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Wilmington, NC Drug Crimes Lawyer

Are you accused of possessing or selling illegal drugs in North Carolina? Whether you are under investigation or have been arrested for a drug crime, your next step should be to speak with a drug crime lawyer in Wilmington, NC. Drug charges do not automatically mean you will be convicted, but to deal with your situation successfully, you need the help of a seasoned attorney.

With over 25 years of experience, criminal defense lawyer Thom Goolsby realizes that many drug offenses are related to addiction and knows what people usually need is help and support — not prison. Let us guide you, fight for the best possible result, and see you get the help you need. Do not hesitate to reach out to the Goolsby Law Firm.

We offer free consultations, where Thom Goolsby will explain your situation and what you can expect. Call (910) 763–3339, send a text, or contact us online. We will be in touch as soon as possible.

Fighting Drug Charges in North Carolina

Drug Crimes in Wilmington, North Carolina

There is a wide range of drug offenses in North Carolina, all with different penalties and consequences depending on the factors involved. These drug crimes include:

Whether you are facing misdemeanor or felony drug charges, do not make any statements until you have talked to a lawyer. Attorney Thom Goolsby handles drug cases in North Carolina. If you’ve been arrested or accused, let us evaluate the evidence, protect your right, and advise you on how to proceed.

North Carolina Controlled Substances Schedule

Each state has its own controlled substances schedule, which typically reflects federal law. In North Carolina, the Controlled Substances Act divides different drugs into Schedules I through VI.

Schedule I drugs are the most addictive, come with the highest risk of abuse, and have no currently accepted medical uses. As the schedule progresses, the drugs become less addictive and gain greater acceptance within the medical and scientific community. Schedule V drugs have the lowest potential for abuse or dependence and have some medically accepted uses.

The North Carolina drug schedule:

  • Schedule I: Heroin, Ecstasy, GHB, Peyote, methaqualone, and numerous opiates.
  • Schedule II: Cocaine, opium, Codeine, Hydrocodone, Morphine, Methamphetamine, Methadone, and Ritalin.
  • Schedule III: Ketamine, anabolic steroids, and certain barbiturates.
  • Schedule IV: Valium, Xanax, Barbital, and Rohypnol.
  • Schedule V: Over-the-counter cough medicines with codeine.
  • Schedule VI: Marijuana, hashish, and hashish oil.

The schedule associated with the drugs involved in your case influences the charges against you. Possession of certain drugs leads to misdemeanor drug charges. Possession of more serious drugs, or the sale, manufacture, or trafficking of drugs, will lead to felony charges. In either situation, you should work with a drug criminal defense lawyer right away.


“I lost my carry concealed permit due to the misapplication of the law by law enforcement. My guns were taken from my home, and my permit was suspended. Thank you Thom Goolsby for standing up for the Second Amendment and my gun rights. You corrected the mistake of law enforcement, and I got my permit back. I appreciate your skill and advocacy.”

- Criminal Defense Client

“Thank you for walking me through the process for getting my open container and underage possession of alcohol charges dismissed. You arranged for a very simple deferred prosecution. It was easy to comply, and my record is now clean. I appreciate your excellent help!”

- Criminal Defense Client

I am so happy I hired him. I was charged with drug and paraphernalia possession. As a college student, I could not have these convictions on my record. I am so thankful I had Senator Goolsby representing me. He went into court, worked out a wonderful solution, and my charges were dropped.

- Criminal Defense Client

Read More Testimonials

North Carolina Drug Laws

Under NCGS §90-95(a), it is illegal for you:

  • NCGS §90-95(a)(1): To manufacture, sell or deliver, or possess with intent to manufacture, sell or deliver, a control substance;
  • NCGS §90-95(a)(2): To create, sell or deliver, or possess with intent to sell or deliver, a counterfeit controlled substance;
  • NCGS §90-95(a)(3): To possess a controlled substance.

