Drug Classifications and Possible Penalties

Drug Classifications and Possible Penalties

North Carolina Drug Classifications

How you are charged depends largely on what type of substance was found in your possession and how much. The federal government adopted a classification system based on “schedules”. North Carolina statutes revolve around these schedules.

Schedule I drugs include those that are the most dangerous and have a high risk of addiction or dependency and no legitimate medical use. Drugs included under this heading include LSD, ecstasy, heroin and mescaline.

Schedule II substances still have a high risk of abuse but may have legitimate medical uses. These include things like opium, cocaine, methadone, methamphetamines, and amphetamines.

Schedule III drugs are slightly less dangerous than Schedule II substances, but still have a moderate risk of abuse. Schedule III substances include anabolic steroids, testosterone, ketamine, and some depressants.

Schedule IV drugs have a slight risk of dependency and have very acceptable medical uses. Some Schedule IV drugs are valium, xanax, tranquilizers, and sedatives.

Schedule V substances have a very low risk of dependency and include things like Tylenol with Codeine.

Schedule VI substances, like schedule V, have no medical use, according to the Government, and a very low risk of dependency. Marijuana is included in this schedule, but it should be noted, that it is a schedule 1 drug in the federal system.

Possible Consequences of North Carolina Drug Crimes

North Carolina Drug Possession Penalties

The following chart represents your potential sentence if you are charged with a first offense drug possession charge under North Carolina drug laws.


The potential sentences are:

  • Schedule 1- Class I 3-4 months max 14 months in prison
  • Felony Schedule 2- Class 1 4-6 months to 17 months in jail
  • Misdemeanor Schedule III- Class 1 misdemeanor 120 days in jail
  • Schedule IV- Class 1 misdemeanor 120 days in jail
  • Schedule V- Class 2 misdemeanor 60 days in jail
  • Schedule VI- Class 3 misdemeanor Up to 20 days in jail
Drug Possession w/Intent to Distribute - Penalties

Drug possession with intent to distribute is a more serious crime than possession alone. Under North Carolina law, possession of a certain amount of a controlled substance can result in a conviction for a class H Felony with penalties ranging as high as 39 months. Trafficking offenses deal with larger quantities of narcotics. Trafficking requires a mandatory prison sentence, even for a first time offender. A drug sentence depends on what the substance was that you were caught with and if you have any prior criminal history or convictions. The following chart gives you an idea of what the potential sentence would be for first time offenders being charged with trafficking related offenses. (Please note the drugs need not be in your actual physical possession to be charged with any drug offense.)

Illegal Trafficking Penalties

Probation and or Suspended Sentences are expressly forbidden for these offenses. North Carolina does not have parole, early release, good time or gain time. If you receive one of these sentences, you will serve the full amount.
Category Weight Duration Fine

Marijuana

  • 10 - 50 lbs. Class H Felony 25 - 30 Months and $5,000 Fine
  • 51 - 2000 lbs. Class G Felony 35 - 42 Months and $25,000 Fine
  • 2,000 - 9,999 lbs. Class F Felony 70 - 93 Months and $50,000 Fine
  • 10,000 lbs. or more Class D Felony 175 - 222 Months and $200,000 Fine
Heroin
  • 4 - 14 grams Class F Felony 70 - 93 Months $50,000 Fine
  • 14 - 28 grams Class E Felony 90 - 120 Months $100,000 Fine
  • 28 grams or more Class C Felony 225 - 282 Months $250,000 Fine
Cocaine
  • 28 - 199 grams Class G Felony 35 - 51 Months $50,000 Fine
  • 200 - 399 grams Class F Felony 70 - 93 Months $100,000 Fine
  • 400 grams or more Class D Felony 175 - 222 Months $250,000 Fine
Metham- phetamines
  • 28 - 199 grams Class F Felony 70 - 93 Months $50,000 Fine
  • 200 - 399 grams Class E Felony 90 - 120 Months $100,000 Fine
  • 400 grams or more Class C Felony 225 - 282 Months $250,000 Fine

Types of North Carolina Drug Offences

  • Violating drug trafficking laws
  • Possession, selling, distribution, transporting, cultivation, manufacturing of
    • Marijuana
    • Crack
    • Cocaine
    • Crystal Meth (including running meth labs)
    • Hallucinogens
    • Narcotics
    • Ecstasy
    • GHB
    • Opiates
    • Prescription drugs such as Vicodin, Valium, Percocet, or OxyContin
  • Obtaining a controlled substance by fraud or forgery
  • Maintaining a dwelling or motor vehicle to store drugs
  • Possession of drug paraphernalia
  • Related drug offenses