Drug offenses, even seemingly minor ones, can wreak havoc on your life. A drug offense can result in fines, imprisonment, and a criminal record that can follow you forever, making it difficult to obtain employment or even rent an apartment. If you have been charged with a drug offense, retain an experienced Raleigh drug offense attorney immediately.
Controlled Substances Defined
In North Carolina, drugs, also known as controlled substances, are defined by “schedule,” and are classified by level of danger and risk of addiction. Any charges levied against you will depend on the type of drug involved.
Here is how the state of North Carolina defines drugs:
Schedule I Drugs
These are defined as the most serious drugs, and often result in felony charges.
Schedule II Drugs
Though not considered as serious as Schedule 1 drugs, these types of drugs are still considered serious and can carry a serious misdemeanor charge.
Schedule III Drugs
This classification refers to addictive drugs that also have legitimate medical uses.
- Anabolic steroids
Schedule IV Drugs
Schedule IV drugs can be prescribed by a doctor, but are considered to be highly addictive.
Schedule V Drugs
These types of drugs have a low risk of addiction, but must be prescribed by a doctor. They typically include an opiate known as codeine.
Schedule VI Drugs
These types of drugs have a low risk of addiction, but also have no known medical use. Marijuana is a Schedule VI drug.
Misdemeanor Drug Offenses
If you are caught with a small amount of a Schedule II, Schedule III, Schedule IV, Schedule V, or Schedule VI drug, you will likely be charged with Misdemeanor Possession. These charges could result in fines, or even imprisonment, depending on the type of drug, If there is evidence of addiction, a court may recommend rehab.
In North Carolina, you can also be charged with a misdemeanor if you are found to be in possession of drug paraphernalia, such as a bong, or other device known for delivering illicit substances.
Felony Drug Offenses
Even for less dangerous drugs, felony charges can be brought against you in a variety of circumstances. Many federal drug offenses carry mandatory minimums, so it’s important to have an experienced drug offense attorney on your side.
Felony drug offenses include:
Possession becomes a felony if the drug in question is classified as a Schedule I substance. Felony possession can be defined as Actual Possession or Constructive Possession.
- Actual Possession – The drug is found on an individual’s person, and he or she is aware that the drugs are present.
- Constructive Possession – This is a bt trickier, as it must be determined that the person in possession of the drugs had control or dominion over its presence. Factors could include the person’s proximity to the drug, or whether or not the individual owned the property where the drugs were found.
Possession with Intent to Sell
If evidence is found that drugs in your possession were sold in exchange for money or other forms of compensation, you could be charged with Possession with Intent to Sell, which could result in imprisonment.
Maintaining a Dwelling
If you maintain a facility for the creation and distribution of controlled substances you can be charged with a felony. “Dwelling” is defined as a store, home, vehicle, boat, building, warehouse, or a storage facility.
Sale and Deliver
In order to be charged with the sale of drugs, evidence of compensation must be present. Compensation can include money, or other items of value.
If the person is found to have actually delivered the drugs in person, they can be slapped with a delivery charge as well.
Drug trafficking refers to the selling, transportation, and illegal import of unlawful controlled substances. It’s considered to be the most egregious of drug charges, and carries a mandatory prison sentence.
Federal Drug Charges
Since there are both state and federal laws regarding controlled substances, you may be charged on the federal level.
This typically occurs if:
- The charge is considerably egregious, such as drug trafficking
- The offense took place on federal property, such as a military base or a national park
- State and federal authorities were involved in your arrest
- There was an informant involved
Drug Raids – Know Your Rights
One of the many tools the government uses to win the War on Drugs is a raid. Many times, these raids are conducted under dubious circumstances and mistakes are made. If you are involved in a drug raid, there’s a real possibility your rights have been violated, which may result in the dismissal of charges.
While a raid can be jarring, scary, and confusing, it’s best to remain calm and know your rights:
- Law enforcement must have a warrant and present it to you
- Law enforcement must announce their presence
- Upon your arrest, your rights must be conveyed to you
Getting Help for Drug Addiction
Unfortunately, many individuals faced with drug charges are also fighting addiction. While the courts will occasionally take this into consideration in sentencing, recognizing that you have a problem and getting help before you end up with a criminal charge will have the most favorable outcome.
Here are a few organizations in Raleigh that can help you with drug addiction:
- Healing Transitions – Offers addiction recovery services to homeless and under served individuals with alcoholism and other drug addictions.
- Holly Hill Hospital – Provides support for individuals dealing with addiction and their families.
- First Step Services – Provides counseling and outpatient services for individuals dealing with addiction.
Call a Raleigh Drug Offense Attorney for Help
When determining penalties for drug offenses, the courts typically look at the type of substance involved, the amount, and prior criminal record. The drug offense attorneys at Kirk, Kirk, Howell, Cutler & Thomas have experience with misdemeanor and felony drug charges at the state and federal level. We will ensure that you are treated fairly by the courts.
Call us at (919) 615-2473 or complete the online contact form below to speak with a Raleigh drug offense attorney.
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