The penalties for possessing illegal drugs will depend heavily on both the type of drugs involved and the amount possessed. These penalties can range from a small fine to a five-year prison sentence. Feeling nervous about these serious consequences and the uncertainty about where you might fall in this range of criminal charges is understandable. Your Gastonia drug possession lawyer can help you understand what to expect as your case moves forward while providing the best possible defense for your situation.
What Types of Drug Possession Could You Be Charged With?
The most common and straightforward drug possession charge you might face is simple possession. This means you either had the drug on you or within your control, and the amount was small enough that the court can assume it was for your personal use. If drugs are found in a space like your home or a shared vehicle, you could be charged with constructive possession. This involves the same penalties as simple possession but is based on whether you had access to the substance, not whether you physically possessed it.
If you’re found in possession of a large amount of illegal drugs, you could be charged with possession with intent to sell or distribute. This can lead to more serious trafficking charges, which come with longer prison sentences and larger fines.
What Are the Penalties for Drug Possession in Gastonia?
The penalties for drug possession depend on several situation-specific factors. These include the type of drug involved, the quantity, and whether you’ve been convicted of a drug-related offense before. These factors will also influence whether you’re charged with a misdemeanor or a felony.
Schedule I Drugs
Possessing Schedule I drugs comes with the most serious consequences. These drugs include:
In North Carolina, possessing a Schedule I substance is a felony. Conviction can result in up to five years in prison and a fine.
Schedule II Drugs
Schedule II drugs include:
- Other opium-based drugs
Possessing a small amount of these drugs is a misdemeanor that can result in up to two years in prison, a $2,000 fine, or both. In larger amounts, defined as one or more grams of cocaine or four or more doses, Schedule II possession can be considered a felony and result in up to five years in prison.
Schedule III and Schedule IV Drugs
North Carolina imposes the same penalties for possession of Schedule III and Schedule IV drugs. These substances include:
- Tylenol #3
- Codeine-based cough medicines
Possessing fewer than 100 tablets or doses of these drugs is a misdemeanor with a maximum penalty of two years in prison and a fine. Possession of a larger quantity is a felony that can result in up to five years in prison and a fine.
Schedule V Drugs
Schedule V drugs are substances with small amounts of codeine, opium, or atropine, including:
- Terpene Hydrate with codeine
- Robitussin AC
Possessing these drugs is a misdemeanor with a maximum penalty of six months in prison and a fine.
Schedule VI Drugs
Schedule VI drugs are marijuana and related drugs like THC and hashish. Penalties vary within this category depending on the amount involved. You could face up to:
- 30 days in prison and a $100 fine for 1/2 ounce of marijuana or less
- Two years in prison and a fine for between 1/2 ounce and one and 1/2 ounces of marijuana
- Five years in prison and a fine for more than one and 1/2 ounces of marijuana
Possessing drug paraphernalia is also a misdemeanor that can result in up to 120 days in prison.
What Defenses Are Possible for a Drug Possession Charge?
Depending on the details of your case, there are several arguments your Gastonia drug possession lawyer might make in your defense. A common approach is questioning whether the police performed an illegal search to find the drugs. If the drugs were in plain view or the police had a legitimate reason to believe you had an illegal substance, the search was likely legal. However, if they opened your car’s trunk without permission, your Gastonia drug possession attorney may be able to challenge the search.
Claiming that the drugs belonged to someone else isn’t usually a solid defense. However, it could apply if your case involves drugs found in a shared vehicle or other space that others can access. Other defenses include questioning whether the evidence was handled correctly or whether the substance is, in fact, the illegal drug it appears to be. Your drug possession attorney in Gastonia will discuss your side of the story with you and study the facts of your case to determine the best approach.
Contact a Gastonia Drug Possession Lawyer to Discuss Your Case
Drug possession can come with serious consequences that affect the rest of your life, especially if you’re convicted of a felony. Because the specific consequences are based on the details and facts of your case, it’s important to hire an attorney to defend you. Your Gastonia drug possession attorney will give you a realistic sense of what to expect as your case proceeds. They’ll also be able to present your case in the best possible light to help you get a better outcome than what you might be able to manage on your own.
The drug possession attorneys at King Law have the experience and empathy to guide you through your drug possession case. Securing representation starts with scheduling a consultation. Give us a call at (888) 748-5464 or (888) 748-KING to arrange a consultation. Alternatively, complete our contact form, and we’ll get back to you as soon as possible.