That’s actually a complicated question, because trafficking involves two primary legal inquiries: What was the illegal or controlled substance? -AND- How Much of that substance or substances was “trafficked?”
Here is a brief summary of N.C.G.S. 90-95 (h), which can be bit difficult to understand:
(1) MARIJUANA – “In excess of ten (10) pounds” AND “Sells, manufactures, delivers, transports, or possesses”
(1a) SYNTHETIC MARIJUANA “CANNABINOID” – “Dosage Unit” which is 3 grams of synthetic cannabinoid or mixture” AND “50 dosage units of a synthetic cannabinoid or any mixture”
(2) METHANQUONE – “1,000 tablets, capsules or other dosage units”
(3) COCAINE – “28 grams or more of cocaine and any salt, isomer, salts of isomers, compound, derivative, or preparation thereof”
(3b) METHAMPHETAMINE – “28 grams or more of methamphetamine or any mixture”
(3c) AMPHETAMINE – “28 grams or more of amphetamine or any mixture”
(3d) MDPV – “28 grams or more of MDPV or any mixture”
(3e) MEPHEDRONE – “28 grams or more of mephedrone or any mixture”
(4) OPIUM or HEROIN – 4 four grams or more of opium or opiate, or any salt, compound, derivative, or preparation of opium or opiate”
(4a) LSD – LYSERGIC ACID DIETHYLAMIDE – “100 tablets, capsules, or other dosage units, or the equivalent quantity, or more”
(4b) MDA / DMA – 100 or more tablets, capsules, or other dosage units, or 28 grams or more of 3,4-methylenedioxyamphetamine (MDA), including its salts, isomers, and salts of isomers, or 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA), including its salts, isomers, and salts of isomers, or any mixture containing such substances
***PLEASE NOTE, the list above is NOT exhaustive and is intended to provide general background information and further to serve as a framework from which additional inquiries may be made. Please see the North Carolina General Statute Sections 90-95 (h)(1) through (h)(4b).
North Carolina Drug Trafficking Controlled Substance Lawyers
The term “Trafficking”comes from the Middle French word trafique, meaning “trade, commerce.” To “traffic” something means the “transportation of goods for the purpose of trade, by sea, land or air.” It denotes a process, a practice and an enterprise of sorts. It is important to understand there are two general categories of prosecuting entities for Drug Offenses in North Carolina:
- FEDERAL CHARGES. The United States Code (USC) in 21 U.S.C. Sect. 841 sets forth the legal definition as, “It shall be unlawful for any person knowingly or intentionally—
(1) to manufacture, distribute, or dispense, or possess with intent to manufacture, distribute, or dispense, a controlled substance; or
- STATE CHARGES. The State of North Carolina in N.C.G.S. 90-95 sets forth the legal definition as, “[I]it is unlawful for any person:
(1) To manufacture, sell or deliver, or possess with intent to manufacture, sell or deliver, a controlled substance;
(2) To create, sell or deliver, or possess with intent to sell or deliver, a counterfeit controlled substance;
(3) To possess a controlled substance.
It is important to note that they are separate, distinct “sovereigns” for the purposes of prosecution and fall within one of the exceptions to the Fifth Amendment “Double Jeopardy Clause” to the United States Constitution.
The purpose of this article by Attorney Bill Powers is to provide background information on the law of DWI sentencing and the legal authority under North Carolina General Statutes. Powers McCartan, pllc generally does NOT provide legal guidance in Federal Court; but, we are more than willing to refer inquiries to attorneys with substantial experience handling such matters.
If you have additional questions, please feel free to call Bill directly at: 704-342-HELP (4357). You may also email: bill@PowMac.com or visit our website www.PowersMcCartan.com
What is the Punishment for Trafficking Drug Charges?
Sentencing is similarly set forth based upon the two previous questions: What was the illegal or controlled substance? -AND- How Much of that substance or substances was “trafficked?” Marijuana and LSA are compared / contrasted and sentenced according to Chapter 90-95 as follows:
MARIJUANA – Notwithstanding any other provision of law, the following provisions apply except as otherwise provided in this Article.
