05Nov, 2018

How Possessing Drugs Can Lead to a Trafficking Charge in NC
Posted By: Schlosser & Pritchett

The term “drug trafficking” conjures up images of hardened criminals and cartels, who make their living off of a life of crime. However, it’s common for individuals or small partnerships to face drug trafficking charges as well.

In fact, you can even face drug trafficking charges simply for possessing a large quantity of drugs.

How is this possible?

Because drug trafficking is in part a crime of intent, and possessing an amount of substance that could reasonably be considered too large for personal use can be considered grounds for a drug trafficking charge, as it would be reasonable to assume that you intend to distribute the substance.

At least, that’s the argument made by our state. Let’s dive into how it works in principle.

Threshold Amounts for North Carolina Drug Trafficking Charges

Possessing more than the following threshold amounts will automatically result in a drug trafficking charge in North Carolina:

  • Cocaine: 28+ grams
  • Marijuana: 10+ pounds
  • Synthetic cannabinoid: 3+ grams
  • Methamphetamine: 28+ grams
  • MDMA/ecstasy: 28+ grams or more than 100 dosage units (pills)
  • Heroin: 4+ grams
  • LSD: 100+ dosage units (usually blotters)

Mandatory Prison Time If Convicted in North Carolina

If you are convicted of drug trafficking in North Carolina, you will face a lengthy mandatory minimum prison sentence ranging from 25 to 225 months, depending on the type and amount of substance you are found to be in possession of. This mandatory minimum cannot run concurrently with other sentences, and is not eligible for parole, probation, or suspension of sentence.

The only possible way to avoid prison time for a North Carolina drug trafficking conviction is to offer substantial assistance to law enforcement – otherwise known as “snitching.” This typically involves helping law enforcement catch other drug dealers, either by providing information or participating in a sting operation intended to catch other drug dealers in the act.

Do this and you will still have a felony drug crime on your criminal record, but may be able to avoid prison time, or to lessen the length of your prison sentence.

North Carolina Drug Trafficking Sentencing and Penalties

North Carolina Drug Trafficking Sentencing and Penalties

Like all drug crimes, drug trafficking is charged and sentenced based on the type and amount of substance in question. The following sentencing and penalties apply for North Carolina drug trafficking convictions:

Marijuana

  • 10-49lbs: Class H felony punishable by 25-39 months in prison and a $5,000 fine.
  • 50-1,999lbs: Class G felony punishable by 35-51 months in prison and a $25,000 fine.
  • 2,000-9,999lbs: Class F felony punishable by 70-93 months in prison and a $50,000 fine.
  • 10,000+ pounds: Class D felony punishable by 175-222 months in prison and a $200,000 fine.

Cocaine

  • 28-199 grams: Class G felony punishable by 35-51 months in prison and a $50,000 fine.
  • 200-399 grams: Class F felony punishable by 70-93 months in prison and a $100,000 fine.
  • 400+ grams: Class D felony punishable by 175-222 months in prison and a $250,000 fine.

Methamphetamine

  • 28-199 grams: Class F felony punishable by 70-93 months in prison and a $50,000 fine.
  • 299-399 grams: Class E felony punishable by 90-120 months in prison and a $100,000 fine.
  • 400+ grams: Class C felony punishable by 225-282 months in prison a $250,000 fine.

Amphetamine

  • 28-199 grams: Class H felony punishable by 25-39 months in prison and a $5,000 fine.
  • 299-399 grams: Class G felony punishable by 35-51 months in prison and a $25,000 fine.
  • 400+ grams: Class E felony punishable by 90-120 months in prison and a $100,000 fine.

Opium or Heroin

  • 4-13 grams: Class F felony punishable by 70-93 months in prison and a $50,000 fine.
  • 14-27 grams: Class E felony punishable by 90-120 months in prison and a $100,000 fine.
  • 28+ grams: Class C felony punishable by 225-282 months in prison a $500,000 fine.

LSD

  • 100-499 units: Class G felony punishable by 35-51 months in prison and a $25,000 fine.
  • 500-999 units: Class F felony punishable by 70-93 months in prison and a $50,000 fine.
  • 1,000+ units: Class D felony punishable by 175-222 months in prison and a $200,000 fine.

MDMA or Ecstasy

  • 28-199 grams or 100-499 units: Class G felony punishable by 35-51 months in prison and a $25,000 fine.
  • 200-399 grams or 500-999 units: Class F felony punishable by 70-93 months in prison and a $50,000 fine.
  • 400+ grams or 1,000+ units: Class D felony punishable by 175-222 months in prison and a $250,000 fine.

Greensboro Drug Trafficking Lawyer

The lesson?

Quantity matters. Keep too much of any drug in your possession and you may end up being hit with a trafficking charge.

These types of offenses are incredibly serious, but they are still just that – charges. Depending on the specifics of the alleged offense, a number of defense strategies may be available to help you avoid conviction.