Drug Laws in North Carolina

Drug laws can be complicated. This is partially because these laws are always changing or being updated, and partially because, while both federal and state laws may both apply, they often contradict each other. Not only can this make understanding drug laws difficult, but it can also make it tricky to successfully navigate a trial that involves a drug arrest or accusation.

If you or a loved one have been accused of violating any drug law, it’s important to get in touch with a North Carolina drug attorney as soon as possible. The drug trial process can be incredibly long and complicated, and often ends up taking a huge toll on the accused and their family. This is not a situation you should try to handle on your own. Instead, click here to get in touch with the criminal defense lawyers at Mulligan Attorneys.

Overview of North Carolina Drug Laws

In North Carolina, possession, cultivation, distribution, and manufacturing any kind of controlled substance is illegal. North Carolina Statutes Article 5, § 90-86, addresses illegal behaviors as they pertain to illicit substances more specifically:

  • Manufacturing, selling, delivering, or possessing with the intention to manufacture, sell, or deliver a controlled substance.
  • Creating, selling, delivering, or possessing with the intention to sell or deliver a counterfeit controlled substance.
  • Possessing a controlled substance.
  • Possessing a chemical with the intention to manufacture a controlled substance or meth.
  • Possessing or distributing a chemical knowing (or reasonably believing) it’ll be used to manufacture a controlled substance or meth.

The charges and/or penalties for violating any portion of these laws depend heavily on the specific facts and circumstances of the situation. However, it is worth noting that North Carolina’s Death by Distribution law allows for drug dealers to be held accountable for overdose deaths that stem from a sale they made.

North Carolina Marijuana Laws

Though we’ve covered cannabis laws in North Carolina in more detail in our “Marijuana Laws” blog, it’s worth mentioning the penalty details again:

Selling Marijuana in North Carolina

Selling or delivering cannabis is a Class I felony with penalties that vary between 4-222 months in jail and a $1,000-$200,000 fine, depending on how much marijuana is sold or delivered.

Possession of Marijuana in North Carolina

  • Those found with less than 0.5 oz of cannabis will be charged with a misdemeanor and $200 fine.
  • Those found with between 0.5 and 1.5 oz of cannabis will be charged with a misdemeanor, a $1,000 fine, and could spend 1-45 days in jail.
  • Those possessing 1.6 oz of marijuana or more will be charged with a felony, a $1,000 fine, and could spend between 3-8 months in jail.

Trafficking Marijuana in North Carolina

  • Those found trafficking between 10-50 lbs will be charged with a Class H felony, 25-30 months in jail, and/or a $5,000 fine.
  • Those found trafficking between 50-2,000 lbs will be charged with a Class G felony, 35-42 months in jail, and/or a $25,000 fine.
  • Those found trafficking between 2,000-10,000 lbs will be charged with a Class F felony, 70-84 months in jail, and/or a $50,000 fine.
  • Those found trafficking over 10,000 lbs will be charged with a Class D felony, 175-219 months in jail, and/or a $200,000 fine.

North Carolina Heroin Laws

Unfortunately, heroin abuse is fairly commonplace in North Carolina. It’s one of the most dangerous illicit drugs there is, causing users to frequently suffer severe health problems, addiction, overdoses, and deaths.

In North Carolina, heroin is classified in the highest category as a Schedule I drug, meaning that it has no medical use and a very high potential for abuse. Penalties for heroin possession, trafficking, and sale are as follows:

Selling Heroin in North Carolina

Selling any amount of heroin will result in the accused being charged with a Class G felony and between 8-31 months in jail. Selling heroin to someone under the age of 16, to a pregnant woman, or within 300 ft. of school property is a Class E felony punishable by 15-63 months in jail.

Possession of Heroin in North Carolina

Possessing any amount of heroin will result in a Class I felony and between 3-12 months in jail.

Trafficking Heroin in North Carolina

  • Trafficking between 4-14 grams of heroin is a Class F felony and carries a 70-84 month jail sentence and $50,000 fine.
  • Trafficking between 14-28 grams of heroin is a Class E felony and carries a 90-117 month jail sentence and $100,000 fine.
  • Trafficking more than 28 grams of heroin is a Class C felony and carries a 225-279 month jail sentence and $500,000 fine.

Drug possession in North Carolina

North Carolina Cocaine Laws

Cocaine (and any of its derivatives) is classified as a Schedule II drug in North Carolina. Though not considered as addictive or dangerous as heroin, cocaine can also cause serious health problems and result in overdoses and deaths in users. Penalties for various violations involving cocaine are as follows:

Selling Cocaine in North Carolina

Regardless of the quantity, the punishment for selling cocaine in North Carolina is an automatic Class G felony and an 8-31 jail sentence. Like heroin, selling cocaine to someone under the age of 16, to a pregnant woman, or within 300 ft. of school property is a Class E felony that can result in between 15 and 63 months in jail.

Possession of Cocaine in North Carolina

Those who possess cocaine in NC will be charged as a Class I felony and between 6-12 months in jail, though the penalties can be worse depending on the amount of cocaine in question.

Trafficking Cocaine in North Carolina

  • Trafficking between 28-200 grams of cocaine is a Class G felony carrying a 35-51 month jail sentence and $50,000 fine.
  • Trafficking between 200-400 grams of cocaine is a Class F felony carrying a 70-93 month jail sentence and $100,000 fine.
  • Trafficking more than 400 grams of cocaine is a Class D felony carrying a 175-222 month jail sentence and $250,000 fine.

Find a North Carolina Drug Lawyer

Remember, the rules surrounding drug possession, sale, trafficking, and more are always changing as new laws and legislations are passed. Even if you think you understand what you’re up against, you may still find yourself ill-equipped to handle the complexity of a drug case or trail. Don’t risk your life or livelihood by handling drug charges yourself.

The lawyers at Mulligan Attorneys have years of experience with drug and criminal charges and may be able to help you with your case. Give us a call to schedule your free consultation at 910-763-1100.