(1) Any person who sells, manufactures, delivers, transports, or possesses in excess of 10 pounds (avoirdupois) of marijuana shall be guilty of a felony which felony shall be known as “trafficking in marijuana” and if the quantity of such substance involved:
a. Is in excess of 10 pounds, but less than 50 pounds, such person shall be punished as a Class H felon and shall be sentenced to a minimum term of 25 months and a maximum term of 39 months in the State’s prison and shall be fined not less than five thousand dollars ($5,000);
b. Is 50 pounds or more, but less than 2,000 pounds, such person shall be punished as a Class G felon and shall be sentenced to a minimum term of 35 months and a maximum term of 51 months in the State’s prison and shall be fined not less than twenty-five thousand dollars ($25,000);
c. Is 2,000 pounds or more, but less than 10,000 pounds, such person shall be punished as a Class F felon and shall be sentenced to a minimum term of 70 months and a maximum term of 93 months in the State’s prison and shall be fined not less than fifty thousand dollars ($50,000);
d. Is 10,000 pounds or more, such person shall be punished as a Class D felon and shall be sentenced to a minimum term of 175 months and a maximum term of 222 months in the State’s prison and shall be fined not less than two hundred thousand dollars ($200,000).
- LSD – Any person who sells, manufactures, delivers, transports, or possesses 100 tablets, capsules, or other dosage units, or the equivalent quantity, or more, of Lysergic Acid Diethylamide, or any mixture containing such substance, shall be guilty of a felony, which felony shall be known as “trafficking in Lysergic Acid Diethylamide”. If the quantity of such substance or mixture involved:
a. Is 100 or more dosage units, or equivalent quantity, but less than 500 dosage units, or equivalent quantity, such person shall be punished as a Class G felon and shall be sentenced to a minimum term of 35 months and a maximum term of 51 months in the State’s prison and shall be fined not less than twenty-five thousand dollars ($25,000);
b. Is 500 or more dosage units, or equivalent quantity, but less than 1,000 dosage units, or equivalent quantity, such person shall be punished as a Class F felon and shall be sentenced to a minimum term of 70 months and a maximum term of 93 months in the State’s prison and shall be fined not less than fifty thousand dollars ($50,000);
c. Is 1,000 or more dosage units, or equivalent quantity, such person shall be punished as a Class D felon and shall be sentenced to a minimum term of 175 months and a maximum term of 222 months in the State’s prison and shall be fined not less than two hundred thousand dollars ($200,000).
Are There Other Felony Drug Charges?
There are charges related to the possession, sale and delivery of controlled substances that may, but are not necessarily deemed or otherwise punished as “Trafficking Drug Charges” such as:
- Possession with the Intent to Sell & Delivery
- Create, Sell or Deliver
- Manufacture, Sell or Deliver
- Possession with Intent to Manufacture, Sell or Deliver
Is Jail or Prison Possible for a First Offense Trafficking Drug Charges?
Put simply, yes. Sentencing in North Carolina for Trafficking Drug Charges is quite serious. It is an EXTREMELY COMPLICATED area of law. For certain charges, prison time is mandatory, even with no prior involvement in the court system.
Given the incredible number of factors to consider, one would be best served in speaking with an experienced Criminal Defense attorney in North Carolina. If you have additional questions regarding Trafficking Drug Charges, including sentencing, court processes or arrests, please feel free to contact Bill Powers directly at: 704-342-HELP (4357). Powers McCartan, pllc offers confidential consultations, free of charge, for offenses involving DWI DUI and Impaired Driving. You may also email Bill at: bill@PowMac.com. Please visit our website: www.PowersMcCartan.com
Hey, I’m Bill Powers and I want to thank you, first, for checking out our website. If you are on this page, you have questions, most likely about drug charges. Specifically, trafficking and drug charges. That’s what we refer to it in profession. Trafficking, I guess you could be charged of trafficking and other things, but we normally are referring to trafficking of both legal and illegal substances.
Now, this is a complicated area of law. It tends to be, what we refer to as statutorily based, now. Possession of drugs, illegal drugs and even legal drugs in unlawful manners. One thing, trafficking is something that enhances the level of punishment and therefore, the seriousness of any particular type of drug case.
In North Carolina, it’s important to distinguish that we’re talking about North Carolina state law. There are trafficking charges in federal court, which is United States code and there are also trafficking charges in North Carolina state courts. So I’m referring to North Carolina state court type of charges and there are a bunch of them. They’re in the general statutes, they’re on our website if you want to take a look at them and they are offenses that are defined by the people on Jones Street.
The legislators in the North Carolina General Assembly have said that, “If this, then that.” All right so, think of just the most simple term, if this is true, then this is what, that’s what we’re lookin’ at. So, trafficking charges, often times, are broken up into categories both in the type of the substance as in, or the class of the substance as the case may be, and then the amount. However that’s measured.
So, we see trafficking charges from just about every type of spectrum of drug there is so I’ll start with the most basic one. Lets say there’s trafficking in marijuana. Now, marijuana is a type of offense. A lot of people say, “Well, it’s legal in a lot of different states.” Well, it ain’t legal here except for very, very few exceptions and that’s a whole ‘nother area of law.
