North Carolina Drug Schedules

North Carolina’s drug laws are severe, especially when compared to other states. Whether you are caught possessing, distributing, selling, or manufacturing an illicit drug, you’re likely to face harsh penalties that could have a significant impact on your life.

However, you must remember each case is different. If you or a loved one has been charged with an offense relating to a controlled substance, your first step should be to get in touch with the North Carolina criminal defense lawyers at Mulligan Attorneys. We can go over the specifics of your case with you to determine what the best course of action is to protect your rights.

North Carolina Drug Schedules and Penalties

As with any legal topic, understanding the law is the first step to avoid breaking it. What follows is a breakdown of North Carolina drug schedules as they are described by the North Carolina Controlled Substances Act.

Schedule I Controlled Substances in North Carolina

A Schedule I controlled substance is defined as one which has no accepted medical abuse as well as a high probability of abuse. This includes substances such as LSD, opiates, heroin, ecstasy, and Psilocybin mushrooms, amongst others.

Possession of a Schedule I drug in North Carolina carries a penalty of a Class I felony and 4-5 months in jail. The maximum penalty for possessing a Schedule I drug in North Carolina is a Class I felony, up to five years in prison, and/or a fine.

Schedule II Controlled Substances in North Carolina

Schedule II controlled substances do have an accepted medical use, but a high potential for addiction as well as psychological and physical dependence. Opium, codeine, cocaine, fentanyl, oxycodone, and hydrocodone all fall into the Schedule II category, amongst others.

The first offense for possession of a Schedule II controlled substance in North Carolina is a Class 1 misdemeanor and 45 days in jail. A second offense warrants a Class 1 felony and 4-5 months in jail. Finally, the maximum penalty is up to five years in prison, a Class 1 felony charge, and/or a substantial fine, depending on how much was possessed.

Schedule III Controlled Substances in North Carolina

Drugs with an accepted medical use, but also a low to moderate probability of abuse, fall under the Schedule III category. This includes, but isn’t limited to, things like ketamine, anabolic steroids, testosterone, and certain barbiturates.

First offenders found in possession of a Schedule III drug in North Carolina could face a Class 1 misdemeanor charge and up to 45 days in jail. Second offenders are often charged with a Class 1 felony and 4-5 months in jail. The maximum penalty for possession of a Schedule III drug is a Class 1 felony, a fine, and/or up-to five years in prison, depending on the quantity possessed.

prescription drug laws

Schedule IV Controlled Substances in North Carolina

Schedule IV drugs are also accepted for medical use and have an even lower potential for abuse and dependency. This may include drugs like Xanax, valium, barbital, Ambien, and tramadol, to name a few.

First offense charges for possession of a schedule IV controlled substance in North Carolina may include a Class 1 misdemeanor charge and up to 45 days in jail and second offenses may include a Class 1 felony and 4-5 months in jail. 

The maximum penalty, depending on the quantity of Schedule IV substances being possessed, is a Class 1 felony, a fine, and/or up-to five years of prison time.

Schedule V Controlled Substances in North Carolina

Substances in this category have an even lower potential for abuse, as well as an accepted medicinal application. This category generally includes antidiarrheal, antitussive, and analgesic medications, like Lomotil, Motofen, and certain cough syrups.

A first offender charged with possession of a Schedule V controlled substance in North Carolina is likely to be charged with a Class 2 misdemeanor and face up to 30 days in jail and a second offender will likely be charged with a Class 1 misdemeanor and 45 days in jail. The maximum penalty includes a misdemeanor charge, up to six months in jail, and/or a fine.

Schedule VI Controlled Substances in North Carolina

The last category is Schedule VI controlled substances, containing drugs that have no accepted medical use but an insignificant probability of abuse or dependence, such as marijuana (cannabis) and its derivatives.

A first offense for possession of a Schedule VI drug in North Carolina typically carries a Class 3 misdemeanor charge and up to 10 days in jail. Second offenders may be charged with a Class 2 misdemeanor and up to 30 days in jail.

Finally, the maximum penalty for possessing a Schedule VI controlled substance could involve either misdemeanor or felony charges, fines, and up to five years of jail time, depending on how much of the substance the accused possesses.

Wilmington, North Carolina Criminal Defense Lawyers

Whether you’re accused of a misdemeanor, felony, or another drug-related offense, you can count on the criminal defense team at Mulligan Attorneys to have your best interests in mind. Schedule a free consultation and discover how we may be able to help by calling 910-763-1100.