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Trafficking Drug Charges

 

What Are Trafficking Drug Charges?

The term “Trafficking”comes from the Middle French word trafiquemeaning “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
    (2) to create, distribute, or dispense, or possess with intent to distribute or dispense, a counterfeit substance.
  • 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 Trafficking in North Carolina?Powers McCartan - Contact Us - 704-342-4357

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).

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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

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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.