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Photo of Joshua Nielsen
Photo of Joshua Nielsen

Know the penalties for North Carolina drug crimes

On Behalf of | Dec 15, 2019 | criminal defense, Drug Charges

Like the federal government, North Carolina categorizes controlled substances depending on their potential effects and whether they have any proven medical use. Schedule I drugs are the most dangerous and carry the most significant penalties for possession and trafficking, while drugs on lower schedules result in lower penalties. 

Explore the potential legal consequences of drug possession or trafficking charges in North Carolina. 

Schedule I drugs 

This category includes heroin; Quaaludes; MDMA (ecstasy); and hallucinogens such as psilocybin mushrooms, LSD and peyote. Possession of these drugs for personal use is a felony charge that carries up to five years in prison, while trafficking charges can result in up to 10 years in prison. 

Schedule II drugs 

This category contains all prescription opiates as well as narcotics, cocaine, amphetamine and methamphetamine. Possession for personal use is a misdemeanor with a maximum fine of $2,000 or up to two years in prison. The court can impose a felony charge carrying up to five years in prison for possession of at least 1 gram of cocaine, more than four units of hydromorphone or more than 100 units of any other Schedule II substance. Trafficking in this category is also a felony, punishable by up to 10 years in prison. 

Schedule III and IV drugs 

North Carolina penalties are the same for possession of substances in Schedule III or IV as they are for Schedule II drugs. Examples of these categories include anabolic steroids, codeine-based cough syrup, barbiturates and prescription drugs such as Valium and Darvon. Trafficking of Schedule III or IV drugs is a felony that carries up to five years in prison. 

Other penalties 

Schedule V drugs contain limited amounts of codeine, such as Robitussin. Possession is a misdemeanor charge punishable by a fine or up to six months in prison, while trafficking is a felony associated with up to five years in prison. Possession of less than a half-ounce of marijuana carries a $100 or up to 30 days in prison.