If you’ve been arrested for possession or distribution of a controlled substance in Gastonia, NC, a drug crimes lawyer may be able to help you prove your innocence or get the least severe punishment possible. Our attorneys at King Law present the best possible care to ensure your freedom.
Understanding Drug Crimes Classification in Gastonia, NC
A controlled substance is an umbrella term that comprises different types of illicit drugs. The state of North Carolina categorizes controlled substances using a system of schedules based on how harmful, addictive, and medically valuable the drugs are.
The higher the schedule number grows, the lower the potential for drug abuse and dependence. Examples of the drugs listed in each of the six schedules include:
- Schedule I: These comprise mind-altering and highly addictive substances such as morphine, heroin, LSD, peyote, opiates, and ecstasy, among others.
- Schedule II: Controlled substances in this schedule are medically approved for use but with restrictions due to their addictive potential. These include opium, methamphetamine, fentanyl, hydrocodone, and codeine.
- Schedule III: Drugs under this schedule have an acceptable medical use with less potential for abuse or dependence than schedules one or two. Sedatives such as ketamine and barbiturates, along with anabolic steroids, are the most common here.
- Schedule IV: This schedule contains a mix of depressants and stimulants with lower dependence or abuse potentials, such as Valium, Rohypnol, Xanax, Darvon, Barbara, and Clonazepam.
- Schedule V: Substances listed in schedule five comprise over-the-counter medicines, codeine, and similar products with a low threat of abuse or dependence.
- Schedule VI: The last schedule holds substances with the least potential for abuse, including marijuana, synthetic cannabinoids, and hashish.
Any “precursor chemical” used to manufacture drugs, such as methamphetamine (meth), is also illegal.
Common Drug Crimes Charges in Gastonia
If you knowingly commit a drug crime in Gastonia, NC, your case will be prosecuted depending on what you did with the drugs at the time of your arrest. The state prohibits all acts involving the following:
Possessing any drug listed under the schedules is a felony offense in North Carolina. You may be charged with actual or constructive possession if you are found to be in possession of illegal drugs. An actual possession case means you were aware the drugs were on you at the time of arrest, while constructive possession refers to the intent and ability to maintain control of a drug, even if it is not on you at the time of arrest.
Any attempt to manufacture a controlled substance for other uses apart from research, teaching, or analysis is illegal under the North Carolina laws. If you’re found to have engaged in attempts to produce, propagate, convert, compound, or process a drug for uses other than those mentioned above, you may face the full wrath of the law. This also includes the packaging and repackaging of any drug containers.
You can be arrested for exchanging drugs with another person for any form of compensation, whether monetary or not. The court may also find you guilty of a drug crime if you have more drugs than the recommended dose for personal use, as it is presumed you plan to sell the rest.
If you engage in the actual transfer or attempt to transfer controlled substances in Gastonia, you may be charged with a drug crime, whether you were delivering the drugs to a nearby person or someone further away.
Penalties for Drug Crime Convictions in North Carolina
Drug crime penalties in North Carolina vary depending on the schedule of drug classification, amounts involved, and whether you have the intention of trafficking the drugs. The court may also consider your criminal history in the judgment. Some of the punishments you face could include:
- Possession: If you knowingly possess schedule I, II, III, IV, and VI drugs, you may face drug felony charges of up to 24 months in jail, whereas schedule V is classified as a misdemeanor punishable by 60 days in jail.
- Sale: Knowingly selling a schedule I and II controlled substance is a class G felony punishable by up to 47 months in prison, while Schedule III, IV, V, or VI drugs are a Class H felony, punishable by up to 39 months in jail.
- Manufacture: Intentionally manufacturing a controlled substance in schedule I and II is a Class H felony, punishable by up to 39 months in prison, whereas Schedule III, IV, V, or VI Drugs are Class I felony that could land up to 24 months in jail
- Delivery: Delivering a controlled substance in schedule I, II, III, IV, V, or VI drugs is a Class H felony, punishable by up to 39 months in jail.
When you knowingly possess a controlled substance with the intention to manufacture, sell or deliver it, you may be faced with drug trafficking charges. The severity of drug trafficking charges depends on the quantity of the controlled substance, as shown by the examples below:
For Marijuana drug trafficking, the penalties are as follows:
- 10 pounds to 49 pounds could amount to 25 to 39 months in jail, and a $5,000 fine
- 50 pounds to 1,999 pounds could result in 35 to 51 months in jail, and a $25,000 fine
- 2,000 pounds to 9,999 pounds could face 70-93 months in jail and a $50,000 fine
Any amount above 10,000 pounds could cause 175 to 222 months in jail and a $200,000 fine
For cocaine drug trafficking, the penalties are as follows:
- 28 grams to 199 grams can result in 35 to 51 months in jail, and a $50,000 fine
- 200 grams to 399 grams can cause 70 to 93 months in jail and a $100,000 fine
All amounts over 400 grams can cause 175 to 222 months in jail and a $250,000 fine
For meth drug trafficking, the penalties are as follows:
- 28 grams to 199 grams may amount to 70 to 93 months in prison, and a fine of $50,000
- 200 grams to 399 grams may cause 90 to 100 months in prison and a 100,000 fine
- 400 grams or more may result in 225 to 282 months in prison, and a $250,000 fine
These are prime examples of drugs commonly involved in drug crimes in Gastonia. Others apply depending on the drug and the amounts involved.
Contact the Experienced Gastonia Drug Crimes Attorneys at King Law
Our seasoned King Law drug crime defense attorneys will thoroughly examine your case and challenge the charges against you. We will try to find the best ground for your charges to be dropped due to improper arrest, illegal search and seizure, or lack of probable cause to stop you.
If your case goes forward, some of the disputes we will try to raise that may absolve your case include the authenticity of the alleged drugs and their amount, intent to sell and deliver, and the reliability of witnesses. Contact us today for the best criminal defense legal representation in Gastonia and the larger North Carolina area. You could also reach us at 888) 748-5464 or (888) 748-KING.