North Carolina has effectively decriminalized small amounts of marijuana. If you are accused of being in possession of less than half an ounce of marijuana (and have no other or more serious charges) you cannot be sentenced to jail time, it is essentially just a fine.
Larger amounts and other marijuana possession laws in North Carolina remain strict and strongly enforced. Fortunately, marijuana charges are significantly less severe than most other drug possession charges. And with an experienced and aggressive defense lawyer on your side, there’s a good chance you can minimize or eliminate the most damaging consequences.
Under North Carolina law, marijuana is classified as a Schedule VI substance, the least serious drug category there is. This means marijuana is punished less severely, too.
The charge and penalty you face for marijuana possession depends wholly on how much marijuana you had.
North Carolina – Less Than ½ Ounce Marijuana
If you are found in possession of less than a half-ounce of marijuana, it is still technically a misdemeanor. But, even though a Class III misdemeanor carries a maximum sentence of up to 30 days in jail, marijuana is a special case. That means you cannot serve jail time for possession of less than a half-ounce of marijuana.
Between ½ Ounce and 1 ½ Ounce
If you are found in possession of a single ounce, or any amount between .5 and 1.5 ounces, you could face charges of a Class I misdemeanor. A Class I misdemeanor carries a potential maximum 45 day jail sentence and fines of up to $1000. However, with the help of a local criminal defense attorney, this entire jail sentence may be suspended.
More than 1 ½ Ounces
If you are found in possession of more than 1.5 Ounces of marijuana, you will face felony charges. This is a Class I felony which carries up to 12 months in prison. The likelihood that you will actually serve prison time for this offense depends on the facts of your case and your criminal history. More than likely you will serve far less, if any time at all.
Ref: NCGS 90-95
Fighting North Carolina Marijuana Possession Charges – What Can You Do?
Perhaps the smartest thing to do when you are facing marijuana possession charges in North Carolina is to contact a criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. Though these aren’t considered quite as serious as other drug possession charges, your clean record is still at risk. In addition, even if you are sentenced to probation instead of jail time, your freedoms will be severely limited.
An aggressive defense attorney can challenge the evidence against you and fight for your good name. They will be your advocate in the courts, representing your best interests. If you are charged with possession of marijuana, contact a North Carolina criminal lawyer today via our form.