Although multiple states have recently decriminalized recreational marijuana use, marijuana is still considered a controlled substance in North Carolina. If you are charged with possession of marijuana or intent to sell it, your future can be in jeopardy, including your educational and employment opportunities.
North Carolina's Marijuana Possession Law
Depending on the quantity of marijuana found in the defendant's possession, the marijuana conviction charge can be a misdemeanor or a felony. Marijuana is considered a schedule 6 substance in North Carolina, the lowest classification for a controlled substance. It is a crime to knowingly possess any amount of a controlled substance in North Carolina, including marijuana. Possession of fewer than 1.5 ounces is a misdemeanor charge. Possession of .05 ounces or less is considered a Class 1 misdemeanor.
Common Drug Possession Defenses
If you have been charged with marijuana possession, it is important that you hire an experienced attorney. Even though most people do not consider marijuana a particularly dangerous drug, the penalties can have a long-term impact on your life. Depending on the amount of marijuana, defendants can face felony charges and years in jail. Even if you are only convicted of a misdemeanor, that charge will still be on your criminal record. There are numerous defenses your attorney can use to try to get the charges against you dismissed or reduced, including the following:
You were not in actual or constructive possession of the marijuana at the time because the marijuana belonged to someone else
Law enforcement officers violated your constitutional rights by engaging in an illegal search or seizure
You were the victim of entrapment by law enforcement officers
The prosecution cannot prove that the alleged controlled substance is marijuana or another illegal drug
In criminal cases, prosecutors have the highest burden of proof to convict defendants. They have to prove every single crime element beyond a reasonable doubt. In many cases, prosecutors know they do not have adequate or compelling evidence against a defendant for marijuana possession charges. When you work with an experienced attorney, your attorney can begin gathering evidence and negotiating aggressively with the prosecution. If the prosecution realizes they do not have enough evidence to convict you, they will be less likely to pursue charges against you.
Participating in a Substances Abuse Class
According to N.C. General Statute 90-96, defendants charged with possession of marijuana for the first time have the option to undergo a substance abuse class. If you complete the class, you could have the charges against you dismissed. As a result, you will not have a criminal record.
Only defendants who meet the eligibility requirements for this program and can successfully complete it will have the charges against them dismissed at the end of the process. You will not be eligible for this class if you have multiple drug-related convictions on your record, but your attorney can develop another legal defense strategy on your behalf.
Discuss Your Case with a North Carolina Attorney
Discussing your case with an experienced criminal defense attorney can help protect your rights and give you the best chance of having the charges against you dismissed or reduced. Contact the Southeastern, North Carolina attorney to schedule a consultation with an experienced attorney.