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Marijuana possession is still a crime in North Carolina

Marijuana laws have changed in a growing number of states. North Carolina is one of the states that has taken steps to reduce penalties for possession. Don't let that fool you. Marijuana possession is still a serious crime in North Carolina. The more you have, the more likely you are to face serious consequences. For those with small amounts of marijuana, possession has been decriminalized, meaning the offender will face fines and a criminal record, but no jail time. That doesn't mean that there aren't penalties for marijuana possession, only that the penalties are lower in some cases.

You may not think that marijuana possession is a big deal, but your employer and landlord may not agree. Worse, even if your charges fall within the decriminalized amounts, you'll still have a criminal record. Those with drug offenses on their records are subject to scrutiny from employers and are no longer able to obtain federal student aid for college. While you may feel tempted to just plead guilty because you believe the offense is minor, doing so could prove to be a mistake that haunts you for the rest of your life. Mounting a defense against the charges is a better decision in most cases.

Decriminalization only impacts those with small amounts

If you face possession charges for half an ounce or less of marijuana, the offense is a Class 3 misdemeanor that carries a fine of $200. Any jail sentence for the charge must get suspended. Possession of more than half an ounce up to an ounce and a half is a Class 1 misdemeanor. It carries a fine of up to $1,000 and between one and 45 days in jail. Possession of more than an ounce and a half up to ten pounds is a Class 1 felony. You'll face a discretionary fine set by the courts, as well as between three and eight months in jail if you get convicted or decide to plead guilty to the charges.

Marijuana extracts or concentrates, like butane hash oil, which are very popular, are also covered under decriminalization measures. Possession of 1.4 grams or less is a Class 3 misdemeanor that results in $200 fine and a jail sentence of between one and ten days that must get suspended. Possession of between 1.4 grams and 4.25 grams is a Class 1 misdemeanor that carries a fine set by the court and a jail sentence of between one and 45 days. Possession of more than 4.25 grams is a Class 1 felony that carries a discretionary fine and a jail sentence of between four and six months.

These penalties and the criminal record associated with your charges could impact your life for years to come. If you're facing marijuana possession charges in North Carolina, you best option is to seek the help of an experienced criminal defense attorney as soon as possible.

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