In North Carolina, there are several different types of felony drug crimes with which a person can be charged. The drug offenses range from crimes like drug possession, which is considered in some cases to be a lower-level crime, all the way up to serious drug felonies such as drug trafficking.
No matter what type of drug crime charge, it’s vital to understand that they are all serious felonies, and they come with weighty consequences in the state. Here is what you need to know about how North Carolina classifies different drug crimes.
Controlled Substances: What Are They?
If you want to understand drug felonies in North Carolina, you must first understand what the state considers to be a drug. Officially, drugs are referred to under the law as controlled substances. Each controlled substance has been placed on a schedule, from I to V, that reflects how dangerous the drug is.
Schedule I drugs are judged to be the most hazardous, since they are highly addictive but without any established medical use – while Schedule V drugs are the least dangerous since they have a low potential for abuse but are used in medical settings.
Examples of Schedule I drugs include GHB, heroin, and ecstasy, while Schedule V drugs include substances such as over-the-counter cough syrup with codeine.
Felony Drug Crimes
It’s vital to also understand the different types of felony drug crimes in North Carolina. These crimes include:
Possession of Controlled Substances
For possession of a controlled substance, you may be charged with what is called actual possession, or you may be charged with what is called constructive possession.
Actual possession is self-explanatory. It’s basically having the drug on your person and being aware that you have it. Constructive possession is a little trickier, since it can mean you have the intent and ability to exert power over the controlled substance, even if it’s not on your person.
Sale of Controlled Substances
In North Carolina, felony sale of a controlled substance must include the transfer of drugs from one person to another in exchange for some type of compensation. That can mean they exchange drugs for money, but it can also include other things of value such as jewelry, clothing, or services.
Delivery of a Controlled Substance
Delivery of a controlled substance can be charged in cases where a person attempts to transfer or is involved in the transfer of drugs to someone else.
Manufacture of a Controlled Substance
In a felony drug case, manufacturers are those who propagate, process, prepare, compound, or produce a controlled substance in any way. This crime can also be charged if someone packages or repackages a controlled substance or labels or relabels it.
Transportation of a Controlled Substance
Any movement or carrying of a controlled substance from one place to another is considered a crime, even if it’s only a short distance.
The penalties that can be faced for any of these drug felonies can be substantial – but it is based on the schedule of the controlled substance involved in the crime, plus the amount involved. The penalties can be significant under North Carolina sentencing guidelines, which is why you need the representation of an experienced attorney to help you through it.