At Randall & Stump, PLLC, we understand that many people struggle with drug addiction. What might have started out as recreational or prescription drug use can quickly spiral into dependency. At that point, it is extremely difficult to get clean and adhere to not only what is best for your mental and physical health, but also the law. If your addiction has caused you to be arrested and charged with possession of heroin, or if you face more serious heroin/opiate trafficking charges, call our Charlotte drug lawyers immediately. We are here to fight the criminal charges and obtain the best possible outcome in your case.
We also are experienced in handling false allegations of drug crimes. Many of our clients have been charged with possession or possession with the intent to sell or deliver based on false evidence or after being in the wrong place at the wrong time.
North Carolina Drug Laws
Under North Carolina General Statutes (NCGS), it is illegal for you to:
- Manufacture, sell, or deliver, or possess with the intent of manufacturing, selling, or delivering a controlled substance.
- Create, sell, or deliver, or possess with the intent of selling or delivering a counterfeit controlled substance.
- Possess a controlled substance.
The penalty for first offense heroin possession is outlined in NCGS 90-95(d)(1), while the penalty for distribution of heroin or PWIMSD heroin is prescribed in NCGS 90-95(b)(1).
To learn more about North Carolina’s drug laws, contact our Charlotte heroin lawyers at Randall & Stump, PLLC right away. We will make sure you are fully informed regarding the relevant statutes and your defense options.
Where Does Heroin Fall Under North Carolina’s Drug Schedules?
The North Carolina Controlled Substances Act outlines which schedule illegal drugs fall under. Schedule I and II drugs are those that have the highest potential for dependency and abuse. Schedule I drugs have no accepted medical use, while Schedule II drugs have some accepted medical uses.
Heroin is a Schedule I drug along with many other opiates. However, fentanyl, which has been responsible for an increase in overdoses and deaths in recent years, oxycodone (street name Roxie or Roxy) are Schedule II drugs.
If you are arrested for a crime involving heroin or some other opiate, such as Vicodin, morphine, codeine, fentanyl, hydrocodone, or oxycodone, you need to contact a Charlotte drug lawyer immediately. You can be charged with a felony for possession of a Schedule I or II drug, or possession with intent to manufacture, sell, or distribute (PWIMSD) a Schedule I or II controlled substance, or in the worst scenario face trafficking charges.
Possession of Heroin Charges
When a prosecutor brings heroin charges based on actual or constructive possession, you face a class I felony. Potential incarceration for heroin possession depends on not only the class of the felony, but also your criminal record. North Carolina’s felony punishment chart looks at both the offense class and your prior record level, which is found by calculating points based on your criminal history. If convicted of a class I felony for heroin possession, you face between three and 12 months in prison.
Possession With Intent to Sell or Deliver Heroin
If you are arrested for actual or constructive possession of a large quantity of heroin, you may be charged with possession with intent to sell or deliver (PWISD) the Schedule I drug. This is a class H felony. However, if there is evidence you sold heroin, you will face a class G felony.
It is natural to wonder about a prison sentence for PWISD of a Schedule I controlled substance. As a class H felony, you could be sentenced to anywhere between four and 25 months in prison. For class G felony convictions, however, you face a term of imprisonment that is between eight and 31 months.
What Does “Possession” Mean?
Whether you are accused of possession or possession with intent to sell or deliver, you should understand the difference between actual and constructive possession. The distinction can have significant implications for your defense.
Actual possession means you had the heroin or another drug on your person, and you were the only one who had immediate access to it. This may mean the heroin was in your pocket, purse, or bag.
Constructive possession means the heroin was in your vicinity, and you were one of two or more people who had access to it. Constructive possession often means the drugs were found in a vehicle, apartment, house, or other building or vehicle where you were.
Trafficking in Heroin
Under NCGS 90-95(h)(4), you can be charged with the crime of trafficking in opium, opiates, opioids, or heroin if you sell, manufacture, deliver, transport, or possess four grams or more of heroin, another opiate, or a mixture containing an opiate.
It is important that you realize the difference between run of the mill possession and trafficking charges is solely based on the quantity of the drug. The prosecutor only has to prove you possessed the amount required under statute to charge you with trafficking, which is a higher felony and more harshly punished with mandatory prison sentences. The prosecutor does not have to prove you intended to carry out heroin distribution or sales, though they may put forth evidence of this alleged intent to strengthen their case.
A first offense for trafficking in heroin will be a felony, but the class of the felony depends on the amount:
- Level One Trafficking in Heroin – Between four and 14 grams – Punished as a Class F felony with a sentence between 70 and 93 months in prison, and fines of at least $50,000.
- Level Two Trafficking in Heroin – Between 14 and 28 grams – Punished as a Class E felony with a prison sentence between 90 and 120 months, and fines of at least $100,000.
- Level Three Trafficking in Heroin – 28 grams or more – Punished as a Class C felony with a sentence between 225 and 282 months of imprisonment, and at least $500,000 in fines.