Common Questions About North Carolina Drug laws
North Carolina is very aggressive in prosecuting drug offenses. Like other states, they categorize drugs and illegal substances into categories based on their potential for abuse and addiction. These categories are called schedules and range from drugs that have a high potential for abuse and are highly addictive (Schedule I drugs) to substances with a low potential for abuse and addiction (Schedule V and Schedule VI drugs).
All penalties for drug offenses in North Carolina are either misdemeanors or all felonies depending on the charge and the controlled substance involved. In general, these charges are categorized as either possession or trafficking offenses. The penalties for drug trafficking charges are almost always harsher than penalties for possession.
Listed below are answers to some of the questions we hear most often concerning North Carolina drug laws.
What Are The Penalties For Marijuana Charges?
Marijuana is a Schedule VI drug but still carries a misdemeanor charge at minimum. If you are in possession of 1.5 ounces or more, the charge becomes a felony. Charges and penalties for marijuana include:
- Possession of less than 0.5 ounces: misdemeanor charge and a fine up to $200
- Possession of less than 0.5 – 1.5 ounces: misdemeanor charge, a fine up to $1,000 and up to 45 days behind bars
- Possession of less than 1.5 ounces – 10 pounds: felony charge, a fine up to $1,000 and three to eight months behind bars
- Trafficking 10 – 50 pounds: Class H felony, a $5,000 fine and/or 25 – 30 months behind bars
- Trafficking 50 – 2,000 pounds: Class G felony, a $25,000 fine and/or 35 – 42 months behind bars
- Trafficking 2,000 – 10,000 pounds: Class F felony, a $50,000 fine and/or 70 – 84 months behind bars
- Trafficking more than 10,000 pounds: Class D felony, a $200,000 fine and/or 175 – 219 months behind bars
Several bills have been introduced to legalize marijuana over the years without success. Cannabidiol (CBD) oil is legal for use in medical treatment, but possession and distribution of all other forms of marijuana remain criminal.
Are Prescription Drug Charges Different From Drug Offense Charges?
In North Carolina, prescription drugs are considered controlled substances and are categorized in the same way as illegal drugs. Prescription drug charge offenses carry a range of penalties for possession and trafficking but also include fraud charges. These fraud charges can stem from illegal activities, including:
- “Doctor shopping” to obtain multiple prescriptions
- Obtaining a valid prescription through deception or dishonesty
- Impersonating a doctor to get a prescription
- Obtaining prescription drugs through an employer
Medical professionals charged with prescription drug offenses also face the possibility of having their license suspended or revoked.
What Is The Difference Between State And Federal Drug Offenses?
As far as types of crimes go, federal and state offenses are very similar. The key difference is that federal charges are more severe than state charges and always carry mandatory minimum sentences. People charged with felony drug offenses are often in violation of both state and federal law. In those cases, agencies like the FBI and the Drug Enforcement Agency work together to determine where a case should be prosecuted. If the illegal activities involved crossing state lines or were part of a federal investigation, the charges will be tried in federal court. Otherwise, the volume if controlled substances involved is the main contributing factor; the larger the volume, the more likely the charges will be tried in federal court.
Why Should I Hire Coalter Law, PLLC?
Drug charges carry severe consequences that often follow you for the rest of your life. The court system can be very complex, especially if you are facing federal charges. Having an experienced attorney who knows how to utilize alternative sentence measures and reduce charges can be the difference between a normal life and time behind bars.
Contact An Experienced North Carolina Drug Offense Lawyer
The courts in North Carolina are deadly serious about prosecuting drug offenders to the full extent of the law; you need an attorney with the knowledge and experience to protect rights and get you the best possible outcome. Call the Coalter Law, PLLC, at 336-646-7977 or contact us online to set up an initial consultation.