In North Carolina, cocaine charges are governed by stringent laws and convictions generally result in severe penalties. These charges vary based on several factors, including the amount of cocaine, the purpose of one’s possession and an individual’s prior criminal history.
Cocaine is classified as a controlled substance in North Carolina. From simple possession to more severe offenses like trafficking, the repercussions of related charges can be significant, impacting an individual’s personal and professional life.
Cocaine possession and its penalties in North Carolina
Possession of cocaine in North Carolina is a felony regardless of the amount involved. For possession of cocaine in a small amount that’s considered for personal use, the charge is a Class I felony that can result in a sentence of six months to one year in jail. Repeat offenses or possession of larger amounts can lead to more severe penalties.
Cocaine sales and trafficking
Selling cocaine is always a felony charge. It’s a Class G for most situations; however, it increases to a Class E if the sale is within 300 feet of a school, to a pregnant woman or someone under 16 years old.
Trafficking cocaine in North Carolina is a more serious charge and is primarily determined by the weight of the drug.
- 28 to 200 grams: Class G felony
- 200 to 400 grams: Class F felony
- 400 grams or more: Class D felony
Typically, a cocaine trafficking conviction can lead to 35 to 222 months in prison, depending on the amount. There are also fines of $50,000 up to $250,000 possible for these convictions.
The role of drug court in North Carolina
North Carolina’s drug court system plays a crucial role in the state’s approach to handling drug-related offenses. Drug court offers an alternative to the traditional criminal justice process by focusing on rehabilitation through supervised treatment programs. Participation in drug court can lead to reduced sentences or alternative sentencing options for eligible defendants.
Understanding the various cocaine charges and their penalties in North Carolina is essential for anyone navigating the state’s legal system. Because of the complexities of these cases, it’s critical for anyone facing these charges to work with someone who can provide them with guidance about their options for building a defense strategy.