Manufacturing, Selling, Delivering Drugs

Under NCGS §90-95(a)(1) you face:

  • A Class G felony for the Sale of schedule I or schedule II drugs.
  • Class H felony penalties for conduct other than the sale of schedule I or II drugs.
  • A Class C felony for manufacturing methamphetamine.
  • A Class H felony for packaging, repackaging, labeling, or relabeling methamphetamine containers.
  • Class H felony penalties for the sale of schedule III, IV, V, or VI drugs.
  • A Class I felony for conduct other than the sale of schedule III, IV, V, or VI drugs.

Counterfeit Drugs

According to NCGS §90-95(a)(2), creating, selling, delivering, or possessing with the intent to sell or deliver a counterfeit controlled substance is a Class I felony.

Drug Possession

Under NCGS §90-95(a)(3), drug possession in North Carolina is:

  • A Class I felony for a schedule I drug.
  • A Class 1 misdemeanor for one gram or less of MDPV.
  • A Class 1 misdemeanor for a schedule II, III, or IV drug.
  • A Class I felony for more than four doses of hydromorphone.
  • A Class I felony for more than 100 dosage units of schedule II, III, or IV drugs.
  • A Class I felony for methamphetamine, amphetamine, phencyclidine, or cocaine possession.
  • A Class 2 misdemeanor for a schedule V drug.
  • A Class 3 misdemeanor for a schedule VI drug.
  • A Class 1 misdemeanor for between a half ounce and up to one and a half ounces of marijuana.
  • A Class I felony for more than one and a half ounces of marijuana.

Minor details in your case and determine whether you face a misdemeanor or felony drug charge. That’s why it is so important to talk with a seasoned drug crime attorney as soon as possible.

What is Drug Possession?

In North Carolina, there is a difference between actual and constructive possession. The distinction can matter a great deal to your case. Actual possession means the drugs were on your person, and you knew about them. This may constitute carrying a small bag of cocaine in your pocket or a marijuana joint in your backpack.

Prosecutors do not need to prove actual possession to gain a conviction. They may claim you had constructive possession of the drugs, which is the intent and ability to control the drugs, even if they were not within your reach. This could mean drugs in your home, office, or vehicle.

Drug Trafficking in North Carolina

In North Carolina, drug trafficking charges are based on the amount of drug(s) in your possession or under your control. There does not need to be other evidence that you were importing or exporting drugs or that you were weighing, dividing, packaging, labeling, and distributing or selling the drugs.

If the police discover certain, large quantities of controlled substances, you will face felony charges. Call Attorney Thom Goolsby if you are accused of trafficking:

  • Methamphetamine
  • Marijuana
  • Synthetic Cannabinoids
  • Methaqualone
  • Cocaine
  • Amphetamine
  • Opium, opiate, opioid, or heroin
  • Lysergic Acid Diethylamide (LSD)
  • MDA/MDMA (Ecstasy)

Drug Paraphernalia Charges

You may not realize you can be charged with a drug crime without being in possession of any drugs. Under NCGS §90-113.22, it is illegal for you to knowingly use or possess with the intent to use any drug paraphernalia. These are any items you can use to plant, grow, cultivate, harvest, manufacture, produce, prepare, analyze, package, repackage, store, conceal, or use a controlled substance other than marijuana. Possession of drug paraphernalia in North Carolina is a Class 1 misdemeanor.

Under NCGS §90-113.22(A) it is also Class 3 misdemeanor to knowingly use or possess with the intent to use any paraphernalia related to marijuana.

  • Thom Goolsby has been selected as a top 100 trial lawyer by the National Trial Lawyers Association

North Carolina Drug Penalties

For those convicted of drug crimes in North Carolina, the punishment will depend on several factors, including the class of the charge and the individual’s criminal record.


Misdemeanor Drug Charges

If you are convicted of a misdemeanor drug crime, the court will place you in a prior conviction level I, II, or III depending on how many convictions are on your record. This level is used by the judge to determine the minimum and maximum term of incarceration and whether you are sentenced to community service, probation, intermediate, and/or active punishment.

For example, if you are convicted of a Class 1 misdemeanor, and you have one prior conviction, your prior conviction level may be set at II. This exposes you to between one and 45 days of community, intermediate, and/or active punishment.


