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Drug Charges

There's a War on Drugs in the United States, and very often North Carolina citizens get caught in the crossfire. Even mere possession of a substance deemed illegal by the government can result in criminal charges that can destroy a person's life.

Whether charged with possession, sale, delivery or manufacturing, you could face jail time, fines and a permanent criminal record that will be visible to potential employers, school admission officers, loan officers or others that make decisions that affect your life.

Raleigh Drug Defense Lawyer

If you face drug charges anywhere in the Research Triangle area, the knowledgeable attorneys at Clifford Law Group can be on your side. Our defense lawyers will challenge the evidence, look for mistakes in police procedure, and seek to get your charges reduced or dismissed. If you need to seek drug treatment court or other programs, our lawyers can assist you in negotiating with prosecutors.

Call us at (919) 256-3709 today to set up a free consultation. Clifford Law Group represents those facing drug charges in Wake County, Durham County, Orange County and the surrounding areas, including Raleigh, Chapel Hill and Durham.

North Carolina Drug Offense Information Center

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Schedules of Drugs Under North Carolina Law

Along with the Federal Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), the Commission for Mental Health, Developmental Disabilities and Substance Abuse Services, a state agency, has the power to classify controlled substances into different lists, called "schedules." The schedules are important because different schedules have different levels of punishment.

The schedules are extensive lists. The examples here are just a few of the narcotics in the schedule.

Schedule I: Heroin, mescaline, ecstasy (MDMA), peyote, LSD (acid)

The Commission finds these have no accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse.

Schedule II: Opium, codeine, morphine, cocaine, hydrocodone (Vicodin), amphetamines, oxycodone, PCP

These narcotics have a high potential for abuse and a currently accepted medical use with severe restrictions, under the findings of the Commission.

Schedule III: Anabolic steroids, various prescription medications that have a depressant effect on the central nervous system

These have a currently accepted medical use with less potential for abuse and moderate to low levels of physical dependence, or high levels of psychological dependence.

Schedule IV: Various depressants, including diazepam (valium), alprazolam (Xanax), zolpidem (Ambien), Phenobarbital

These have a low potential for abuse, a currently accepted medical use and limited potential for dependence.

Schedule V: Certain prescription drugs containing up to a certain amount of codeine or other narcotics

These have a low potential for abuse, a currently accepted medical use and a more limited potential for dependence.

Schedule VI: Marijuana and synthetic cannabinoids

Schedule VI is a limited schedule for drugs that have no currently accepted medical use, but have a low potential for abuse and their pharmacological effects are being research.

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Different Charges for Different Schedules in Raleigh

It is a crime under N.C.G.S. § 90-95 to:

However, the extent of punishment for each crime depends on the schedule the drug was contained in. There are also a range of different circumstances in North Carolina law that may extend or reduce your sentence if convicted of a drug crime in Raleigh, or any of the surrounding Triangle areas.

For a possession charge, it is a Class I felony to possess a Schedule I drug. It is a Class 1 misdemeanor to possess a drug that falls under Schedules II, III or IV, unless the amount exceeds the statutory limitations, in which case it becomes a Class I felony. Possessing a Schedule V drug leads to a Class 2 misdemeanor charge.

For manufacturing, selling, delivering, or possessing with the intent to manufacture, sell or deliver — usually determining by the amount, the way the narcotic is packaged and/or your alleged behavior when charged — is a Class H felony for a Schedule I or II, unless the drug is meth. For methamphetamine, the charge for manufacturing is a Class C felony, and it is a Class H felony for packaging, repackaging, labeling or relabeling meth.

It's a Class I felony to sell, manufacture, deliver or possess with the intent to sell, manufacture or deliver a Schedule III, IV, V or VI controlled substance.

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Punishments for Research Triangle Drug Convictions

North Carolina has a complicated "structured sentencing" scheme. Under the system, people convicted of crimes accumulate "points." The more points you have, the harsher the sentence imposed on you.

For a Class 2 misdemeanor, a conviction could lead to one to 30 days in jail; for a Class 1, 1-45 days in jail, and for Class I felony, 4-6 months and for a Class H felony, 5-6 months. However, all of these convictions may instead be punished by a "community punishment." A community punishment may include supervised or unsupervised probation, house arrest, community service or a fine.

A Class C felony may be punished by 58 to 73 months in jail.

All of these ranges are the presumptive sentence. If you've been convicted on other crimes, your sentence may go up considerably. There also may be fines.

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Drug Treatment Courts in Wake County

Depending on the circumstances surround your charges and your background, you may be eligible to participate in Drug Treatment Court. Drug Treatment Court is a diversion program for people facing certain non-violent drug convictions.

In drug treatment court, the person charged goes through treatment programs, has clean drug tests, remains employed or stays in school, meets their financial obligations (like taxes and child support), pays court costs and avoids new criminal charges while in the program. The program lasts one year. One such program is known as the 90-96 program, or conditional discharge, named for North Carolina General Statutes Chapter 90-96. In Raleigh, this program is monitored by Southlight, an non-profit agency run through the United Way.

You must be accepted into the program. Your Wake County criminal defense lawyer can negotiate for you to be able to be able to participate.

Clifford Law Group | Wake County Drug Arrest Attorney

Our Raleigh drug lawyers will stand by you, whatever your decisions, and defend you and your best interests zealously and vigorously. We will challenge the prosecution's evidence and seek to have your charges reduced or dismissed. Let us help you fight for your rights. Call Clifford Law Group today at (919) 256-3709 or contact us on our online form for a free consultation.