If you’ve been arrested for possession of marijuana or other drug paraphernalia in North Carolina, you might not have any idea where to start. What will happen? How will you be charged? Let’s take a look at what happens in this situation.
NORTH CAROLINA LAWS
The laws on possession vary greatly from state to state. North Carolina considers marijuana a Schedule VI substance. This means that it falls under the category of the lowest severity because the drug possesses little risk for dependence and addiction. Other drugs carry a higher rate and are therefore punished more severely.
Your potential punishment for possession of marijuana depends on how much you had on you at the time you were caught. It also can be based on any prior convictions, drug charges or criminal record. If you have a lot of other convictions or arrests in your past, that may be taken into account towards your punishment. If this is your first offense, that may also be taken into account.
If you are in possession of less than ½ ounce at the time when you are arrested, you will be charged with a Class III misdemeanor and usually will face no jail time and a $200 fee. If you are caught with somewhere between ½ ounce and 1 ½ ounces, you will be charged with a Class I misdemeanor, which could mean up to 45 days in jail. With the help of legal representation, you may be able to get this lowered, or brought down to only probation. If you are caught with anywhere between 1 ½ ounces and 10 pounds of marijuana, that is considered a felony and you could serve up to 10 years in prison.
POSSESSION WITH THE INTENT TO DISTRIBUTE
If you are caught with marijuana and have the intention of selling it or distributing it, you may face harsher penalties. If items such as baggies, scales, tools and excess cash are found on your or at your place of residence, the court may determine that you had the intent to sell what you are possessing. The intent to possess is considered a Class I felony and can result in up to 12 months of jail time. If you have any prior criminal record, this can easily be increased.
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