Felony Drug Charges

For a felony drug conviction, the court will place you in a prior record level I through VI based on your criminal record. The judge will then note a general range of incarceration based on your felony class and prior record level. The judge will also determine whether there are aggravating or mitigating factors, which can influence the minimum term of incarceration.

For example, if you are convicted of a Class H felony and have no prior record, the presumptive range of imprisonment is five to six months. However, if there are aggravating factors, you could face between six and eight months in prison.

Regardless of which situation applies to you, there are ways to improve your case if you’re charged with a drug crime. Speak with a drug crime lawyer today about the possible penalties and how to secure the best possible outcome, like having the charges dismissed reduced, or mitigating the impact of a conviction.

Goolsby Law Firm Case Results

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    When a disabled veteran was found with drug paraphernalia and marijuana in his vehicle, he was arrested and charged. To make matters worse, the officer who stopped him also charged the man with DWI (driving while impaired) and open container…

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    Driving Charge Dismissed, DWI Charge Reduced in NC

    Recently, a Goolsby Law Firm client was charged with multiple offenses, including careless and reckless driving and driving while impaired (DWI). Upon BAC (blood alcohol content) testing, the individual returned a result of .19%. Knowing the effect a conviction on…

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    Criminal Case Involving Multiple Charges Dismissed

    An individual was recently charged with multiple criminal offenses, including: Assault on a female Interfering with 911 emergency communications During their arrest, firearms and ammunition were seized at his residence. Maintaining their innocence and wanting to avoid a conviction, the…

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    Multiple Charges Dropped in Criminal Case

    A Goolsby Law Firm client faced harsh statutory and collateral consequences when she was charged with the following offenses: Possession of drugs Driving while her license is revoked Fictitious tag No vehicle inspection No registration To further complicate matters, the…

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Criminal Defense of Drug Charges

Attorney Thom Goolsby has nearly three decades of legal experience in Wilmington, NC, and an excellent record when it comes to drug cases. He knows the ins and outs of the criminal justice system and your due process rights. Attorney Goolsby will work closely with you to gather all the available evidence and will aggressively pursue your best interests at every turn. Once he has the facts, Attorney Goolsby will identify the weaknesses in the prosecution’s case and build the strongest possible defense against a conviction.

To convict you, prosecutors must prove several elements of a drug crime beyond a reasonable doubt. Attorney Goolsby spends the time to find what others miss. This often means finding flaws in cases and demonstrating that the State lacks sufficient evidence to meet their burden of proof.

Attorney Thom Goolsby scrutinizes every aspect of your case, including whether:

  • There was reasonable suspicion for your initial stop.
  • There was probable cause for your arrest.
  • The police had a valid warrant for a search and seizure.
  • The police maintained the chain of custody.
  • An appropriate lab properly tested any alleged drug.

If he finds that your rights were violated at any stage, the violation can be used as leverage in your favor. This includes negotiating to have certain evidence excluded, having the charges reduced, or arranging for an outright dismissal.

Just because you are facing drug charges does not mean a prosecutor has enough to convict you. You can and should defend yourself against these charges. You might think a trial would be too difficult or costly. However, fighting drug charges is not any harder than accepting a plea and dealing with the penalty. In many cases, by fighting in court, you can obtain a much better outcome.

Call a Wilmington Drug Crime Lawyer

Don’t face drug charges alone. The impact on your life is real and often permanent. At Goolsby Law Firm, we are happy to discuss your case and how we can help personally. Attorney Thom Goolsby is just a quick call, email, or text away.  Call (910) 763–3339 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation.

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Contact Goolsby Law Firm Today

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    “This is what I do. This is what I love. I care about my clients. I will help you.”

    212 Walnut St. Suite 100
    Wilmington, North Carolina 28401

    Like any quality criminal defense attorney, Thom Goolsby may be in court when you first call, but leave a voice mail or send a text. We’ll get with you as soon as possible, so we can go over what happened, evaluate the case, and explain what comes next.