If you are arrested for any drug offenses in North Carolina, be prepared to spend some time in jail. Drug offenses here are based on weight, and the weight limits are not very high. You will face mandatory jail time if convicted, and there will most likely be fines along with that.
The one way you may be able to avoid jail time is if you provide what is known as “substantial assistance” to law enforcement in catching other drug felons; this act is better known as snitching. With this information from you, the judge has more flexibility in imposing a lesser sentence, and possibly assigning only probation.
When facing drug charges in North Carolina, you would be wise to hire an attorney, especially if you are providing substantial assistance; you will want to draw up a formal agreement to ensure you get the lightest sentence you can obtain through that action. Doing that on your own risks the deal not being valid, and puts you at risk for a harsher sentence.
The attorneys at Remington & Dixon in Charlotte, will represent you in the best way possible so you can get out and get on with your life. They will negotiate for you and see that you get the fairest deal possible.
There are several different levels of drug charges here in North Carolina: 1) Misdemeanor possession; 2) Felony possession; 3) Possession with Intent to Sell (PWISD); 4) Maintaining a Dwelling; 5) Sell and/or Deliver; 6) Drug Trafficking; and 7) Federal Drug Charges.
Drug trafficking is charged as a felony and is considered the most egregious of the charges, with a misdemeanor being the lesser of the group. Expect to spend mandatory time in jail. With the Federal charges, you may be charged by the state and the Federal system.
How Serious Is Drug Trafficking?
North Carolina takes the offense of drug trafficking very seriously. It is illegal in the state to possess, manufacture, sell or create controlled substances. For example, it is considered trafficking if you are arrested with between 10 and 49 pounds of marijuana; this offense carries up to 25 months in prison. If you are caught with up to 10k pounds or more, that prison time jumps to 175 months. With cocaine, it’s a bit stricter: the prison time ranges from 35 months to 175 months, with 35 months being imposed for 28 to 199 grams; 400 or more grams gets you 175 months.
After 3 felony convictions in North Carolina you are looking at a 44-month mandatory prison sentence.
How Are Drugs Classified in North Carolina?
Drug charges here are classified by “schedule” and listed as such by their degree of danger and their risk of addiction. The charges, and therefore the penalties you face, are based entirely on the drug(s) in question. The following list is a breakdown of those schedules.
Schedule I Drugs:
Heroin, LSD, Ecstasy. These serious drugs are charged as Class 1 felonies, possible 3 to 8 months in prison and fines as well
Schedule II Drugs:
These are slightly less dangerous but still carry a high risk of addiction. They include Methamphetamines, Cocaine, Methadone and Opium. These drugs are charged as Class 1 misdemeanors, and can carry 6 to 12 months in jail, and possible fines.
Schedule III Drugs:
These are classified as addictive drugs, but they also have some medical uses. They include Ketamine, anabolic steroids, and certain depressants. They are charged as Class 1 misdemeanors, and can carry from 6 to 12 months in jail.
Schedule IV Drugs
These drugs are prescribed by a doctor, though they are also considered addictive. They include Xanax, Valium, and other sedatives. They are charged as a Class 1 misdemeanor, and can carry from 6 to 12 months of jail time.
Schedule V Drugs
These have a very low risk of addiction, but they are also controlled by prescription. They consist of medicines that typically contain codeine. They are charged as Class 2 misdemeanors, and carry from 30 days to 6 months of jail time.
Schedule VI Drugs
These drugs are classified as having no medical use and are at very low risk for addiction. Mainly Marijuana. This is charged as a Class 3 misdemeanor, and carries up to 30 days in jail.
What Does the Court Look at When Sentencing Drug Charges?
Several factors are considered when the court looks at drug charges. Weight is considered in whatever drugs you had in your possession; your criminal record; your willingness to help shut down other dealers, etc. through special assistance.
There Is Help
In the state of North Carolina there are what is called Drug Courts. These offer help for drug offenders, not just punishment. But you have to follow the rules, or the consequences are quite serious.
The Drug Courts, of which there are number of in the county, offer group treatment programs, family treatment programs, educational services, and a team of people who will help you keep up with your assigned programs. The stipulations are that you must attend all court sessions and meetings in a timely manner, abstain from alcohol and other drugs, and avoid any behaviors that would interfere with any treatment of others in the program.
Getting arrested for a drug charge doesn’t have to ruin your life. Yes, there will be penalties and you must stick to your treatment, but it is possible to return to a normal life post-drug offense.
Hiring an attorney from Remington & Dixon is your way to get through this process as smoothly as possible. They will negotiate for the lowest possible jail time, lowest fines and as little interruption to your life as possible. You will need to do your part to facilitate a favorable end result, but they have the experience and knowledge to get you there as painlessly as possible. Call a skilled North Carolina criminal defense lawyer at offices of Remington & Dixon today, don’t put off getting your future started.
Brandon double-majored in Political Science and Criminal Justice at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. He earned his Juris Doctor from Barry University School of Law in Orlando, Florida. Throughout his career, Brandon has received numerous awards and recognition from his peers and agencies that rate attorneys. A few of these awards are from The National Trial Lawyers: Top 100 Trial Lawyer in 2014, The National Trial Lawyers: Top 40 Under 40 in 2014, Nation’s Top One Percent: National Association of Distinguished Counsel in 2015, Super Lawyers: Rising Stars in 2018 and 2019, and North Carolina Business Magazine: Legal Elite in 2019, among others.