An Overview of Federal Drug Crimes in North Carolina

There are multiple types of felony drug offenses with which North Carolina residents can be charged. These charges range from lower-level felonies, such as drug possession, to more severe felonies, such as drug trafficking. With every felony drug offense, the penalties can seriously impact your professional and personal life. You may face jail time, steep fines, and a permanent criminal record, even if you are a first-time offender. Most felony drug-related crimes involve the following categories:

  • Possession
  • Sale or delivery
  • Manufacturing
  • Possession with intent to manufacture, sell, or deliver
  • Drug trafficking

Each of these specific drug crimes carries associated punishments, including prison sentences and significantly large fines.

Possession of a Controlled Substance

Every controlled substance is classified under North Carolina law as a Schedule I, II, III, IV, V, or VI. Schedule I controlled substances are considered the most addictive and dangerous. Schedule I drugs have no accepted medical use, the highest potential for abuse, and a lack of accepted safety. Examples include peyote, heroin, ecstasy, GHB, and opiates. Schedule II controlled substances have some accepted medical uses and a high potential for abuse, which can lead to psychological or physical dependence. Examples include codeine, opium, cocaine, methadone, morphine, Ritalin, and methamphetamine.

At the other end of the spectrum, Schedule VI controlled substances have a relatively low potential for abuse. Although Schedule VI controlled substances are considered less severe and addictive, it is still illegal to possess even a tiny amount of these substances, which include hashish, hashish oil, and marijuana.

Possession of a Controlled Substance

Possession of a controlled substance involves knowingly possessing a controlled substance. There are two types of unlawful possession — actual possession and constructive possession. Active construction means actually possessing a drug and being aware of the presence of the drug. Constructive possession means that a person has the intent and ability to maintain control and dominion over the drug, even where the drug is not on their person.

Sale or Delivery of a Controlled Substance

The sale or delivery of a controlled substance is outlined in North Carolina G.S. 90-95(a)(1). It is a crime to sell or deliver a controlled substance to another person knowingly. For a crime to be considered a sale in a felony drug case, the defendant must transfer drugs to another person in exchange for some form of compensation. Compensation can be money, but it can also be non-monetary items like jewelry and clothing. Delivery of a controlled substance means engaging in an actual or constructive transfer or attempting to transfer controlled substances to another person.

Manufacturing of a Controlled Substance

Knowingly manufacturing a controlled substance is a felony drug crime in North Carolina. In felony drug cases, manufacturing a controlled substance means that an individual (i) produces, prepares, propagates, compounds, conversions, or processes a drug by any means or (ii) engages in any packaging or repackaging of the drug or labeling or relabeling of its container.

Possession of a Controlled Substance with Intent to Manufacture, Sell, or Deliver

Knowingly possessing a controlled substance intended to manufacture, sell, or deliver is a serious felony drug crime in North Carolina. Prosecutors must prove that the defendant knowingly possessed a controlled substance with the intent to manufacture, sell, or deliver it. The penalties for possessing a drug intending to manufacture, sell, or deliver it range from up to 39 months in jail to 24 months in prison.

Drug Trafficking Offenses

Drug trafficking offenses are among the most severe types of felony drug charges. Prosecutors must prove that the defendant knowingly manufactures, sells, delivers, transports, or possess, or conspires to manufacture, sell, deliver, transport, or possess a controlled substance. To be considered drug trafficking, the quantity of the controlled substance needs to meet the specific minimum quantity specified in North Carolina law. The penalties for drug trafficking are severe and can result in a lifetime jail sentence.

Are You Looking for a Criminal Defense Attorney in Charlotte, North Carolina?

Are you facing criminal drug charges, whether state or federal, in North Carolina? If so, you need to discuss your case with a skilled criminal defense attorney. Felony drug charges are subjected to minimum mandatory sentences, including lengthy jail sentences. Contact Arnold & Smith, PLLC, to learn how our skilled criminal defense attorneys can provide you with an aggressive criminal defense. We offer potential clients a complimentary, no-obligation consultation.