The possession of illegal drugs in North Carolina is already one of the more serious criminal offenses anyone can face. However, allegations of drug trafficking lead to far stricter penalties for conviction.
Unlike the offense of possession, trafficking convictions are also based on weight instead of intent. This means that past a certain amount of a controlled substance, you could face charges for drug trafficking instead of simple possession.
The importance of weight thresholds
Under North Carolina law, there are specific weight thresholds that elevate drug possession offenses to trafficking status. For example, for a marijuana possession offense to become trafficking, the offender must have 10 pounds or more of the substance. For cocaine possession to become trafficking, the offender must have 28 grams or more on their person.
Penalties for trafficking
Penalties for drug trafficking in North Carolina are severe. A conviction often results in mandatory minimum prison sentences and fines.
The sentences also vary per controlled substance and quantity. For example, trafficking 10-49 pounds of marijuana is a Class H felony. On conviction, it leads to up to 39 months of prison and a minimum $5,000 fine.
However, if the offender had 50 pounds or more of marijuana but less than 10,000 pounds, their trafficking offense becomes a Class G felony. This is punishable by up to 51 months of prison and a minimum $25,000 fine.
Impact on immigrant status
Drug trafficking convictions can be devastating for non-U.S. citizens. Under federal law, any alien convicted of a violation of any state or federal law relating to a controlled substance is deportable.
Immigrants facing trafficking charges have limited options for relief, making it crucial to seek competent legal counsel at once.
The consequences of drug trafficking in North Carolina are significant and can alter the course of one’s life, especially for immigrants. It’s essential to understand the gravity of these laws and seek experienced legal assistance if faced with such charges.