Types of Cocaine Charges in North Carolina
Under North Carolina law, possessing even a tiny amount of cocaine is considered a felony offense. North Carolina classifies controlled substances based on their addictiveness, harmfulness, and potential for legitimate uses. Cocaine is regarded as a Schedule II controlled substance, making the penalties associated with cocaine crimes severe.
Simple Possession of Cocaine in North Carolina
Possession of a small amount of cocaine is considered a Class I felony in North Carolina, the least severe felony class. However, if you have been charged with simple possession of cocaine, you are still facing serious penalties, including a prison sentence between six months and one year. Although it is rare for first-time offenders to receive jail time, it is still possible. If you are convicted, you will still have a criminal record that can hurt your future career, housing, and educational options. Contacting an attorney as soon as possible can help you fight the charges against you.
Possession with Intent to Sell or Deliver Cocaine in North Carolina
If drug-related items are found close to the cocaine, prosecutors may charge the defendant with possession with intent to sell or deliver cocaine (PWISD). This is a more serious charge than simple possession and includes more severe penalties. For example, if law enforcement officers find empty sandwich bags, scales, cocaine, multiple bags, or large tons of cash, the defendant can be charged with a class H felony. For first-time offenders, the charge carries up to 10 months in jail or up to 30 months in jail for those with past criminal records.
Sale or Distribution of Cocaine in North Carolina
The sale or distribution of cocaine is an even more serious crime, categorized as a Class G felony. The penalty for this crime includes fines and up to 31 months in prison. If the amount of cocaine is suspected to be greater than 28 g, the defendant may face trafficking charges. Trafficking 28 to 200 g of cocaine is a Class G felony but carries harsher sentences than other offenses. Trafficking between 200 and 400 grams is considered a class felony with a penalty of up to 93 months in prison. When the amount is over 400 grams, the defendant will face a Class D Felony with a penalty of 175 to 219 months in prison.
Defending Cocaine Charges in Raleigh and Wake County
As you can see, the penalties for cocaine-related criminal charges are severe. An experienced criminal defense attorney can begin creating an effective legal strategy. You may be able to argue that you were not in actual or constructive possession of the cocaine or that your constitutional rights were violated during the search and seizure process. If the prosecution cannot prove every element of the crime beyond a reasonable doubt, they cannot convict you. An attorney may be able to successfully negotiate for lower charges or for the charges against you to be dismissed entirely.
Facing Cocaine-Related Charges? We Can Help
Have you been charged with simple possession of cocaine, possession with intent to sell or deliver cocaine, or the sale or distribution of cocaine? If so, the North Carolina criminal defense attorneys at Coastal South Law are here to help. Contact us to schedule an initial case evaluation and learn how we can fight for you.