What Penalties Could You Face If Convicted of a Heroin Crime in North Carolina?

Different Forms of HeroinPossession or distribution of heroin are some of the most serious drug offenses in North Carolina. You would be aggressively prosecuted and could face years in prison if you are convicted. However, you may be able to get the charges dismissed or reduced if you have the help of an experienced criminal defense attorney in Charlotte.

Heroin Is a Schedule I Drug

In our state, illegal drugs are classified into five classifications. Schedule I drugs are considered the most dangerous and addictive drugs and have no accepted medical use. Schedule I drug offenses carry some of the harshest penalties upon conviction. Heroin is a Schedule I drug as are LSD, ecstasy, and PCP.

Possession of Heroin Penalties

You can be charged with possession of heroin if you have any amount of heroin in your possession. Your possession can be actual or constructive. Here is what each means:

  • Actual possession. Actual possession means that you had the heroin in your possession where no one else had control of it. It would include having the heroin in a purse or a pocket.
  • Constructive possession. You could be charged with constructive possession if the heroin was nearby, and you, along with one or two other individuals, had control of it. You may be considered in constructive possession if the heroin was in a vehicle, home, or other building where you were.

Possession of heroin is a Class I felony. Under North Carolina sentencing guidelines, your sentence would depend in part on your prior criminal record. The punishment could include three to twelve months in prison, a fine, and loss of your driver’s license.

Possession With the Intent to Distribute or Deliver Heroin Penalties

If you are arrested with a large amount of heroin in your possession, you may be charged with possession with intent to sell or deliver (PWISD) the heroin. This is a Class H felony with a prison sentence of 4 to 25 months.

You could be charged with a Class F felony if there is evidence that you sold the heroin. If convicted, you would be sentenced to between 8 and 31 months in prison.

Trafficking in Heroin Penalties

You can be charged with trafficking in heroin if you sell, manufacture, distribute, transport, or possess four grams or more of heroin. The penalties are much harsher than for possession or PWISD offenses and include a mandatory prison sentence. It is important to realize that you can be charged with this serious crime for the mere possession of four grams or more of heroin with no evidence that you were selling, manufacturing, or distributing the drugs.

Trafficking in heroin is a felony, but the classification will depend on the quantity of heroin you possessed. For a first offense, you could be sentenced as follows:

  • Level One. You could be charged with a Class F felony if you possessed between 4 and 14 grams of heroin. The punishment if convicted would be a prison sentence of between 70 and 93 months in prison and a fine of $50,000.
  • Level Two. Possession of between 14 and 28 grams of heroin is a Class E felony. You could be sentenced to between 90 and 120 months in prison and $100,000 in fines.
  • Level Three. If you were in possession of more than 28 grams of heroin, you would be charged with a Class C felony. The punishment would be 225 to 282 months in prison and a $500,000 fine.

Let Us Help You Defend Against Heroin Drug Charges

Given the lengthy prison sentence and other harsh penalties you face if charged with a heroin drug crime, retaining an experienced criminal defense attorney in Charlotte is essential. At Browning & Long, PLLC, we can help you mount a strong defense to the charges you face and ensure that your rights are protected so that you achieve the best possible outcome. To schedule a free, confidential consultation, call our Charlotte office or fill out our convenient online form.