Can Individuals Convicted for Possession of a Small Amount of Marijuana in North Carolina go to Prison?

Imprisonment for marijuana possession in North Carolina is possible, depending on the exact type of substance and the quantity involved. However, with an experienced Raleigh drug crimes defense lawyer representing them throughout the criminal process, most offenders are likely to stay out of prison.

Possession of one-half ounce or less of marijuana represents a Class 3 misdemeanor that can potentially carry penalties of up to 20 days in jail, in addition to a $200 fine. The state statute (90-95) requires judges to suspend any imposed sentence of imprisonment. It further prohibits judges from requiring defendants to serve a period of imprisonment as a special condition of probation.

However, if the quantity in possession even marginally exceeds one-half ounce, the crime can be elevated to a Class 1 misdemeanor, which can include fines and jail time of up to 120 days. Possession exceeding one and one-half ounce jumps to a Class 1 felony crime, which can also involve jail time. Jail sentencing is most likely to apply when the courts perceive that an offender intends to sell some or all of his or her marijuana.

Experienced Raleigh drug lawyers can often develop cases to prove their clients had the drugs only for personal use. In these cases, judges may suspend prison or jail sentences, allowing the defendant to go free after paying a fine.

No one should assume minor drug charges can be handled without the support of an experienced drug defense attorney. With knowledgeable legal support, defendants have a notably better chance of getting charges dropped — or seeing lighter sentences when some form of conviction is inevitable. With more than half a century of experience defending clients in North Carolina and federal courts, the law firm of Hatch, Little & Bunn, L.L.P. provides comprehensive and skilled legal defense without judgment. Contact us to learn how we can help.

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