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 Drug Charges - Understanding NC controlled substance laws - Greenwood Law

Understanding North Carolina Controlled Substance Laws


If you’re facing drug charges in North Carolina, you’ll want to explore all options for a defense. Strategies that may be helpful in one individual’s circumstances may not even be relevant in another’s. If you hope to achieve the most positive outcome possible in court, it pays to research controlled substance laws to help determine which defense options are most viable in your case.

Many people make the mistake of assuming that they understand the meaning of a particular word or phrase, such as “controlled substance” or “narcotic.” If you’re facing criminal charges, however, it’s imperative that you determine the “legal” definition of such terms. Lack of knowledge reduces your ability to make informed decisions, which can affect the ultimate outcome of your case.

Legal terms you may encounter when facing drug charges in North Carolina

The following list shows numerous words and phrases that are typically pertinent in cases where a person stands accused of crimes involving a controlled substance:

  • Administer: Injection, inhalation or ingestion of a controlled substance whether done so by a practitioner or by an individual under the direction of a practitioner
  • Controlled substance: Drug listed under Schedules I through V of the North Carolina Controlled Substances Act
  • Counterfeit controlled substance: Controlled substance bearing a mark or label that falsely identifies it as the product of a specific distributor, manufacturer or dispenser
  • Distribute: To deliver by means separate from administering or dispensing
  • Dispensing: Licensed practitioner providing a controlled substance

These are just a few examples of words and phrases legally defined in connection with criminal charges for drug crimes in North Carolina.

Factors of consideration regarding controlled substance charges

If North Carolina police have taken you into custody for suspected drug crimes, your case may go to trial, in which case the judge (or a jury) will decide the next steps regarding the substance or substances in question. The next list includes various factors the judge may consider:

  • Potential for addiction
  • Pharmacological effects of the drug
  • Historical patterns of abuse of the substance
  • Public health risk

Penalties under conviction are typically more severe regarding certain substances, according to determinations made regarding the factors listed here, as well as others.

Sentencing, probation and more

If you incur a conviction for a drug crime in North Carolina, you might have to serve a jail sentence. In the past, many people have been able to obtain a lighter sentence than the maximum allowed by law, thanks to the active support of experienced criminal defense teams in their cases. When a judge hands down a lighter sentence, he or she may also order special probation.

Facing drug charges for a controlled substance does not always result in a conviction. If you’re arrested and charged, try to remain calm, know your rights and never hesitate to enlist support from someone who is well-versed in criminal law.

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