Like other states, North Carolina’s punishments for the possession or trafficking of drugs are significant. Even a first-time offender can face years in prison and a hefty fine even for the simple possession of certain types of drugs.
The exact penalties depend a lot on the type of drug.
For example, so-called Schedule I drugs, which include heroin and drugs that, in the eyes of some, have little medical value and a high potential for abuse, can carry a prison term of 5 years for possession in any amount.
Any trafficking in a Schedule I drug, even if not for money, can lead to a prison term of up to 10 years.
Many drugs that are commonly used in the practice of medicine, including many common painkillers, can also lead to serious criminal penalties.
For these types of drugs, the amount a person has in his or her possession may be the difference between a sentence of up to 2 years and a 5-year prison term.
North Carolina treats certain prescription drugs and marijuana differently than most other drugs. Penalties associated with these drugs can be more lenient, especially when no drug trafficking is involved.
Still, charges of this sort can lead to significant legal consequences both inside and outside the criminal justice system.
Finally, even the possession of so-called drug-paraphernalia, like a pill crusher or a pipe, can lead to a criminal conviction and a jail term of up to 120 days.
Take all drug charges seriously
Anyone facing any kind of criminal drug charge in North Carolina’s courts needs to take it seriously. Aside from the possibility of jail and fines, there can be other significant consequences. People facing drug charges should evaluate their legal options carefully.