In North Carolina, drug crimes include offenses that involve the use, possession, distribution, or manufacturing of drugs and controlled substances. Drugs and controlled substances include marijuana, cocaine, methamphetamine, heroin, hallucinogenic drugs, synthetic drugs as well as prescription drugs, such as fentanyl. A drug crime conviction can impose some of the harshest penalties available, including hefty fines, seizure of property, and possible imprisonment. If you are faced with any type of drug crime, you need an experienced criminal defense attorney to help you navigate the complex drug laws of North Carolina.
The following are the four most common types of drug offenses that you could be faced with at either the state or federal level:
- Drug Possession is having a drug or illegal substance on your person or contained within property controlled by you. Punishment for possession will be based on the type and amount of drugs you are caught possessing, past convictions, and other factors such as the presence of weapons. Even though many offenders face only a misdemeanor charge of simple possession that results in a fine, payment of the fine will result in a guilty plea that remains on your record. It is important that you contact an attorney before making an admission through the payment of the fine.
- Drug Trafficking is one of the more serious drug charges that involve the selling, transporting, or delivering of a controlled substance. This is also one drug offense where a past record has no bearing upon a punishment you may receive. A drug trafficking conviction will always result in mandatory punishment that includes imprisonment unless you offer “substantial assistance”, in the way of providing evidence in other cases.
- Drug Manufacture charges can be brought when a person plays a role in producing, creating, converting, or preparing a controlled substance by any means, including a chemical process, such as making crack cocaine or methamphetamine. Charges can also be brought against an offender for the intent to manufacture.
North Carolina has imposed a classification system of drugs that it relies upon in determining the severity of a drug crime. All drugs are categorized into schedules running from Schedule I, the most dangerous substances, to Schedule VI, the least severe drugs. The charges you could be facing will depend on the drug in question, the nature of the crime and circumstances involved, and could be either misdemeanors or felonies, or both.
In addition to the drug in question, the amount of the drugs found can determine the charges you may be faced with. Each drug has a different threshold amount that will decide if you are charged with use and possession or with intent to distribute and or manufacture. For example, marijuana over 10 lbs, cocaine, and methamphetamine over 28 grams, or heroin and fentanyl over 4 grams are enough to trigger charges of drug trafficking.
Due to the complex nature of both North Carolina’s drug crimes laws and those of the Federal Government, it is critical that you seek the assistance of an experienced and knowledgeable criminal lawyer who can aggressively identify any weaknesses in the prosecutor’s case against you. Being convicted of any drug crime can put your future at risk. Convictions could remain on your criminal record permanently and can obscure your eligibility in future assistance or relief programs, and inhibit your ability to obtain certain education, employment, and mortgage opportunities.
Thomas Amburgey is a board-certified specialist in criminal law. He has extensive trial experience and understands the serious nature of allegations associated with drug crimes. At Amburgey Law, we can be trusted to protect you, your rights, and your freedoms. We take the time to get to know you, the intricacies of your case, and will work together to define a unique defense strategy to ensure the best result possible in your situation. If you are facing a criminal matter involving a drug offense, we have the experience and skills you need. Call us for a consultation today to discuss your legal options.