Drug Possession Charges in North Carolina
Are you facing drug charges in North Carolina for possession of a controlled substance? If so, don’t try to fight your case alone. Drug possession charges are serious and should not be taken lightly. They can carry harsh penalties, including fines and incarceration. With the help of an experienced Raleigh drug crime lawyer at Kurtz & Blum, you can build the strongest defense possible.
If you have been arrested or charged with drug possession in North Carolina, contact Kurtz & Blum for a confidential consultation to learn more about your legal rights and options.
What Is a Controlled Substance in North Carolina?
The term “controlled substance” refers to a drug that is regulated under state or federal law. It has a higher probability of being abused. Controlled substances are categorized under the Controlled Substance Act (CSA) and placed in specific schedules based on their accepted medical use, the potential for abuse, and the likelihood of leading to addiction.
North Carolina Drug Classification
Controlled substances are classified as either Schedule I, II, III, IV, V, or VI. Schedule I drugs are the most dangerous, and Schedule VI drugs are the least dangerous. The schedules of controlled substances are as follows:
- Schedule I: These substances are dangerous, have no medical use, and have a high potential for abuse and addiction. Examples include LSD (acid), heroin, and PCP.
- Schedule II: These drugs have an accepted medical use but also a likelihood for psychological and physical dependence. Examples include cocaine, codeine, morphine, methamphetamine, and hydrocodone.
- Schedule III: These substances have less potential for abuse but can still lead to high psychological dependence and low to moderate physical dependence. Examples include some barbiturates, anabolic steroids, and ketamine.
- Schedule IV: These drugs have a low potential for abuse and accepted medical use. However, abuse of these drugs could lead to some physical or psychological dependence. Examples include Xanax, Rohypnol, valium, and barbital.
- Schedule V: Compared to the drugs in the first four schedules, Schedule V drugs have a low risk for abuse. Like Schedules II through IV, Schedule V substances have accepted medicinal uses, but they have a substantially lower risk for causing dependence and addiction. Schedule V drugs are more readily prescribed with fewer restrictions and oversight. An example would be cough syrup containing codeine.
- Schedule VI: These drugs have a comparatively low chance for abuse. Examples include marijuana and synthetic cannabinoids.
Types of Drug Possession Charges
In North Carolina, there are two main types of drug possession charges: simple possession and possession with intent to manufacture, sell, or deliver. Simple possession of most drugs is a misdemeanor, while possession with intent to manufacture, sell, or deliver is a felony.
Drug possession in North Carolina can be actual or constructive. Actual possession is when controlled substances are found on the individual’s body or clothing. Constructive possession is when the drugs are found in close proximity to the individual or somewhere that they can easily access.
What Are Drug Possession Charges in NC?
In North Carolina, “possession” refers to the willful and unlawful possession of a controlled substance in North Carolina. It is a crime to possess any illegal drug or controlled substance.
The penalties for simple possession vary depending on the classification of the controlled substance and the amount possessed. For example, marijuana possession in North Carolina would result in a much different penalty than possession of methamphetamine.
The maximum penalties for drug possession per each type of controlled substances are as follows:
- Possession of Schedule I: Class I felony punishable by up to 24 months in prison.
- Possession of Schedule II, III, or IV: Class 1 misdemeanor that carries a maximum sentence of 120 days in jail. Possession over a particular amount is a Class I felony.
- Possession of Schedule V: Class 2 misdemeanor punishable by up to 60 days in jail.
- Possession of Schedule VI: Class 3 misdemeanor with a maximum punishment of 20 days in jail.
If you are found in possession of a large quantity of drugs, you may face other types of drug charges, such as possession with intent or drug trafficking. Possession with the intent to manufacture, sell, or deliver a drug that is Schedule I or II is a Class H felony. The manufacturing, sale, or delivery of drugs is a separate crime generally punished more heavily than possession with intent to manufacture, sell, or deliver.
For example, the sale of drugs can result in the following punishments:
- Schedule I or II: Class G felony, punishable by a maximum 47-month jail sentence
- Schedule III, IV, V, or VI: Class H felony, punishable by a maximum of 39 months in jail
The delivery of drugs can result in the following punishments:
- Schedule I, II, III, IV, V, or VI: Class H felony, punishable by a maximum of 39 months in jail
In general, the punishment for manufacturing is as follows:
- Schedule I or II: Class H felony, punishable by up to 39 months in jail
- Schedule III, IV, V, or VI: Class I felony, punishable by up to 24 months in jail
What Happens After a Drug Conviction in North Carolina?
Drug possession charges can mean time behind bars and other penalties if you are convicted. Even marijuana possession in North Carolina can result in serious consequences.
The classification of the crime as either a misdemeanor or a felony determines the penalties you could face after you’ve been convicted. Each type of drug possession conviction has an associated penalty. Penalties can be harsher if you have prior convictions.
No matter the drug possession charge you are facing, a conviction could hold you back in life for many years to come. Before you think about defending yourself or entering a plea deal, you should consult with a seasoned criminal lawyer in Raleigh.
How Our Raleigh Criminal Defense Attorneys Can Help
If you have been charged with drug possession in North Carolina, you need an experienced criminal defense attorney to fight for you. At Kurtz & Blum, our Raleigh drug possession defense lawyers can answer any questions you have. We have more than half a century of combined legal experience we will put to good use on your case. Our law firm proudly serves clients throughout Wake County, North Carolina. Call or contact us today for a confidential consultation.