Drug Crimes: State Cocaine Offenses

All drug charges are very serious offenses which can inhibit a person for the rest of their life and can lead to long term problems in areas like finding employment, holding some professional licenses, continuing your education, or securing a loan. This is especially true for cocaine related offenses. North Carolina considers cocaine to be one of the most dangerous illegal substances there is, as a result, the punishment for possession is severe.

The attorneys at Arnold & Smith, PLLC have years of experience representing clients in a wide range of drug charges, including cocaine offenses. Contact our office today for a free consultation and secure the legal representation necessary to ensure that your rights are protected and your case is resolved with as little negative impact as possible.

Cocaine is classified as a Schedule II Controlled Substance

Cocaine is an addictive stimulant derived from Coca leaves. Through a chemical treatment process the addictive substance is separated from the leaves and is turned into either a fine white powder (cocaine) or a rock like crystal (crack). Possession of cocaine in any form, including the leaves themselves, is a punishable offense.

N.C. Gen Stat. § 90-90(1) (d) to be classified as a Schedule II controlled substance the substance must have:

  • High potential for abuse.
  • A currently accepted medical use with severe restrictions.
  • The abuse of the substance may lead to severe psychic or physical dependence.

Schedule II is the second most dangerous classification for illegal substances and includes drugs like opium, morphine, and oxycodone, in addition to cocaine.

What are the punishments for cocaine possession?

The legal status of Cocaine as a Schedule II narcotic makes the legal consequences of having even minor amounts a very serious offense. Unlike many of the lower classified substances, which usually carry misdemeanor charges if a person is found with a relatively small amount in his or her possession, being caught with ANY amount of cocaine is automatically a felony.

The punishments for cocaine largely revolve around three major categories:

  • Possession: If any amount of cocaine is found on a person they are subject to a charge for possession, a Class I Felony which carries a potential sentence of 6 months to a year in jail.

  • Possession with intent to manufacture, sell, or deliver: If it is shown that a person intended to, or did in fact, manufacture, sell, or deliver cocaine the charge is bumped up to a Class H felony. First time offenders face a minimum of 10 months but the sentence can go as high as 30 months for a person with a criminal history.

  • Trafficking: The most severe cocaine charge, this only comes into play when a person is found with 28 grams or more of cocaine. Possessing between 28 and 200 grams is a Class G felony and carries a penalty 35-51 months in prison and a $50,000 fine. Having a 200-400 grams is a Class F felony that comes with a 70-93 month sentence and $100,000 fine. Finally, any amount over 400 grams is a Class D felony, 175-222 months and a fine of $250,000.

What can hiring a defense attorney do for me?

Drug offenses are serious crimes that can have a significant detrimental impact on you and your loved ones. Retaining experienced legal representation is one of the best ways to ensure that your case is handled correctly. The attorneys of Arnold & Smith, PLLC have the legal expertise necessary to ensure that your interests are protected throughout the entire proceeding. An experienced criminal lawyer can truly investigate the circumstances of your case to be certain your rights were not violated through an illegal search, hold law enforcement accountable by preventing you from being over charged, and ultimately minimize or eliminate any long term negative consequences as a result of the charge.

At Arnold & Smith, PLLC, our experienced criminal defense attorneys are prepared to help you fight any and all charges. If you, or a loved one, is facing any drug related charge do not hesitate to contact us to ensure your rights are protected.

Call today at (704)-370-2828 or click here to contact us now, for a free consultation.