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Cocaine offenses: How does North Carolina law treat offenders?

On Behalf of | Mar 7, 2024 | Drug Charges

Although some cultures use the substance as an anesthetic, cocaine is more infamous for its use as an illegal party drug in the United States. Cocaine induces an intense feeling of euphoria but can be addiction-forming. It also raises the risk of stroke, heart attack and sudden cardiac death in users.

North Carolina treats the possession and distribution of cocaine as a serious drug offense. If you’re caught with any amount of the substance, expect to face a litany of penalties.

Possession charges

Possession of cocaine, even in small amounts, is a punishable offense in North Carolina. Possession of less than half an ounce is a Class I felony. A conviction for a Class I felony leads to up to a year of imprisonment.

Sale and trafficking charges

Selling cocaine is a much more serious offense, which is why the penalties are more severe. These charges also trigger when a person possesses 28 grams or more of cocaine, regardless of whether or not they had the intent to distribute.

If a person sells, manufactures, delivers or possesses at least 28 grams of cocaine but not more than 200 grams, the offense is a Class G felony. This is punishable by up to 51 months of imprisonment and $50,000 in fines.

Meanwhile, if a person sells, manufactures, delivers, or possesses 200 grams or more but less than 400 grams of cocaine, they commit a Class F felony. This offense carries up to 93 months of imprisonment and $100,000 in fines.

Those caught selling, manufacturing, delivering or possessing 400 grams or more of cocaine face the highest possible penalties. The offense is a Class D felony, which leads to up to 222 months of imprisonment and $250,000 in fines on conviction.

Cocaine charges can severely impact the life of the accused. Apart from years of imprisonment and thousands of dollars in fines, a conviction will also appear on the person’s criminal record, which can hurt their educational and employment opportunities. If you face charges, carefully consider your legal options. A lawyer experienced in criminal defense may be able to help you explore your options and walk you through the court process.