possession offense is a Class 2 misdemeanor. It’s a Class I felony to possess more than 1½ ounces of marijuana, 21 grams of synthetic cannabinoid, 3/20 of an ounce of hashish, or any amount of synthetic tetrahydrocannabinols.
The punishments for convictions on controlled substances charges vary widely, depending on the schedule of the drug, the type of offense, the amount of substance involved, and any prior convictions. It is crucial that you speak with a knowledgeable North Carolina drug crime lawyer as soon as possible after an arrest to ensure you understand the charges against you and can craft a strong defense.
Types of Drug Offenses
There are three main types of drug offenses in North Carolina. These include:
- Simple drug possession: A person is charged with this offense when he or she is found in possession of any drug listed within the Controlled Substances Act.
- Possession of drug paraphernalia: A person does not have to possess actual controlled substances to be charged with a crime. Even possessing pipes, bongs, roach clips, needles, and other paraphernalia can result in a person facing drug charges.
- Possession with intent to sell, manufacture, or deliver: Charges become much worse when a person does not only possess a certain drug, but also plans to sell, traffic, or distribute it.
Why You Need an Attorney from Kurtz & Blum
If you have been charged with a drug offense, do not wait to speak to one of our North Carolina criminal defense lawyers at Kurtz & Blum. We understand how frightening it is to face these charges, but we also know how to build the solid defense you need.
Contact us now to schedule a consultation with one of our attorneys.