Whether you are a college student caught with a small bag of cocaine in your pocket or a working adult caught with a few pills for which you don’t have a valid prescription, it can be truly unsettling to be charged with drug possession. Suddenly, you are wondering whether your temporary lapse in judgment will result in time behind bars and have a potentially ruinous effect on your future.
While this is understandable, it’s also important not to panic, as things might not be as dire as they seem depending upon the circumstances of your case.
In order to help alleviate some of this discomfort and foster a better understanding of what the future may hold, today’s post will start exploring some basic background information on North Carolina’s drug possession laws.
In general, North Carolina law dictates that it is illegal for anyone to possess certain controlled substances (cocaine, heroin, etc.), as well as other controlled substances without a valid prescription.
Furthermore, North Carolina, like most other states, classifies controlled substances under different schedules — six to be exact — based on their accepted medical uses, and potential for addiction and/or abuse.
To illustrate, drugs like MDMA, heroin and peyote are classified as Schedule I controlled substances, meaning they have no accepted medical use, and a high likelihood of addiction and/or abuse.
On the other end of the spectrum, drugs like Valium, Xanax, Clonazepam are classified as Schedule IV controlled substances, meaning they have an accepted medical use, low potential for abuse and limited dependence in the event of abuse. Similarly, cough medicines with codeine are classified as Schedule V controlled substances.
As we’ll explore in a future post, these six classification schemes are assigned varying degrees of criminal charges, such that those found to be in possession of controlled substances listed in Schedule I will face more stringent penalties than those found to be in possession of controlled substances listed in Schedule V.
No matter the circumstances, you should seriously consider speaking with an experienced legal professional if you have been charged with drug possession given all that is at stake both personally and professionally.