Methamphetamine is a major public health crisis in North Carolina. The state medical examiner’s office reported that meth-related fatalities increased by 47% from 2016 to 2017, and projects that deaths in this category could outpace opioid overdose deaths within the next several years.

If you face drug charges in associated with methamphetamine manufacture, distribution or possession, the judge could sentence you to significant jail time. For this reason, you must plan to defend your legal rights before attending your court date. These are the answers to the most common questions about methamphetamine charges in North Carolina.

How does state law define methamphetamine?

Methamphetamine and other types of amphetamines fall under the category of Schedule II controlled substances, which means they have high abuse potential and limited medical use. Although the state considers these dangerous drugs, the law classifies them as less dangerous than hallucinogens such as LSD, PCP and heroin and other opiates.

What are the penalties for possessing methamphetamine?

North Carolina charges possession of fewer than 100 pills or the crystal or powder equivalent as a misdemeanor. You could receive up to two years in jail and $2,000 in fines. These penalties apply whether the drugs were in your pocket or otherwise on your person (actual possession) or at your home or in your car (constructive possession).

What constitutes meth trafficking?

Possessing more than 100 pills of methamphetamine or the equivalent results in a trafficking charge, which is a felony. You will receive fines starting at $2,000 for a conviction along with a prison sentence of up to 10 years. If law enforcement catches you actually selling meth to another person, you will receive a minimum jail sentence of 47 months. Simply delivering the drug carries a minimum 39-month sentence.

These guidelines describe the maximum sentences for methamphetamine crimes in North Carolina. However, your attorney may argue for a lesser sentence when you have no prior convictions or if your case includes other extenuating circumstances.