After police claim to have found marijuana in your possession, you find yourself facing charges in a North Carolina court. As you prepare for your hearing and trial, you worry about how a conviction will affect you. Will you have to pay fines or go to jail?

North Carolina takes marijuana possession seriously. Depending on how much a court charges a person with, punishments can be harsh. Here are some of the sentencing limits judges have for the crime:

  • Under 0.5 ounce – A person caught with this amount can face a fine of $200. This conviction will go on the record as a misdemeanor.
  • Between 0.5 ounce and 1.5 ounce – At this point, a person can face jail time between one and 45 days. A court may also charge a $1,000 fine.
  • 5 ounce to 10 pounds – The state considers this amount a felony. A court can grant three to eight months in jail and a $1,000 fine.
  • Above 10 pounds – Courts can charge possession above this amount as trafficking. The jail time and fines can increase with higher amounts of marijuana.

Once a court convicts a person of possession, they cannot suspend the sentence or place the person on probation. However, a judge may be able to reduce the jail time or fines to less than the state requires for the minimum.

Convictions last beyond the sentence

Not only can a conviction put you behind bars and require you to pay hefty fines, but it can also mean a criminal record. Whenever a future employer or housing provider pulls your background, the charge and conviction will show up. This information can prevent you from gainful employment and a safe place to live.

North Carolina courts will not tread lightly if you face charges. You may want to speak with an attorney to make sure you protect your rights.