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NC Drug Laws

In the US, almost half of all people imprisoned are there for drug related offenses. In North Carolina, drug related offenses are one of the top reasons people go to prison. Drug offenses are not to be taken lightly. If you, a friend, or family member have been charged with any type of drug offense, hiring an experienced lawyer to help defend your charge is extremely important. A conviction for a drug offense on a criminal record has widespread consequences to your future.

Misdemeanor Drug Laws in NC

If you, or someone you know, has been charged with drug possession, take it seriously. While many consider this a “minor crime,” it can have major consequences, including jail time, lengthy probationary periods, drug screens, fines, administrative costs, and more. State laws are increasingly providing tough prosecution on drug possession and other drug related offenses and the criminal penalties can be quite harsh.

North Carolina’s misdemeanor drug laws include, but are not limited to:

  • Misdemeanor Possession of Drug Paraphernalia: It’s illegal for someone to use, or to possess with intent to use, drug paraphernalia for a variety of purposes, including to conceal an illegally controlled substance other than marijuana. It’s usually classified as a Class 1 misdemeanor.
  • Misdemeanor Possession of Other Drugs: Drugs include codeine, opium, and other types of narcotics and their salts. Possession of these types of substances may fall under a Class 1 misdemeanor.
  • Misdemeanor Possession of Marijuana: If the amount of marijuana is more than 0.5 ounces and up to 1.5 ounces, punishment may fall under a Class 1 misdemeanor. If you’re found with less than 0.5 ounces, you face a Class 3 misdemeanor.

Different drugs are organized under schedules ranging from I to VI. A Schedule I drug is the most dangerous, most addictive and has the highest potential for being abused. A Schedule VI drug is considered the least dangerous, yet can still cause a physical or psychological dependance if it is abused. Examples of the drugs in each schedule include, but aren’t limited to the following:

Schedule I – heroin, ecstasy, opiates and peyote

Schedule II – cocaine, codeine. morphine, opium, hydrocodone, methamphetamine

Schedule III – barbituates, ketamine, anabolic steroids ; Schedule IV – barbital, narcotics, Xanax, valium

Schedule V – These drugs have an accepted medical use but also have the possibility of physical or psychological dependance if abused, for example cough medicines that contain codeine.

Schedule VI – marijuana, hemp oils. The exception for hemp oils and other hemp products is if they contain no THC, the psychedelic compound found in marijuana, as well any other psychoactive substances.

Facing the Consequences

The punishment served for misdemeanors in our state will vary based on prior convictions and which class the misdemeanor falls. Classes of offenses range from A1 to A3, and prior conviction levels range from I (no prior convictions), II (one to four prior convictions), and III (five or more prior convictions). Consequences for drug use, possession, and distribution in North Carolina can range from fines and no jail time to felony charges and an extensive period of time in prison.

Different types of drugs are categorized into different schedules. The higher the probability of abuse associated with a drug and its level of acceptance for medical use will determine into which schedule it fits.

Each of the misdemeanor classifications will vary based on your intent to distribute, how much of the drug you have in your possession, and in what capacity the drug is found. Each situation is unique and is best explained by an experienced attorney.

No matter the charge, everyone deserves fair legal representation. Our attorneys will take the time to explain the legal process and make sure you get the treatment and outcome you deserve.

Members of the experienced team at GreeneWilson can explain your possible outcomes, investigate your offense, and help you avoid the negative consequences you may face. For more information, or to schedule a consultation, please contact GreeneWilson Attorneys at Law by calling (252) 634-9400 or visiting www.greenewilson.com

(Sources: Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration; U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration; and North Carolina Controlled Substances Act.)

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Traffic Violation Reminders

Spring breaks are on the horizon, which means road trips and long weekends away are being planned. As you are excitedly packing your bags for a much needed springtime adventure don’t forget about common travel laws to keep yourself and others safe on the roads.

Traffic Violations:

For our North Carolina natives it’s sometimes easy to forget the rules of the road we use almost everyday. Before you click your seatbelt be sure to set your phone to silent or connect to blue tooth, because texting and driving isn’t just against the law it’s also dangerous to yourself and others on the road. When driving on the highway be aware of police and emergency vehicles stopped on the shoulder with their lights flashing. Give them enough space and switch lanes if possible or slow down as you pass. It is just as courteous to the people stopped as it is following the law.

In our state it’s a violation to drive at a speed that “exceeds what a reasonably prudent person would drive at given the current situation.” In addition, North Carolina has an “absolute” speed limit law, which means that you could be guilty of speeding by going even one mile over the posted speed limit. You could face a fine of between $100 and $1,000, jail time for a maximum of 60 days and have your driver’s license suspended for up to one year. Speeding can also add three points on your driving record!

A speeding ticket may seem like a minor issue, but it can be costly (in more ways than one) to fight or pay for a ticket. In cases where you’re facing increased insurance premiums you’ll likely need the assistance of an experienced attorney—he or she can offer the best legal advice when it comes to dismissing your ticket. And, if the citation cannot be dismissed, a lawyer can help you reach a plea bargain agreement for lesser charges.

