North Carolina Drug Charges

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Drug Charges

In North Carolina, there are several types of drug charges. If you are charged with a drug crime you need a drug crimes lawyer fast! Some of the less serious drug charges include simple possession of marijuana. More serious drug crimes include drug trafficking or possession with intent to sell or distribute.

Marijuana Charges

Possession of Marijuana

Fortunately for you, possession of Mary Jane isn’t super drastic. Of all the drug offenses in North Carolina, such as, selling or distributing, trafficking, or cultivating, a possession charge is the least serious drug charge. Possession of more than 1.5 oz of pot is a felony and possession of less than 1.5 oz of marijuana is a misdemeanor. If you are convicted of a charge dealing with the possession of weed these are the penalties you may encounter:

  • 5 oz or less: no jail time and a fine of up to $200
  • 5 - 1.5 oz: 1 - 45 days in jail and a fine of up to $1,000
  • 5 oz - 10 lbs: 3 - 8 months in jail and a fine of up to $1,000

As you can see possession of marijuana can have serious fines, or probation, or even worse jail time! Though a conviction of less than 0.5 oz may not have extremely serious punishments, you will want to consider hiring a lawyer in Salisbury or Charlotte, North Carolina to help fight your charge considering what the effect of the conviction will be on your criminal record. In addition, we can advise you if you are eligible for a conditional discharge under a §90-96 drug program or a deferred prosecution agreement, both of which would keep your criminal record clean. If convicted you may qualify for an expungement.

Possession of Marijuana Paraphernalia

Possession of marijuana paraphernalia is treated the same as possession of marijuana when it is 0.5 oz or less. This makes possession of marijuana paraphernalia a Class 3 misdemeanor. Alternatively, possession of other types of drug paraphernalia is a Class 1 misdemeanor and is more serious that the possession of marijuana paraphernalia.

Generally any of the following can be considered paraphernalia:

  • Bongs
  • Rolling papers
  • Grinders
  • Pipes
  • Scales
  • Roach clips

We Defend Against the Following Marijuana Charges:

  • Possession with intent to sale manufacture or deliver
  • Possession of more than 1.5 ounces to 10 pounds
  • Possession of 0.5 oz or less
  • Possession of 0.5 - 1.5 oz
  • Paraphernalia offenses
  • Marijuana charges that arose out of a driving while under the influence arrest

Drug Possession

There are two types of drug possession charges in North Carolina. Simple possession and possession with intent to manufacture, sell, or deliver (PWIMSD). Simple possession of most controlled substances is a misdemeanor whereas possession with intent is a felony.

Possession can either be actual or constructive. Actual possession is when the drugs are found on the person’s body or clothing. An example of drugs being found by actual possession is if the drugs are located in your pants pocket. Constructive possession is when the drugs are found close to the person or anywhere that they can easily access or have control over. For example, if an illegal drug was found on your living room table that would be considered constructive possession.

The penalties for simple possession of controlled substances vary depending on the classification of the drug and in some cases the amount allegedly possessed.

  • Possession of a Schedule I drug: Class I felony punishable by up to 24 months in prison
  • Possession of a Schedule II, III, or IV drug: Class 1 misdemeanor punishable by up to 120 days in jail
    • Possession over a certain amount is a Class I felony
  • Possession of a Schedule V drug: Class 2 misdemeanor punishable by up to 60 days in jail
  • Possession of a Schedule VI drug: Class 3 misdemeanor punishable by up to 20 days in jail

Possession with the intent to manufacture, sell or deliver (PWIMSD) a controlled substance that falls under Schedules I and II is a class H felony. The maximum penalty is 39 months in prison.

Possession with the intent to manufacture, sell, or deliver (PWIMSD) a drug that falls under Schedule III, IV, V, or VI is a Class I felony. The maximum penalty here is 4 months in prison.

A drug crimes lawyer can challenge whether or not the prosecutor's theory of constructive possession is valid. Additionally, we can challenge the constitutionality of the search.

Drug Schedules



Schedule I

High potential for abuse, no medical use, lack of accepted safety

Ecstasy, Methaqualone, Heroin Peyote, Opiates

Schedule II

High potential for abuse, accepted medical use with severe restrictions, abuse may lead to physical or psychological dependence

Cocaine, Opium Extracts, Raw Opium Codeine, Morphine, Methadone, Hydrocodone, Methamphetamine, Ritalin

Schedule III

Has potential for abuse but less than Schedule I or II substances, has an accepted medical use, abuse may lead to limited dependence

Ketamine, Anabolic Steroids, some Barbiturates

Schedule IV

Low potential for abuse, accepted medical use, abuse may lead to limited dependence

Rohypnol, Darvon, Xanax, Clonazepam, Barbital, Valium

Schedule V

Low potential for abuse, accepted medical use, abuse may lead to limited dependence

Over the counter cough medicines with codeine

Schedule VI

Low potential for abuse, has no accepted medical use, abuse may lead to limited dependence

Marijuana, Hashish, Hashish Oil

We all make mistakes. Our firm isn’t here to judge, we’re here to defend. Whether you’re a college student or a senior citizen, Stowe Law Firm can competently defend you against your drug charges. We understand that people battle all types of addictions. The consequences of a conviction far outweigh the price of hiring a drug crimes lawyer or a criminal defense attorney. The best thing you can do is to contact us today for a free consultation to see how we can help.

About Ryan Stowe

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Ryan Stowe is the principal attorney at Stowe Law Firm, PLLC. Mr. Stowe is proud to be practicing in his hometown of Salisbury, NC, and is a first generation Rowan County attorney. Mr. Stowe takes pride in being a criminal defense attorney. He focuse…

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