NC Drug Laws
Although federal laws are in place that make illegal the use of certain drugs and controlled substances, drug offenses and penalties vary from state to state. It is important to understand the specific laws in your state, especially as a North Carolina resident. This is because drug crimes are often considered more serious and punishable by harsher penalties in NC than in many other states. For this reason, if you are charged with a drug offense in NC, you need to take necessary action to protect yourself before it’s too late.
The first and most important thing you should do when charged with this type of crime is to call an experienced Jacksonville criminal defense lawyer. Regardless of whether you’re accused of a relatively minor drug crime or a serious drug felony offense, a conviction could land you in jail, cost you tons of time and money, and leave you with a permanent criminal record. Fortunately, the knowledgeable Jacksonville criminal defense attorney Aden Wilkie has significant experience in handling drug offense cases just like your own. He provides a straightforward assessment and crafts a personalized, strategic approach for each one of his clients.
If you have been accused of or charged with a drug offense in North Carolina, please contact the The Wilkie Law Group as soon as possible. Give us a call at 910-333-9626 today for a consultation and decide for yourself if The Wilkie Law Group is the best choice for you.
Schedules of Controlled Substances
According to the North Carolina Controlled Substances Act, a controlled substance is defined as a drug or substance that falls into one of six schedules. These schedules are determined on certain characteristics that make up the drug, including potential for abuse, evidence of pharmacological effect, history and pattern of abuse, risk to public health, and whether it is a precursor to another controlled substance.
Here are some examples of each schedule drug category, from I-VI.
These drugs have a high potential for abuse and no recognized medical usage. Schedule I substances include hallucinogenics (MMDA, MDMA), Lysergic acid diethylamide – LSD (acid), psilocybin (magic mushrooms), peyote, heroine, ecstasy, and opiates.
Schedule II drugs also have a high potential abuse but also sometimes possess medical benefits (although with severe restrictions). Abuse of these substances often lead to a high physical or psychological dependence. It includes cocaine, oxycodone, methamphetamine, amphetamines, opium, fentanyl, and opium.
Schedule III controlled substances may also have a high potential for abuse, but less so than the schedules I and II. Some of these substances are also accepted for medical use. They include drugs such as codeine, ketamine, barbiturates, and testosterone.
This schedule of drugs has a lower potential for abuse, but frequent use can result in limited dependence. Schedule IV drugs also have accepted medical usage. Schedule IV drugs include depressants (Xanax, Valium, Ambien, etc.) and stimulants (Adderall, Vyvanse, etc.). Also known as “uppers” and “downers.”
Schedule V drugs have a low potential for abuse and can be used medicinally. This schedule includes over the counter cough medications (codeine in lesser concentrations) and other limited quantities of narcotic drugs.
Schedule VI provides the lowest potential for abuse. This category mainly includes marijuana and its THC byproducts, including synthetic cannabinoids or hashish oil.
Types of Drug Offenses
There are a range of offenses that constitute a drug crime in North Carolina, each carrying different penalties and sentences. Drug offenses in North Carolina include:
- Simple possession
- Possession of paraphernalia
- Drug trafficking or conspiracy to traffic
- Distribution or intent to distribute
- Manufacturing controlled substances
- Selling to minors
- Selling prescription drugs
- Prescription forgery
A charge for any of these crimes is a punishable offense. Below, we will break down the more common offenses relating to drug crimes in more detail.
The simple possession of illegal drugs and substances occurs when someone has a small amount of an illegal substance on his or her person or otherwise available to him or her. To remain a simple possession charge, the substance must be found to be solely for personal use rather than with the intent to sell or distribute to another.
Under federal law, simple possession charges are generally considered a misdemeanor if it is the first offense. This means that the offender may receive a sentence of no more than a year behind bars, a minimum of $1,000 in fines, or both. Prior convictions of simple possession may lead to an upgraded offense to felony simple possession.
