Misdemeanor vs. Felony

In North Carolina, drug crimes may be charged as either a misdemeanor or a felony. Both may entail fines and jail time, and will leave a mark on your criminal record if convicted. The main difference is in the severity of the charge and the punishment, as well as the collateral consequences. Simply put, a misdemeanor is a lesser charge. A felony drug charge may come with heavy penalties including lengthy mandatory minimum prison sentences, massive fines, and loss of civil rights (e.g., firearm ownership). Learn More.

Felony Drug Crimes

Because of the perceived dangers posed by controlled substances, many drug-related activities are considered felonies. These include the manufacturing, selling, transportation, distribution, or trafficking of controlled substances or chemicals for making them. For some controlled substances, having them in your possession, including in your property such as a house or a vehicle, is considered a felony. But there are exceptions depending on the drug’s category or ‘schedule’ (see below). For one common example, possession of a small amount of marijuana (a Schedule VI substance) is only a misdemeanor, but selling it is a felony. Read more about NC Drug Laws.

Not all drugs are equal

Controlled substances are classified into six categories or ‘schedules’ with Schedule I being reserved for substances thought to be the most dangerous, and Schedule VI being the least dangerous.

Schedule Drugs
I LSD, ecstasy, heroin, and mescaline
II Opium, cocaine, methadone, methamphetamines, and amphetamines
III Anabolic steroids, testosterone, ketamine, and some depressants
IV Valium, Xanax, tranquilizers, and sedatives
V Tylenol with Codeine.
VI Marijuana

Possession of a Schedule I substance is an automatic felony (unless the drug is MDPV). First-time simple possession of drugs in Schedule II to IV is generally a misdemeanor, but the second time around, it’s a felony. First-time possession of some Schedule II drugs are felonies; drugs within this category include meth and cocaine. Penalties depend on the type and amount of substance involved, with substances in Schedule I often equating to the harshest penalties. More on penalties.

If you are facing drug charges, it is crucial to seek advice from experts who can navigate these complex laws. Call to get a free consultation with the attorneys at Marcilliat & Mills PLLC.

State v. B.S.: Not Guilty Verdict in First Degree Murder Case.

In this case, our client was charged with First Degree Murder in connection with a “drive-by” shooting that occurred in Charlotte, NC. The State’s evidence included GPS ankle monitoring data linking our client was at the scene of the crime and evidence that our client confessed to an inmate while in jail. Nonetheless, we convinced a jury to unanimously find our client Not Guilty. He was released from jail the same day.

State v. S.G.: First Degree Murder Charge Dismissed.

Our client was charged with First Degree for the shooting death related to alleged breaking and entering. The State’s evidence included a co-defendant alleging that our client was the shooter. After conducting a thorough investigation with the use of a private investigator, we persuaded the State to dismiss entirely the case against our client.

State v. B.D.: First Degree Murder Charged Dismissed.

After conducting an investigation and communicating with a prosecutor about the facts and circumstances indicating that our client acted in self-defense, the case was dismissed and deemed a justifiable homicide.

State v. I.R.: Reduction from First Degree Murder to Involuntary Manslaughter and Concealment of Death..

Our client was charged with the First Degree Murder of a young lady by drug overdose. After investigating the decedent’s background and hiring a preeminent expert toxicologist to fight the State’s theory of death, we were able to negotiate this case down from Life in prison to 5 years in prison, with credit for time served.

State v. J.G.:

Our client was charged with First Degree Murder related to a “drug deal gone bad.” After engaging the services of a private investigator and noting issues with the State’s case, we were able to negotiate a plea for our client that avoided a Life sentence and required him to serve only 12 years.