DWI:

In some states where DWI and DUI are classified as different offenses a DUI is the lesser of the two. As it designates a lower level of impairment than a DWI. All states have some form of a Zero Tolerance law for drivers under the legal drinking age. This means that drivers under 21 cannot have any level of BAC, since it is also illegal for a person under 21 to possess or use alcohol.

In North Carolina the Safe Roads Act of 1983 changed the previous drug and alcohol related driving offenses, and put everything under the category of a DWI. North Carolina uses BAC to establish sobriety level upon a suspected alcohol and driving offense. For those over the legal drinking age of 21 and having no prior DWI offenses the legal BAC limit is 0.08%. For commercial drivers and those who have prior alcohol related offenses the BAC limit is reduced to 0.04%. For drivers under the legal drinking age the BAC limit is 0.00%.

A DWI arrest is both administrative and criminal in nature, so there are two separate cases and two sets of penalties you face. The Civil Penalty will depend on the outcome of the criminal case. It pays to have a seasoned DWI lawyer on your side to guide you through the complex process. GreeneWilson Attorneys at Law are skilled in DWI and all traffic related offenses. Please contact our office today for more information or to schedule a meeting regarding your personal circumstances.

Why to call an Attorney:

Here at GreeneWilson we’re here to guide you through the complicated, frightening, and often frustrating process known as the criminal justice system. We provide criminal law services at all levels in eastern North Carolina, including misdemeanor and felony trial defense, and post-conviction appellate work in both state and federal court. When dealing with a traffic violation is it in your best interest to first consult with an attorney if you are unable to appear in court, have points on your license that will increase your insurance or cause you to loose your license, and if you have been charged with a DWI, impaired driving reckless driving, or another serious traffic offense. 

Potentially Avoiding a Ticket:

In a previous post we talk about the best ways to avoid a potential ticket. Being aware of your surroundings on the road is one of the easiest. If there is an area where you know that Police Officers often have people pulled over be sure to watch your speed through that area. Keeping an eye on the posted speed limit on unknown roads is also important. Just because a residential road where you live is 35, doesn’t mean the speed limit isn’t slower through another neighborhood. If you do get pulled over, be considerate and respectful to the Police Officer. Pulling over right away, and putting on your flashers or an interior light if it is dark are all helpful to maintain the officers safety and your own. Keep your hands visible and don’t make any sudden movements to obtain your license and registration until asked to do so. Being kind and understanding of the situation and showing respect for the officer, may not work all of the time but they are your best bets for potentially avoiding that ticket.

At GreeneWilson, our criminal and defense attorneys are dedicated to the protection of our clients’ constitutionals breeds and respect for their individual circumstances. Members of the experienced team at GreeneWilson can explain your possible outcomes, investigate your ticket or other offense, and help you avoid the negative consequences you may face. For more information or to schedule a consultation, please contact GreeneWilson Attorneys at Law by calling (252) 634-9400 or visiting www.greenewilson.com.

(Sources: News & Observer, U.S State Department, NCDOT, BACtrack, North Carolina General Assembly)

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Types of Misdemeanors

What exactly is a Misdemeanor? For many of us the line between a misdemeanor and a felony, or even different classes of misdemeanors is blurry. We’ve taken the time to out line the differences between the different classes of misdemeanors and the most common punishments for each one.

A misdemeanor offense can include but isn’t limited to:

  • Simple Assault and Assault on a Female
  • Assault on a Government Official
  • Assault with a Deadly Weapon
  • Child Abuse
  • Carrying a Concealed Weapon
  • Violation of a 50-B (Domestic Violence Protective Order)
  • Possession of Marijuana
  • Possession of Drug Paraphernalia
  • Shoplifting/Concealment of Goods
  • Misdemeanor Larceny
  • Possession of Stolen Goods
  • Trespassing (First Degree and Second Degree)
  • Communicating Threats
  • Resisting a Police/Law Enforcement Officer
  • Prostitution
  • Underage Drinking

Each of these offenses falls into a different class of misdemeanor. Class A1 is the most serious offense and a person who is charged with a Class A1 misdemeanor faces a maximum penalty of 150 days in jail, as well as a fine that may be imposed at the discretion of the Court. A Class 3 misdemeanor is the least serious offense. A person who is charged with a Class 3 misdemeanor faces a maximum penalty of twenty 20 days in jail, as well as a fine that may be imposed at the discretion of the Court, although the fine may not exceed $200. To help outline the different classes of misdemeanors take a look at our Misdemeanor Fact Sheet below.

Members of the experienced team at GreeneWilson can explain your possible outcomes, investigate your offense, and help you avoid the negative consequences you may face. For more information or to schedule a consultation, please contact GreeneWilson Attorneys at Law by calling (252) 634-9400 or visiting www.greenewilson.com.

 

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