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Wilmington, NC Drug Possession Lawyer

Have you been arrested for drug possession or possession with intent to sell and/or distribute drugs? You don’t have to deal with these charges alone. You need to call a veteran drug crime lawyer as soon as possible. Drug charges should be taken seriously from day one. There are ways to defend yourself, which may let you avoid a conviction or reduce the consequences. To discuss all your options, contact Goolsby Law Firm now.

For nearly three decades, Attorney Thom Goolsby has represented people against virtually every type of North Carolina drug crime. He knows the ins and outs of the court process and will fight for you to obtain the best possible result. He also understands that drug crimes are often linked to mental health conditions and addiction. He will focus on getting you the help you need to improve your circumstances.

Don’t just accept a drug conviction. Call (910) 763–3339, send a text, or reach out online for a free consultation. Attorney Thom Goolsby will explain your situation and walk you through what comes next.

North Carolina’s Drug Possession Law

Under NCGS §90-95(a)(3), it is illegal to possess a controlled substance. The precise charge will depend on the schedule of the illicit drug involved and the amount in question. You should talk with a drug defense attorney immediately about your specific charges, possible penalties, and how to defend yourself.

Drug possession with intent to manufacture, sell, or deliver is prohibited under NCGS §90-95(a)(1).

Possession and possession with intent related to counterfeit substances are prohibited under NCGS §90-95(a)(2).

What Does “Possession” Means

Possession in North Carolina may—or may not—mean actual possession of drugs. If a prosecutor claims you had actual possession of one or more controlled substances, this means you knowingly had drugs on your person. This might mean there were drugs in your hand, pocket, backpack, or pursue.

However, a prosecutor does not need to prove actual possession to convict you. They can claim you had constructive possession of the drugs. This means you had knowledge and access to the drugs even though they might not have been in your immediate reach. Constructive possession may involve drugs in your home, office, or car.

You can also be charged with constructive possession if you are present in another person’s home, business, or vehicle, and the police find drugs. When they were someone else’s drugs, but you are facing charges, you should call a drug possession lawyer right away.

North Carolina’s Controlled Substance Schedule

Controlled substances are assigned a schedule under the North Carolina Controlled Substances Act. Schedule I refers to drugs without any medically accepted uses and with a high risk of dependency and abuse. As the schedule increases, the risk of drug abuse decreases, and the drugs’ medicinal uses taken into account. Many controlled substances are available through prescription, and some Schedule V drugs are even available over the counter.

The North Carolina controlled substances schedule includes:

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

Drug Possession Charges

A simple possession charge may be a misdemeanor or a felony. It depends on the alleged drug in your possession and the amount. Certain amounts of some drugs can result in felony drug trafficking charges.

Typical drug possession charges include:

  • Possession of a Schedule I drug: Class I Felony
  • Possession of Schedule II, III, or IV drug: Class 1 Misdemeanor
  • Possession of a Schedule V drug: Class 2 Misdemeanor
  • Possession of a Schedule VI drug: Class 3 Misdemeanor

Specific drugs or certain amounts are treated differently:

  • Possession of 1 gram or less of MDPV: Class 1 Misdemeanor
  • Possession of four or more doses of hydromorphone: Class I Felony
  • Possession of 100 dosage units of Schedule II, III, or IV drugs: Class I Felony
  • Possession of methamphetamine, amphetamine, or cocaine: Class I Felony
  • Possession of more than 0.5 ounces of marijuana: Class 1 Misdemeanor
  • Possession of more than 1.5 ounces of marijuana: Class I Felony

Because there are so many exceptions to the typical misdemeanor or felony possession charges, you need to talk with a drug defense lawyer as soon as possible. Attorney Thom Goolsby will carefully review your case and advise you of the charges, potential consequences, and your defense options.

Drug Possession Penalties

The sentence you face largely depends on how your charge was classified and your criminal record.

First-offense misdemeanor possession is punished based on the North Carolina Misdemeanor Punishment Chart. A judge will determine whether you are in prior conviction level I, II, or III. The chart provides the minimum and maximum penalty for your misdemeanor class and prior conviction level.

Your prior criminal record can also impact your sentence upon conviction. A Class 1 misdemeanor, if you have no previous convictions, can be punished with one to 45 days of community punishment. If you have five or more prior convictions, you face up to 120 days of community, intermediate, or active punishment.

If you are convicted of a felony drug possession, the judge will calculate whether you belong in prior record level I through VI. For each felony class and prior record level, the North Carolina Felony Punishment Chart provides a presumptive, mitigated, and aggravated sentence range.

For a Class I felony with no prior record, you face a presumptive term of four-to-six months in custody. If you have prior drug convictions, you can be placed in Prior Record Level VI with a presumptive range of eight to 10 months.

When you face felony possession charges, it is important to remember that the sentencing chart shows the minimum sentence ranges, but the maximum penalties allowed are much longer. For example, when the minimum sentence is four months in custody, if certain conditions apply, the maximum is 14 months. For a minimum of six months, you face up to 17 months.

Contact a Drug Possession Lawyer Now

Whether you are facing a misdemeanor charge for marijuana possession or felony charge possession of cocaine, you need a seasoned attorney by your side. Thom Goolsby can talk with you about how to get possession charges dismissed, reduced, and what it takes to fight drug possession charges in court. At Goolsby Law Firm, our goal will always be to secure the best possible outcome. With over 25 years of experience and a track record of success, we know how to try and win fact-based drug cases.

Contact Goolsby Law Firm online, call (910) 763–3339, or send a quick text. Initial consultations are free, confidential, and Attorney Thom Goolsby will be in touch 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

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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.