North Carolina drug trafficking charges bring strict consequences

North Carolina is tough on drug crimes. Recently, a 39-year-old man was sentenced to 24 years in prison followed by five years of a supervised release program. The man was convicted of possession with intent to distribute and possession of a firearm during a drug trafficking offense after he pled guilty. Police found a firearm and a minor amount of marijuana at his home and 45.2 grams of powder cocaine, 370.8 grams of marijuana, four hydrocodone pills and 157 grams of crack cocaine at his "stash house."

The man was discovered by police and arrested in November 2011 after the police had purchased crack cocaine and powder cocaine from him. He was arrested after the second purchase and both his home and "stash house" were searched by police.

North Carolina drug crimes

It is illegal to possess, manufacture, sell or create a controlled substance in North Carolina. This is not an exhaustive list. Depending upon the class of drug the person is caught with, he or she may be subject to a felony charge.

North Carolina has minimum sentencing laws for drug crimes . For instance, when someone is convicted of a trafficking crime involving 10 to 49 pounds of marijuana, that person will be subject to a 25-month minimum sentence. The minimum sentence increases to 175 months if people are caught trafficking up 10,000 pounds or more. Minimum sentences for trafficking cocaine range from 35 to 175 months; 35 months applies for 28-199 grams, and 175 months applies for 400 or more grams of cocaine.

People will be labeled habitual felons in North Carolina if they commit a felony after having three prior felony convictions. These people will receive 44 months in prison as a mandatory sentence.

North Carolina drug courts

There are 23 counties in North Carolina that offer drug courts. In order to qualify for drug court certain criteria that must be met. The individual must be addicted to a controlled substance, want to volunteer for the drug court treatment program and must be eligible for a community or intermediate punishment under North Carolina's structured sentencing system.

Drug courts offer a way for people convicted of drug crimes to get help instead of simply being punished. The drug courts offer group treatment, family treatment, educational services and a team to help people keep up with their programs.

Drug court, however, is not easy, and there are costs associated with it. People must attend all court sessions and meetings in a timely manner, must abstain from using alcohol and other drugs and refrain from behaviors that inhibit the treatment of others in the system. If people do not follow the rules, there will be serious consequences.

Individuals charged with drug-related offenses will face serious jail time and other significant consequences. It is important for anyone who has been charged with a drug-crime to contact an experienced criminal law attorney to help make sure that their rights are protected.