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Drug crimes in North Carolina impact many people from all walks of life. In our state, there are several types of criminal offenses related to drugs that a person can get charged with – and each has penalties.

While you may think of time in prison or fines, the penalties for drug offenses don’t stop there. There are many ways in which a drug crime conviction can impact your life. That’s why it’s vital for every person in North Carolina to know a little about drug crimes in the state and the penalties you can face. Read on to find out more.

There Are Six Drug Schedules in North Carolina

North Carolina follows the federal government regarding drug scheduling, which is why you can find six different drug schedules in our state. The substances found on Schedule I have the highest chance for abuse and addiction, while those on Schedule VI are the least dangerous and have accepted medical uses.

The schedule that a drug is on will have a direct impact on the penalties faced in either a drug possession or drug trafficking case.

NC Has Two Categories for Drug Offenses

Our state recognizes two categories of drug activities: Possession and trafficking. Possession has many sub-categories you can get charged under, such as possession with the intent to distribute or possession of chemicals used to manufacture drugs. But in general, it doesn’t have as harsh penalties as trafficking.

What determines how you’ll get charged? Often, the amount of drugs in your possession is a big factor. The more you have, along with other items that may support a more severe charge, the more likely you are to be hit with something like trafficking.

Penalties Will Differ in North Carolina

The amount of the drug in your possession and its schedule, as well as any evidence that you had the intent to sell the drug, will inform the penalties you face if convicted of a drug offense in North Carolina.

Drug crimes can range from misdemeanors to felonies. Possession of any drug on Schedule I will be a felony, but the substances on Schedule II through VI have a little more leeway in the sentencing, which means you may face a misdemeanor charge based on the circumstances of your case.

Misdemeanors can send you to jail for a few weeks or months and include fines. And if you get convicted of a second misdemeanor drug crime in the state, you can face increased penalties for the crime. Trafficking drugs gets charged as a felony.

Other Consequences in NC

Greensboro Drug Lawyer

After any jail or prison time has been served and all fines paid, there are still consequences a drug conviction can cause you to face in the state. These are called collateral consequences, and they include things such as:

  • Problems finding housing
  • Inability to apply for government or public assistance
  • Reduced employment opportunities
  • Limits to your education and funding for your education

North Carolina remains strict when it comes to drug laws and enforcement. If you’re facing charges, no matter how minor they may seem, you need a skilled and experienced attorney on your side.


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