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Cocaine charges are always felonies

Cocaine charges are very serious, no matter the situation. While some drug crimes can net you relatively minor misdemeanor charges, cocaine always brings about felony charges. That's true if you sell it, move it over state lines or just possess it for personal use.

For instance, if you are caught with cocaine, that simple possession is a Class I felony. You could wind up behind bars for six to 12 months.

If you sell the cocaine, then you're likely looking a Class G felony. The Class G category is also used if you're accused of trafficking anywhere from 28 grams to 200 grams, and you could face fines of $50,000 and 35 to 51 months behind bars.

However, the Class G charges can be changed to Class E felony charges if certain circumstances arise. For example, it's a Class E felony if you sell to someone who is pregnant, to someone who is under the age of 16 or to someone who is under 300 feet from a school.

Trafficking charges generally change based on the amount. For example, if you have between 200 grams and 400 grams, it becomes a Class F felony. For that, your fine could jump to $100,000 and your jail time could increase to anywhere from 70 to 93 months. If you have more than 400 grams, then it could become a Class D felony. That could net you anywhere from 175 to 222 months behind bars and a fine of $250,000.

It's critical to know just how serious and life-changing cocaine charges can be. If you're accused of possessing, selling or trafficking, be sure you fully understand your legal defense options.

Source: FindLaw, "North Carolina Cocaine Laws," accessed Aug. 23, 2017

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