We’re not talking about a medical marijuana type of deal, we’re talking weight. We’re normally talking a certain amount that if you put it on a scale it goes over a certain amount of weight and the general assembly says if it’s this amount of weight to this amount of weight, it’s trafficking level one. And if it’s this amount of weight, which is more, and this amount of weight it may be trafficking level two and as you can see, trafficking level three.
Here’s what’s important to realize about trafficking in North Carolina. It doesn’t matter if you’ve never been in trouble before. Not saying that it’s fair, I’m explaining what the law is, not what I think the law should be. And so, people call up and say, oh, I’ve never been in trouble before. I had no idea. I didn’t even know it was that amount. I just had more for whatever reason.
The courts really don’t take into consideration, when I say the courts, I mean the law doesn’t really take into consideration your prior history. The sentencing is determined by the amount you have. We see this with LSD, lysergic acid, where there’s a certain amount of dosage units. So, unlike marijuana, it’s how many hits there were.
We see this with opioids, we see this with benzo’s, we see this with the K-pin’s and all the street terms. Where it’s how many hits of acid did you have? How many pills did you have? Sometimes in trafficking cases it’s weight and sometimes it’s just by dosage units, that’s the term in how many you have in a baggie.
I think it’s fair to say that they’re really serious charges. In trafficking cases you’re not really looking at probation, you’re looking at an active jail term. You may be looking at fines as low as $50,000. I know, as low as, and it goes up from there. It can go into the hundreds of thousands of dollars and it’s set by statute.
So, if you’re looking at a trafficking charge or you have a family member that’s been charged with trafficking, it’s really, really important to, you know, get up with a lawyer as soon as you can and hope that you can understand and hope that there’s something out there, that there’s the availability of a defense.
Now, as far as trafficking federal charges. Very similar. It goes by certain weight but the state has different types of classes and categories of drugs than the feds do and there are times where a case could start in state court and end up in federal court. It tends to be, at least in the western district of North Carolina, the greater amounts of trafficking, and then you have conspiracies to traffic and then you see weapons charges and things like that.
Trafficking charges in North Carolina, state court charges, often times also involve other lesser included type of offenses. Sometimes we see trafficking with a habitual felon. Sometimes we see trafficking and weapons charges. Sometimes we see trafficking and other misdemeanor types of charges and then you may have issues regarding tax stamps and getting a bill from the Department of Revenue or whatever saying, “Hey, you owe us money.” And yes, they do charge tax for you owing, possessing an illegal substance.
It’s complicated. It’s serious. It’s not always, frankly, fair but it’s what the law is in North Carolina. Give us a call. We offer a free confidential consultation. We don’t charge to talk to you and what you tell us remains in this office. Only until or unless we’re retained and you authorize this, do we try and explain what’s going on to other people in the system.
This is a tough area of law, this is an area of law where negotiation may involve the different levels. Instead of a level two or level three, maybe you’re trying to negotiate a level one. Maybe you’re arguing about the amount and how it was weighed. Was it actually, in marijuana cases were you’re including the clod of dirt? We also see manufacturing type of cases, especially with marijuana cases.
In western North Carolina, we’ve seen a lot of the amphetamines, methamphetamine manufacture type of charges. Gracious, call us. We’re here to help. 704-342-HELP. That’s why our telephone number is what it is. You could email us. I’d encourage you to check out our website a little bit.
Trafficking cases are unique, trafficking cases are special in both North and South Carolina and in North and South Carolina federal courts as well. And we can sit down with you and if we can help you out, we’ll let you know. If we need to refer you to somebody, we’ll tell you that too. Lookin’ forward to hearing from you. Thanks for watching our video
VIDEO TRANSCRIPT / SUMMARY:
How to Handle Trafficking Charges
We represent a fair number of, normally, younger individuals, college age, just out of High School, with offenses involved, what we call trafficking of drugs. These may be kids that came from great families, they may be kids that, kind of, had hard coming up. But they have no idea how serious what they’ve done is. So, if they go to a concert and they have numerous dosage units, or “hits” is what it’s called, of LSD or some other controlled substance. We see cases where they have hundreds and hundreds, but it takes just a small amount to have its effect. And They get stopped, they get arrested, and next thing they know, they’re looking at a very serious long-term case. I encourage people to call us, sit down and talk, to see what we can do to help. If nothing else, we can help guide you through the process and try to mitigate the damages, to try to alleviate some of the pain associated with trafficking cases. They’re very serious. In North Carolina, there are mandatory minimum fines, and there are mandatory minimum periods of jail. It’s based on the amount of the drugs, when it comes to trafficking. Your prior record, not even considered. It’s how much you had on you, in certain circumstances. Either way, give us a call. Whether it’s trafficking, or simple possession, give us a call.