Drug possession — two words that can mean the end of your life as you know it. Like DUI, North Carolina has some of the strictest laws and harshest penalties in the country. One mistake can mean lifelong consequences—even jail time.
Possession of drug paraphernalia can also see you arrested, whether or not you intend to use it for drug consumption. Even everyday items like a scale and small bags can be considered “paraphernalia” for either using or selling.
Drug trafficking (sale, distribution, and possession of large amounts for those purposes) are more serious charges that can get you long-term jail time and heavy fines.
Even a misdemeanor drug conviction can negatively affect your life for years to come. It can be even worse if you’re actually innocent.
The North Carolina Controlled Substances Act
North Carolina divides different drugs into categories, or “schedules,” and the penalties differ with each classification, depending on their potential for abuse. The state’s Controlled Substances Act spells out each category and grades each substance. Penalties and jail times vary with the severity of the charges.
- Schedule I: this is a class I felony for drugs like opiates, heroin, ecstasy, and peyote, among others, with no “accepted medical use” and are at high risk for addiction and abuse.
- Schedule II: this is a class 1 misdemeanor for drugs that have a medical use, but also have the potential for addiction, such as opium, cocaine, morphine, Oxycodone, Methadone, and others.
- Schedule III: this is a class 1 misdemeanor for addictive substances that also have a medical use, such as anabolic steroids, ketamine, Lysergic Acid and Nalorphine with a lower potential for addiction.
- Schedule IV: this is a class 1 misdemeanor for prescription drugs with an accepted medical use but a lower risk of abuse and addiction. This class includes prescriptions such as Xanax, Darvon, Valium, Clonazepam, and others.
- Schedule V: this is a class 1 misdemeanor for prescription narcotic drugs that aren’t as addictive, but still have the potential for abuse. This includes over-the-counter medications such as cough syrup with codeine.
- Schedule VI: this is a class 3 misdemeanor for drugs with no recognized medical use in North Carolina, have a low potential for addiction and abuse, including marijuana, hashish oil, and hashish.
A Note About Marijuana
Having marijuana in your possession is still a crime in North Carolina. “For medicinal purposes” is not a valid defense.
Many states have passed varying amounts of marijuana legalization for different reasons. One of the latest, Louisiana, has only legalized marijuana for medical uses, not in smokeable form or for recreational use. North Carolina, South Carolina, and Virginia, as well as neighboring Kentucky and Tennessee, have not passed any laws legalizing it, and you can still be charged.
North Carolina state lawmakers are planning to introduce legislation this year to allow medical marijuana in the state of North Carolina this year, and some doctors now have the limited ability to prescribe it. This map shows which states have legalized marijuana, and in what capacity.
Until then, marijuana is still illegal in North Carolina. You can still be arrested for having it, even in small amounts.
Call A Strong Criminal Defense Attorney in Raleigh, NC
Do you need an attorney to defend you for drug charges in North Carolina? Absolutely, or you could risk even more jail time, fines and other penalties. Hiring the right Raleigh drug possession attorney can make a big difference in the outcome of your case.
Whatever you do, don’t just plead guilty because you’re not sure what you should do (especially if you’re innocent.) You have the right to have an attorney who can aggressively defend you and make sure your rights are protected.
As a former Wake County prosecutor, Dewey P. Brinkley is now an experienced criminal defense attorney who will aggressively defend you and work towards the most favorable outcome. He can defend you against drug charges, fight any wrongful charges and work for a more reasonable sentence if convicted. Call the law offices of Dewey P. Brinkley today for a free initial consultation to discuss your child’s case at (919) 832-0307.