Drug Trafficking & Distribution
Possession of large quantities of virtually any type of narcotic or scheduled controlled substance may lead to a drug trafficking charge. Even in the case that the drugs were meant for personal use. If a person is found exceeding a certain amount, they may be charged with the intent to sell or distribute. For example, the prosecution is not required to prove intent in order to charge you with trafficking if you are found to possess:
- 28 grams or more of crack cocaine
- 10+ lbs. of marijuana
- 4 or more grams of morphine, heroin, or other opiates
- 100+ pills of ecstasy or LSD
If you are found with an amount that is equal to or above one of these numbers, you may be charged with drug trafficking in North Carolina. Depending on the circumstances, such as the type of drug and the amount you are found in possession of, a drug charge may bring anywhere from 25 to nearly 280 months imprisonment.
Manufacturing Controlled Substances
Growing, making, cooking, or combining drugs in a home, business, or elsewhere is a serious offense in the eyes of the law. If you are found to be manufacturing controlled substances, you may be hit with a range of additional drug charges as well. These charges may include (1) simple possession, (2) possession of paraphernalia, (3) possession with intent to sell or distribute, (4) trafficking or conspiracy to traffic (5) maintaining or operating a drug house or vehicle, or (6) operating a grow house.
Like several other drug-related charges, a drug manufacturing charge can very quickly and easily ruin your life. The penalties are harsh, and consequences often last a lifetime. That is why it is so important that those who are charged with drug manufacturing seek legal representation immediately. A North Carolina criminal defense attorney like Aden Wilkie can assist offenders in their manufacturing case in a vast number of ways. Contact the Devil Dog Defender today to find out what all he can do for you.
CBD Laws in North Carolina
Despite marijuana being illegal, hemp products such as CBD are legally allowed to be sold, possessed, transported, processed, and cultivated in North Carolina. CBD, formally known as cannabidiol, is derived from hemp, which is defined as a cannabis plant that contains 0.3 percent or less THC. THC, or tetrahydrocannabinol, is the active ingredient found in marijuana that generates a high in the user. While marijuana is also a cannabis plant, it contains more than 0.3 percent THC which is what distinguishes it from CBD and thus, makes it illegal.
CBD is suggested to have a wide variety of health benefits. Proponents claim that its products can have a positive effect in treatments of anxiety, pain relief, seizures, and arthritis. It is common to find CBD infused into products such as lip balms, lotions, oils, and even shampoos and conditioners. So, if the hemp product in question contains less than 0.3 percent of THC, it remains legal.
North Carolina Drug Penalties
In the state of North Carolina, drug crimes may either be charged as a misdemeanor or a felony, depending on the facts of the case. The type of drug and the quantity involved play a direct role in the qualification of the offense. In addition, your previous criminal history and permanent record will also be considered when determining the penalties for your drug offense.
Simple possession of a controlled substance such as marijuana typically warrants a misdemeanor, provided there is no intent to distribute or sell. Misdemeanors generally only result in fines and/or probation, but will remain on your criminal record. It is possible, in some cases, to receive jail time for a misdemeanor crime.
If you are found to have a large quantity of marijuana and investigators are led to believe you are manufacturing, trafficking, or intending to sell the drug, it may become a felony charge. Certain other drugs are also considered an automatic felony, despite the amount or whether it was your first offense or not. This includes possession of cocaine, ecstasy, and heroin. Second-time possession of prescription drugs such as Xanax, Valium, Adderall, Percocet, Ritalin, Vicodin, hydrocodone, codeine, ketamine, or other drugs schedule I-IV will also be a felony charge.
Hire The Best
Felony charges carry much harsher penalties than those of misdemeanors. Having a skilled defense lawyer such as Aden Wilkie gives those charged with felony or misdemeanor drug offenses the best chance at the reduction or dismissal of their case. To see what Wilkie can do for you and your team, give him a call at 910-333-9626 or visit thewilkielawgroup.com today!