Is marijuana possession legal in North Carolina?

| Feb 23, 2020 | Criminal Law |

Although many states have legalized or decriminalized marijuana possession, it is still illegal to possess marijuana in North Carolina. Marijuana possession in North Carolina can be a misdemeanor or felony crime. There are several factors that apply to different marijuana charges.  

What are the different types of marijuana charges in North Carolina?

Charges for marijuana possession vary depending on the amount of marijuana you are charged with possessing:

  • Class 3 Misdemeanor Marijuana Possession: if you are accused of possessing less than ½ ounce of marijuana;
    • The maximum penalty for this offense is no jail time for first offense and a fine that cannot exceed $200.00;
  • Class 1 Misdemeanor Marijuana Possession: if you are accused of possessing between ½ ounce and 1 ½ ounces of marijuana
    • The maximum penalty for this offense is 120 days in jail;
  • Class 1 Felony Marijuana Possession: if you are accused of possessing anything greater than 1 ½ ounces of marijuana (but no more than 10 pounds of marijuana, as larger amounts can carry additional felony charges for possession with intent to sale and/or drug trafficking)
    • The maximum penalty for this offense is 12 months in jail.

Are there diversion options for North Carolina drug crimes?

If you have been charged with a drug possession offense in North Carolina, you may be eligible for the 90-96 conditional discharge program if you are a first-time offender. You are considered a first-time offender if you have not previously been convicted of a felony or any previous drug offense. The program’s name comes from the section 90-96 of the North Carolina General Statutes.

Under the 90-96 program, a defendant charged with certain drug offenses can have his or her charge dismissed after completing certain conditions of probation. These conditions often include a drug and alcohol abuse assessment, counseling or awareness classes, community service, and paying court costs. If the defendant does not receive any other charges during the probation period and successfully completes all conditions of his or her probation, the charge will be dismissed. 

What happens if I am unsuccessful at completing the 90-96 program?

If you do not complete the terms of the 90-96 program, the court may find you guilty of the underlying drug charge. However, sometimes the court will allow you more time to complete the conditions. Usually, this only happens when you can prove that you have suffered some sort of very unfortunate circumstances that contributed to your inability to complete the 90-96 program. 

Should I hire a lawyer for my North Carolina marijuana charge?

If you have been arrested for a marijuana crime in Charlotte, North Carolina or Hickory, North Carolina, you definitely need a qualified attorney to represent you and protect your rights. Navigating the court system without an attorney can be very difficult. A qualified and dedicated North Carolina drug attorney can advise you properly on your best options. At Burts Law, PLLC we will negotiate the best deal with the prosecution, and go to trial when necessary to protect your rights and prove your innocence. Call us today at (888) 314-7127 for a drug possession consultation.