Just as in other states, drug crimes can carry severe consequences in North Carolina. But while these charges may be serious, it’s important to note that not all situations carry the same weight in criminal law. Depending on the nature of the incident and the substances involved, defendants may end up with either a misdemeanor or felony charge. To better understand these outcomes, here’s what you should know about misdemeanor and felony drug crimes in North Carolina.
Understanding Drug Crimes in North Carolina
How Do Misdemeanor & Felony Consequences Differ?
In criminal law, misdemeanors are considered to be less severe offenses than felonies. As such, the penalties can vary to a great extent. Misdemeanors, for example, can result in up to 150 days in jail and fines of $1000 or greater. Felonies, on the other hand, come in many more classifications than misdemeanors. Depending on the severity of the charges and the defendant’s criminal record, felonies can carry prison stays of any length in addition to fines and probation requirements.
What Drug Crimes Are Misdemeanors?
North Carolina’s drug schedule helps determine if a crime is a misdemeanor or felony. For example, the possession of Schedules II, III, IV, and V substances is often considered to be a misdemeanor. Substances that fall in these categories can include cocaine, marijuana, hallucinogens, prescription drugs, excessive over-the-counter medications. Offenses involving Schedule I substances will only be considered misdemeanors if the amount in question was one gram or below.
What Drug Crimes Are Considered Felonies?
Offenses involving Schedule I drugs—above the aforementioned limit—are typically considered felonies. Schedule I substances are considered to be the most dangerous or addictive—including heroin and methamphetamine. Drug crimes involving lower-scheduled substances may also be considered felonies if the amount or activity meets certain criteria. For example, manufacturing or distributing high quantities of marijuana may result in felony charges.
What Are Some Ways to Reduce the Severity of My Charges?
While it may not always be possible to reduce the severity of a drug crime, there are steps you can take to help you obtain a more favorable outcome. If you are ever arrested, for example, practicing your right to remain silent can stop you from further implicating yourself.
No matter what the severity of the charges, it’s always a good idea to hire an attorney who is experienced with criminal law. With this knowledge, your lawyer will follow specific protocols to ensure you are treated fairly and justly in the courts.
If you’re facing drug charges in Montgomery or Stanly Counties, turn to Fulcher Law Firm for representation. Practicing criminal law for over 18 years, this attorney understands the intricacies of North Carolina drug offenses and how to best present them in court. To learn more about this lawyer’s diverse practice areas—including personal injury and family law—visit the firm online. If you’d like to arrange an informative consultation, call (704) 984-6060 to reach the Albemarle, NC, office.