You've been accused of marijuana possession. No big deal, right? Wrong. The state of North Carolina does not take possession of this or any other drug lightly.
If you are facing marijuana-related drug charges, the penalties if convicted can actually be quite severe. North Carolina, like other states, has decriminalized simple possession; however, possession with intent to distribute is still a felony level offense.
To date, North Carolina only allows the use of cannabis oil for those suffering from seizure disorders. These individuals must have a valid prescription in order to obtain and possess the drug. Bills to approve the use of marijuana for other medicinal purposes have failed to pass.
As it currently stands, those found in possession of marijuana may face one of three charges: simple possession, sale and trafficking. The consequences for each of these are as follows:
- Simple possession: Those is possession of .5 ounces or less will likely have to pay a $200 fine. Those carrying .5 to 1.5 ounces may spend up to 45 days in jail and have to pay a fine of $1,000. Finally, those found carrying 1.5 ounces to 10 pounds — a felony level offense — may end up spending up to 8 months in jail and have to pay a $1,000 fine.
- Sale: Those found carrying over 5 pounds of the drug with the purpose of selling it may be charged with a Class I felony. The penalties for this include jail time and fines.
- Trafficking: This is also a felony level offense with penalties ranging from 25 months to 219 months in prison and fines ranging from $5,000 to $200,000.
Clearly, the consequences of conviction are all over the board.
Knowing that North Carolina does not take marijuana laws lightly and that the consequences can be severe, it may make you feel that there is little you can do to fight your case. Do not let this scare you, there may be hope. There are various defense options that may be utilized; it all depends on the facts of your case.
There are things you can do to protect yourself and your current and future interests. With the assistance of an experienced criminal defense attorney, you can make an informed decision regarding the best way to handle your case.