• North Carolina Drug Laws | Understand The Common Marijuana Charges
  • September 6, 2012
  • Law Firm: Matheson Law Office PLLC - Raleigh Office
  • For those facing criminal charges in North Carolina, some of the most common charges include North Carolina Misdemeanor Possession of Marijuana and North Carolina Misdemeanor Possession of Paraphernalia. These two charges make up the bulk of drug charges in North Carolina and are a big part of a Raleigh Criminal Defense Attorneys practice. Whether you feel Marijuana should be legal or not, understanding how these laws work is important. The following article will review the two laws, their sentencing range, their differences, as well as some of the more common ways an individual can receive these types of charges.

    First, one of the glaring (and often hard to understand) differences between Possession of Marijuana and Possession of Paraphernalia in North Carolina is the fact that the Paraphernalia charge is more serious then the Possession of Marijuana. Yup, the possession of some object which makes the use, manufacturing, distribution, transportation, sale, etc. easier is a more serious charge then actually being in possession of the drug for which it can be used. Now, obviously, Possession of Paraphernalia can apply to other drugs other then Marijuana, but it is most commonly associated with Marijuana use in North Carolina. Possession of Marijuana is a level 3 Misdemeanor where a Possession of Paraphernalia is a Level 1. A Level 3 sentence, depending on prior convictions, can carry up to 20 days of active sentence, where a Level 1 sentence can carry up to 120 days of active sentence.

    Another big difference is, where the Marijuana charge is concerned, it's limited to being in actual possession of Marijuana, however the Paraphernalia charge can encompass many, many different items. Obviously, Paraphernalia can include bongs, bowls, grinders, pipes, etc. But, Paraphernalia can also include baggies, jars, containers, scales, and other times used to move, distribute, sell, etc. the drug in question. I have had clients who were charged with Possession of Paraphernalia solely for having a jar with the odor of Marijuana in it.

    Lastly, one of the most important things about both of these charges is how easily it is receive them. Many people are confused by the concept of 'possession' and assume if the items in question are not on their person, then they cannot be charged; this is wrong. Possession can include being in your home and/or in your vehicle. A person can also get these charges under the concept of 'Constructive Possession in North Carolina.' Constructive Possession is where the items were in close proximity to the Defendant and the Defendant had reason to know the items where there. Many of my clients facing these types of charges are charged under this concept; most often where they are a in a vehicle where someone else had drugs and/or paraphernalia.

    If you are facing these types of charges, it is important to speak with a local North Carolina Criminal Defense Attorney as soon as possible about your case. If in the Raleigh Area, contact the Matheson Law Office for a free consultation.

    Disclaimer - Information and advice offered in this article is for informational and educational purposes only and is specific to North Carolina law. The viewing, receipt and/or exchange of information from this article does not constitute an Attorney-Client Relationship. For assistance regarding your particular legal question speak with an Attorney practicing in the field from which your questions derives.