You could face severe penalties if you face allegations of drug crimes in North Carolina. The law takes drug possession seriously, but charges and sentencing depend on the type of drug you possess.
North Carolina categorizes its maximum penalties by drug schedule.
Drug paraphernalia possession
Drug paraphernalia includes all equipment that allows a person to consume, conceal or produce an illicit substance. Paraphernalia possession is a misdemeanor with a maximum penalty of 120 days in jail.
Schedule I possession
Schedule I possession is a felony charge. Some schedule I substances include heroin, LSD, MDA and hallucinogens. If charged with possession, you could face a maximum of five years in prison.
Schedule II possession
Schedule II drugs include morphine, fentanyl, cocaine, amphetamines and opium. If you face schedule II possession charges, you could face two years in prison and a $2,000 fine. However, the penalties can change based on how much you have on your person at one time. For instance, one gram of cocaine could change a misdemeanor to a felony.
Schedule III and IV possession
Schedule III and IV possession have the same maximum penalties. For a misdemeanor charge, the penalty is two years in prison, but for felony charges, you could face five years in prison. Schedule III and IV drugs include barbiturates, codeine-based cough medicine and anabolic steroids.
Schedule V possession
Schedule V drugs include compounds that contain limited amounts of codeine. You could face a misdemeanor charge, a fine or up to six months in prison.
Regarding drug possession charges, the difference between misdemeanor and felony charges often depends on the type of drug and the amount.