Drug possession is a serious offense. Although stigma about a lot of drugs is lifting, there are still large legal penalties for drug possession.
Are you or a loved one facing a drug possession charge in NC? Then it’s best to know what you’re up against. The law isn’t easy to understand, but if you can understand, you have a better chance of succeeding in your day in court.
This article will walk you through some facts about drug possession charges in NC, and teach you a bit about some federal drug penalties along the way.
1. Marijuana Possession Is Not As Bad
In North Carolina law, marijuana is considered a schedule 6 substance. This is the lowest classification of a substance in United States law. They’re considered to have an extremely low addiction rate and are not considered a threat to the public; schedule 6 is so low that most states only go up to schedule five.
For marijuana users, this is a relief. In some states, marijuana is still considered a schedule 1 substance. There, it’s considered a serious public health risk, and possession can come with serious jail time.
If you’re found with fewer than .5 ounces of marijuana, your crime will be charged as a misdemeanor. You’ll likely only have to pay a fine of around 200 dollars. You might get jail time, but this will be limited to thirty days.
2. However You Can Still Face Felony Charges
While marijuana possession isn’t as bad as it is in other states, possession of certain quantities of marijuana can result in worse charges.
If you’re caught in possession of between .5 and 1.5 ounces of marijuana, you’ll still be charged with a misdemeanor. However, penalties can climb up to 1,000 dollars, and jail time can go up to 45 days.
If you’re caught with over 1.5 ounces of marijuana, you will be brought up on felony charges. These can result in up to a year of jail time. If you’re a repeat offender, less than 1.5 ounces of marijuana might be considered a federal offense.
3. There Are Mandatory Minimum Sentences
While many states have taken actions to decriminalize certain drugs, North Carolina has not done so as a state. Unfortunately, North Carolina has minimum drug charge sentences in place, so even if you get a judge who likes you, they might not be able to save you from jail time.
It should be noted, however, that certain counties within North Carolina are working on the decriminalization issue.
4. Intent Matters
You might have heard the term “intent to distribute”. It’s a classification given to people charged with drug possession who had the intent to sell those drugs to other members of the community. North Carolina has laws in place to penalize people with this sort of intent.
This sort of intent is categorized by the number of drugs in a person’s possession — particularly marijuana. If you possess more than 10 pounds of a drug, you’re considered to have the intent to sell, which becomes a felony offense.
This can get punished by up several years in jail and fines up to 5,000 dollars. As the poundage increases, the amount of jail time and fines increase. This is to make sure that nobody winds becoming a kingpin.
5. Sale Makes Things Worse
Possession for personal use isn’t considered as bad as the sale of drugs. 10 pounds or less of drug sales can result in jail times of up to 8 months. Just like intent to sell, higher poundage results in higher jail times and fines.
Sale to a minor or pregnant woman automatically becomes much worse. You can serve 3-8 years for this. Selling within 1000 feet of a school also ups your minimum sentence to around a year.
6. Paraphernalia Also Carries Consequences
It’s also illegal to use, possess, or sell drug paraphernalia. However, unless you’re selling it to a minor or child, this cannot get considered a felony offense.
You can only serve up to 45 days in jail and pay a 1,000 dollar fine for this.
On the other hand, if you are caught selling to a minor or child, you can spend up to 3-8 months in jail.
7. Hash and Concentrates Are Also Illegal
Your marijuana coming in a different form doesn’t stop it from being illegal. However, it does carry less of a consequence if it’s concentrate or hash.
Hash and concentrates only ever cause fines of up to 200 dollars Between .05 and .15 can lead to 45 days of jail time, and over .15 can lead to 4-6 months in jail. However, possession of fewer than .05 ounces can only lead to up to 10 days in jail.
8. Cultivation Carries Similar Consequences to Selling
At the end of the day, cultivation is an act the brings more drugs into a community, which law enforcement wants to limit. Cultivation of drugs carries similar consequences to sale or intent to distribute.
For example, someone with a medium-sized illegal marijuana business who has 200 pounds of marijuana on their farm can serve no less than 3 years in jail.
9. A Bail Bond Service Can Help You
Bails can get expensive in North Carolina. If you or a loved one has been arrested for drug possession or use, it’s a good idea to become familiar with great bail bonds services.
Bail bonds services can help you pay for your bail, to make the legal process that much easier. A good bail bonds service will be transparent about what they offer, offer payment plans that are reasonable, will help you walk through the bail bond process.
Understand Penalties For Drug Possession
The law is usually written in language that’s hard for the average person to understand. Familiarize yourself with the penalties for drug possession and other facets of North Carolina drug possession law, and you’re far more likely to do well when facing criminal charges.
For more information, contact us today.